Content Area Reading and Literacy Succeeding in Today's Diverse Classrooms

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  • Edition: 7th
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 1/24/2012
  • Publisher: Pearson

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In this authoritative, highly-respected best seller, pre- and in-service teachers get a wealth of strategies and ideas for teaching content area literacy in an era of high accountability. In-depth attention to the needs of students from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds is integrated throughout and the guide features a presentation of a wide scope of topics and examples, research-based information, and an accessible writing style. The ideas the trusted authors present are backed by research, tested in real classrooms, and designed to help teachers apply what is useful to their own particular disciplines, making Content Area Reading and Literacythe ideal guide to using reading, writing, and literature effectively to teach in the content areas.

Author Biography

Donna E. Alvermann is University of Georgia-appointed Distinguished Research Professor of Language and Literacy Education. Formerly a classroom teacher in Texas and New York, her research focuses on literacy instruction across the disciplines. Her co-authored/edited books include Reconceptualizing the Literacies in Adolescents’ Lives (3rd ed.); Bridging the Literacy Achievement Gap, Grades 4–12; and Adolescents and Literacies in a Digital World. Past President of the National Reading Conference (NRC), she serves on the Adolescent Literacy Advisory Group of the Alliance for Excellent Education. She was elected to the Reading Hall of Fame in 1999, and is the recipient of NRC’s Oscar Causey Award for Outstanding Contributions to Reading Research, College Reading Association’s Laureate Award, and the American Reading Forum’s and NRC’s two service awards. In 2006, she was awarded the International Reading Association’s William S. Gray Citation of Merit.


Victoria Ridgeway Gillis graduated from North Georgia College with a BS in Biology and from Emory University with an MAT in Secondary Science Education. She taught science courses including life science, chemistry, physics, and physical science in Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina. In the early 1970s, she encountered the ideas and concepts in content area reading and tried them in her classroom. Her success in using those strategies led her to return to graduate school after 20 years in the classroom to complete her Ph.D. at the University of Georgia in 1994. Victoria taught graduate and undergraduate disciplinary literacy courses at Clemson University for 20 years. She is currently Professor and Wyoming Excellence Chair in Literacy Education in the College of Education at the University of Wyoming.


Stephen Phelps is professor emeritus of Elementary Education and Reading at Buffalo State College. In his 30 years at Buffalo State, he taught a wide range of literacy methods courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels and was coordinator of the graduate literacy specialist program. His research interests include the preparation of teachers to work in urban schools and sociocultural influences on literacy acquisition and achievement.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Content Literacy and the Reading Process    

Assumptions Underlying Content Teaching    

Subject Matter    

Role of the Textbook    

Active and Independent Readers    

Fluent Readers    

Fluency with Information Technology    

What It Means To Be Literate    

Literate Thinking    

Content Literacy    

Disciplinary Literacy    

The New Literacy Studies    

The Reading Process    

A Cognitive View    

A Social Constructionist Perspective    

The Role of Motivation    


Suggested Readings 


Chapter 2:                    Language, Diversity, and Culture    

Language as a Vehicle for Teaching and Learning Content    

Seeing Language as Social Practice    

Dealing with Gendered Language in the Classroom and the Text    

Diversity in Language and Learning    

Second-Language Acquisition and Learning    

Dialect Differences    

Struggling or Reluctant Readers    

Gifted and Talented Learners    

Teaching and Learning in Culturally Diverse Classrooms    

Today’s Globalizing Influences    

Supporting Literacy among Adolescent ELLs    

Integrating Language, Culture, and Content    

Culturally Responsive Professional Growth    

Appreciating Diversity    

Involving Parents and Community    

Linking School and Home    


Suggested Readings    


Chapter 3: Creating a Favorable Learning Environment  

Affective Characteristics    

Linking Content Literacy with Students’ Lives    

Adaptive Instruction    

Providing Choices    

Forms of Grouping    

Ability Grouping    

Cooperative/Collaborative Learning   

Cross-Age Tutoring    

Discussion Groups    

Reading and Writing Workshops    

Creating Community with Technology and Multimedia   



Assistive Technology    

Conflict Resolution    

What the Research Says    

Strategies for Managing Conflict    


Suggested Readings   


Chapter 4: Planning for Content Literacy    

Instructional Decision Making    

Essential Questions and Content Objectives    

Language and Literacy Objectives    

Learning Materials    

Student Capabilities and Needs    

Evaluation and Assessment    

Planning and Educational Technology    

Teaching Resources on the Web    

Planning Student Involvement with the Internet    

Planning for New Literacies    

Structured Frameworks for Content Literacy Lessons    

The Learning Cycle

Reciprocal Teaching    

Beyond the Daily Plan    

Unit Planning

Interdisciplinary Teaching    

Thematic Teaching    


Suggested Readings    


Chapter 5: Assessment of Students and Textbooks    

Assessing Students    

Tests and Testing: A Consumer Advisory    

Types of Assessment    

Purposes of Assessment

Assessment for Learning

Assessment of Learning

Assessment as Learning

Assessing Textbooks    

Readability Formulas    

Consumer Judgments (or Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover)  


