There are so many different ways to teach literacy to our students. As a teacher I am always looking for ways to best reach my students. We tell our students that when we do science they are scientist and that in History we are historians, but do we even fully understand what we are telling our students? We want our students to read and think like these individuals but have never given them the skills to do so. Yet we still tell them that they are a scientist, historian, mathematician when reading in these areas.

This week in grad school we read and had a discussion about content area literacy and disciplinary literacy. Trying to draw a clear line between the two is nearly impossible. They intertwine with one another but can always be very different . My take aways from this class and the difference between these two is:

  • Content literacy is a generic way of reading. reading to make sense of the text and recall information
  • Disciplinary literacy is specific to the area (math, history, science). Has its own vocabulary and content.

Many times when teaching we use both content and disciplinary skills. By using them together we are reaching the goals and standards set by our states. This allows out students to become those historians, scientist, ,mathematician and readers. As teachers we want our students to be the best they can and excel in life after school. In order to do this we must use content and disciplinary literacy. This will expose our students to different types of text, not just the traditional fiction and non-fiction. We are able to use text from that field and give our students the opportunity to understand how to read and write differently.

So the question is: How can I use these in the classroom to help my students? That is also what I am currently pondering. What I can do in my classroom to help my students reach these goals. As my school year has just started this is the perfect time to figure out how to use these skills in my classroom. So I have headed over to google to see what information I can find on Content and Disciplinary literacy (that I have not already read for class).  So far in my search I have come across a couple books and many articles that explain what they are and the mechanics of them (similar to what I have read for class). So now what? Do I read everything that I have found or stick with my base knowledge and go from there?  Well my plan is to now look for articles that fit my curriculum in different disciplines. This way I can start to introduce these different ways of learning. Then I can continue to read and search for more information on how to build upon this. So far from class a I have a great resource for history. Check it out here.

I am interested to see how this will play out in the classroom and the different skills that my students will gain.