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Instructional Techniques

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Reading Strategies is a label commonly used to refer to both the strategies used by students to get meaning from text and the strategies used by teachers to structure and deliver instruction. Merry Bee uses the label ‘instructional techniques’ for those instructional strategies the teacher uses and ‘reading strategies’ for those strategies the student uses in reading.
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Literacy across the curriculum (in the content areas)


Literacy experts stress the importance of reading and writing to the development of content area understanding. Supporting Adolescent Literacy Across the Content Areas (PDF) describes how we can enhance adolescent learning in the content areas by enhancing their literacy skills. This 2001 document is published in the Perspectives on Policy and Practice series from the Northeast and Islands Regional Education Lab at Brown University.

As students progress through their schooling, they encounter texts and concepts that require different reading strategies than the familiar forms and narratives of the early elementary. The National Council of Teachers of English published a porition/action statement in Mary 2004 describing What We Know About Adolescent Literacy and Ways to Support Teachers in Meeting Students’ Needs. It reflects the theme of an earlier statement that "No matter what the subject, the people who read it, write it, and talk it are the ones who learn it best." (1997, no longer online)

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The teacher can help students with the initial approach to new text.

  • Make connections to prior knowledge: prior lessons, personal experiences.
  • Preview.
  • Select strategies appropriate to text and purpose.
The teacher can help students comprehend as they engage with new text.
  • vocabulary
  • ways of communicating (discourse conventions)
    example: debate, geometric proofs, scientific hypotheses, historical reenactment
  • types of text (discipline specific text structure)
    example: screenplay, scientific journal article, marketing plan, recipe
  • Provide for an organizing or study scheme.
  • graphic organizers
  • WWWWH - who, what, when, why, where, how
The teacher can help students use the new knowledge from text.
  • Apply to different setting or situation
  • Synthesize into different format
  • Create a project, report/paper, webpage
  • Reflect: discuss, journal
  • Evaluate
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Links to resources
At Literacy & Learning: Reading in the Content Areas you can download single page sheets (Acrobat PDF) for content area teachers of grades 5-8. One set explains specific techniques or strategies, and a second set is sample lesson plans for those same techniques.
  • Math and Literature: Perfect Together
    Trade books for grades k-2 listed by math themes; for example: counting, place value, money, patterns.
  • Math and Literature!
    Booklist for grades 1-2 grouped by math topics; for example: addition & subtraction, money, time.
  • Books in Education Center: Math
    Books for grades 1-3 that reinforce math concepts. Articles with reviews.
  • Math And Children's Literature
    Recommendations for using books in the k-8 math curriculum. Articles and book annotations.
  • Math Songs & Poems
    Original poems set to familiar melodies and grouped according to the NCTM standards. Most are secondary level, but a few would be enjoyed by as low as grade six and could inspire students to create their own.
  • Reading in the Sciences
    Compares skills and strategies of reading and process science and describes their integration in the classroom.
Social Studies
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page last updated: 6/21/07
© 2003-2007, Mary Berry. All rights reserved.