Literacy Practice: Promoting Content Area Reading
Designed by
Brenda Stephenson
The University of Tennessee
At the end of this presentation students should:



Define the concepts for promoting reading
comprehension through content area
reading materials.
Identify ways of using content area reading
materials to promote reading
comprehension in the classroom.
List materials and resources available to
accomplish this practice.
Content Area Reading
…refers to the challenge of
reading in the academic areas
such as science, social studies,
mathematics, literature, and
the arts.
Content Area Reading

Scaffolding
provides a
systematic
approach to
address the
challenges of
Content Area
Reading.
Content Area Reading: Scaffolding

instructional technique using teacher
modeling to introduce the desired learning
strategy or task, then gradually shifts
responsibility to the students

Scaffolding Graph
Content Area Reading: Scaffolding



supports students before, during, and after
they read.
enables students to accomplish what is
normally beyond their abilities.
provides enough help so students can succeed
with a task that otherwise would be impossible.
(Graves & Graves, 1994)
Video Clip

Biology Content Video
Content Area Reading: Scaffolding
Temporary
Task-oriented
Support to extend reach
Steps to Teaching:
• Preparation • Assistance • Reflection •
Teacher
Analyzes
Text
Prior to Lesson

Assesses Readability

Modifies text if necessary

Identifies Key Vocabulary & Concepts

Identifies Expository Text Structures

Identifies Relation to Prior Knowledge
Teacher

Text: Readability
Prepare students to read the material by
considering readability factors

interest & motivation of the reader

legibility of the print & illustrations

complexity of words and sentences
in relation to the reading ability of
the reader
Teacher
Text: Readability
Analyze Word & Sentence Complexity


run a readability analysis at intervention
central.org using the OKAPl! Reading Probe
Generator
use Microsoft Word spell & grammar check
with the readability tool option turned ‘on’
Teacher
Student: Reading
Level
Assess Student Reading Levels:


Running Records
–
readinga-z.com
–
Tutorial
Informal Reading Inventories
Teacher
Text: Modify
If…

Text Level is higher than Instructional
Level
Then…

Paraphrase (rewrite)
Many textbooks now have companion readers/study guides developed
specifically as content area reading supplements. These are often ordered by
schools for the ELL students. Check. It will save you a lot of time and work!
Teacher
Text: Vocabulary
Limit the number of words introduced…

Choose words
– critical to understanding the main ideas
– not likely to be learned independently
Teacher
Text: Text Structures
Analyze Word & Sentence Complexity
Researchers have found that instruction
in expository text structure has a
positive effect on recall and
comprehension.
(Armbruster, Anderson, & Ostertag, 1987; Roller & Schreimer, 1985; Taylor
& Beach, 1984).
Teacher
Text: Text Structures
Patterns
Science
Social Studies

chronological
events

problem-solving

classification

experimental

cause and effect

cause and effect

compare/contrast

definition/explanation

question & answer

definition/
explanation
Teacher
Text: Text Structures
Patterns
Literature

Math
character
development

key words

settings

graphic relationships

plot

evidence & reasoning

moral & message
symbolic relationships
& operations

symbolism

genre

Student
Text: Skills
Literacy Skills needed in content areas are:
 Identifying the main
idea
 Vocabulary
comprehension
 Locating facts and
specific details
 Adjusting
Reading Rate &
Focus
 Organizing material
mentally
 Summarizing
Graphic Organizer Video

Content Writing Clip
Content Reading: Teaching
Teacher Text Student

•

Before Reading
Building Vocabulary • Activating Prior Knowledge • Setting
a Purpose • Previewing • Brainstorming • Predicting •
During Reading
• Scanning • Visualizing • Context Clues • Inferring •
Questioning • Clarifying •

After Reading
• Summarizing • Drawing Conclusions • Reflecting • Critical
Thinking • Review • Synthesis • Writing to Learn •
Content Reading: Teaching

Teach Strategies Using:
– Established programs & techniques which

address before, during, after

utilize graphic organizers

provide modeling of desired skills

offer variety to address varying learning
styles
Content Reading: Techniques
(More links from Reading Quest Check out the Print
Charts!)

Writing to Learn

Directed Reading Activity (DRA)

Directed Reading Thinking
Activity (DRTA)

Guided Reading Procedure (GRP)

SQR3

Listen-Read-Discuss (L-R-D)
Content Reading: Techniques
(Click the links below for information from Reading
Quest on each strategy. Check out the Print Charts!)

ABC brainstorm

history frames

carousel

inquiry chart

clock buddies

K-W-L

opinion-proof

power thinking

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column notes
comparisoncontrast
Content Reading: Techniques
(More links from Reading Quest Check out the Print
Charts!)
questioning the
author

analysis

story maps
reciprocal teaching

summarizing

underlining

thesis-proof

semantic feature
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think-pair-share

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
RAFT papers
Content Reading: Techniques
(More links from
Reading Quest)

3-minute pause
(Links to other
successful programs &
techniques)

word splash

3-2–1

word sorts

venn diagrams

anticipation guide
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word maps
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QARs
Materials and Media

http://www.timetabler.com/reading.html

http://www.gopdg.com/plainlanguage/readability.html

http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/students/learning/lr2grap.htm
Bibliography
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
Mora, Jill Kerper. “Content Area Reading for English Language
Learners” March 16, 2006.
http://coe.sdsu.edu/people/jmora/ContentReadMM/>
“Reading in the Content Areas: Strategies for Success” March 21,
2006.
http://www.glencoe.com/sec/teachingtoday/educationupclose.phtml/12

“Literacy Strategies” March 21, 2006
http://www.litandlearn.lpb.org/strategies.html
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