Reading in the Disciplines: The Challenges of Adolescent Literacy

Reading in the Disciplines: The Challenges of Adolescent Literacy

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This report focuses on one foundational aspect of adolescent literacy that has been relatively ignored by recent reports on the problem. The report's starting point is the fact that the major difference between reading in grades K-5 and reading in grades 6-12 is the transition from learning to read to reading to learn. The latter skill brings into play numerous academic concepts and modes of reasoning, primarily through the act of reading. Adolescents often need more sophisticated and specific kinds of literacy support for reading in content areas, or academic disciplines. We call this more advanced form of literacy required of adolescent readers disciplinary literacy because each academic discipline or content area presupposes specific kinds of background knowledge about how to read texts in that area, and often also requires a particular type of reading.
Citation: Lee, C.D.; Spratley, A. Reading in the Disciplines: The Challenges of Adolescent Literacy (Carnegie Corporation of New York, 2009)
Program: Education