Suggested Readings    


Chapter 6: Preparing to Read    

The Role of Prior Knowledge    

Hurdles to New Learning    

The Teacher’s Task    

Assessing and Building Prior Knowledge    

The List-Group-Label Strategy    

Graphic Organizers    

Reading and Listening    


Activating Prior Knowledge with Prereading Strategies    

Anticipation Guides    

Problem-Solving Activities    



Suggested Readings    


Chapter 7: Reading to Learn    

Constructing Meaning with Text    

Disciplinary Differences in Constructing Meaning    

Discipline-Specific Literacy Strategies    

Helping Students Comprehend    

Teaching Students to Be Strategic    

Making Text Comprehensible    

The Role of Fluency in Comprehension    

Questions and Questioning    

When to Ask: The Right Time and the Right Place    

What to Ask: The Relation between Questions
 and Answers    

How to Ask: Questioning Strategies    

Comprehension Guides    

Three-Level Guides    

Selective Reading Guides    

Interactive Reading Guides    

Sensing and Responding to Text Structure    

Common Text Structures    

Teaching about Text Structures    

Comprehending Online Texts    


Suggested Readings    


Chapter 8: Increasing Vocabulary and Conceptual Growth    

Learning Words and Concepts    

How Students Learn Vocabulary    

Word-Learning Tasks    

Levels of Word Knowledge    

Types of Vocabulary    

Discipline-Specific Vocabulary Characteristics    

Readers’ Resources for Learning New Words    

Teaching Vocabulary: Preactive Phase   

Criteria for Selecting Vocabulary    

Guidelines for Vocabulary Instruction    

Strategies for Introducing and Teaching Vocabulary    

Developing Students’ Independence: Interactive Phase

Using Context Clues

Using Familiar Word Parts    

Using Dictionaries    

Vocabulary Self-Collection    

Intensive Approaches for Struggling Readers
 and English Language Learners    

Reinforcing Vocabulary: Reflective Phase    

Literal Level:

Matching Activities, Puzzles, and Games    

Interpretive Level:

Categorizing Activities    


Concept Circles    

Application Level: Using Vocabulary in writing


Suggested Readings    


Chapter 9: Reflecting on Reading    

Engaging Students through Discussion    

Small-Group Discussions    

Peer-Led Literature/Learning Circles    

Guiding Student Reflection    

Reaction Guides    

Reading for Different Purposes    

Discussion Webs    292

Intra-Act Procedure    

General Discussion Techniques    

Promoting Critical Literacy    

Teaching Literacy for Critical Awareness    

Incorporating Critical Media Literacy into the Curriculum    


Suggested Readings    


Chapter 10: Writing across the Curriculum    

What Content Teachers Need to Know about Writing    

Writing and Reading    

The Writing Process    

Social Construction of Writing    

Writing and the Computer    

Writing Activities for Content Areas    

Writing Assignments    

Learning Logs and Journals    

Other Informal Writing Activities    

Reviewing and Summarizing    

Guiding Student Writing    

Writing to Inquire    

Preparing for Student Inquiry    

Collecting and Organizing Information    

Writing a Report    

Alternatives to the Traditional Research Report    

Responding to Student Writing    

Peer Responses    

Teacher Conferences    

Formal Evaluation    


Suggesting Readings    


Chapter 11: Studying and Study Strategies    

Prerequisites for Effective Studying    


Teachers’ Expectations    

Knowledge of the Criterion Task    

Domain Knowledge    

Accessing Information    

Information Literacy and Library Skills    

Website Evaluation    

Preparing for Tests    

Objective Tests    

Subjective Tests    

Role of Homework    

Using Study Strategies    

Task Awareness with SQ3R    

Strategy Awareness    

Performance Awareness    

Note-Making Strategies    

Compare/Contrast Study Matrix    

Internet Search Strategies    


Suggesting Readings    


Chapter 12: Developing Lifetime Readers: Literature in Content Area Classes    

Reading among Adolescents    

Who’s Reading What?

Reading in the Digital Age

Using Literature in the Content Areas    

Benefits of Using Literature    

Encouraging Responses to Literature    

Integrating Literature into Content Areas    

Uses of Literature in Content Areas    

Fiction and Nonfiction for Content Areas    

Developing Awareness of Diversity through Literature    

Advantages of Using Multicultural Literature    

Resistance to Multicultural Literature    

Choosing and Using Multicultural Literature    


Suggesting Readings    


Appendix A    Word Lover’s Booklist    

Appendix B    Read-Aloud Books for Content Areas    

Appendix C    Trade Books for Science, Math, and Social Studies    

Appendix D    Culturally Conscious Trade Books    

Appendix E    Standards for the Content Areas—Web Ready/
At a Glance    


Name Index    

Subject Index    

Rewards Program

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