TitleWhat Content-Area Teachers Should Know About Adolescent Literacy
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
Type of ArticleSecondary
Keywordsachievement gap, Adolescent, comprehension, Decoding, Differentiation, Diverse Learners, fluency, High School, Middle School, Morphology, Motivation, phonemic awareness, phonics, Reading, Secondary, Text Comprehension, vocabulary, writing

  A growing research base on adolescent literacy supports an emphasis on direct instruction in the reading and writing skills needed to perform these more complex literacy tasks. However, many middle and high school teachers have little or no preparation for teaching these skills within their content-area disciplines and have few resources upon which to draw when they are faced with students whose academic reading and writing skills do not match their expectations. This document provides more general information for content-area teachers so that they will gain a deeper understanding of the underlying skills their students will need and the kind of instruction needed to develop these skills. This report is divided into two main sections. The first section describes five key components that are critical to the development of reading proficiency: decoding/phonemic awareness and phonics, morphology, vocabulary, fluency, and text comprehension. The second section discusses four other areas that are fundamental in helping adolescents achieve advanced levels of literacy: assessment, writing, motivation, and the needs of diverse learners. The following are appended: (1) Think Alouds; (2) Graphic and Semantic Organizers; (3) Explicit Comprehension Strategy Instruction; (4) Reciprocal Teaching; (5) Word Map; (6) The PLAN and WRITE Strategy; and (7) Summarization Strategy.