Disciplinary Literacy Definition Lesley Content Literacy Essay

1720 words - 7 pages

Disciplinary Literacy in Social Studies
Kathleen Mastrianni
Disciplinary Literacy in Social Studies
EEDUC 6101: Content Literacy
July 8, 2018
In the classroom, there can be two types of literacy: disciplinary literacy and content literacy. Disciplinary literacy is a way to look at a given text using a specific “lens”. The strategies within disciplinary literacy are content specific and require students to think like historians, scientist, and mathematicians, to name a few. Jacquey Barber described disciplinary literacy as, “interacting with the text in a certain way and using specific comprehension strategies” (Barber, 2010). Disciplinary literacy teaches students how to use literacy in a given field and can be utilized in any and all content areas throughout the school day. Timothy Shanahan writes about the importance difference between disciplinary literacy and content literacy as, “Disciplinary literacy is more aimed at what we teach (which would include how to read and use information like a scientist), than how we teach…” (Shanahan, 2012). Timothy Shanahan’s statement is summarized well through the Annenberg Resources: “Each discipline represents knowledge and the ways of producing and communicating that knowledge differently, resulting in a different approach to reading” (Annenberg Resources: What is Disciplinary Literacy, 2017, p.4).
Utilizing disciplinary literacy at the elementary level is pertinent for student success. The goal of the elementary school is to prepare students for 6-12 learning in content specific material. “Elementary teachers can begin to prepare students for disciplinary reading by helping them distinguish among the texts” (Shanahan & Shanahan, 2014, p.638). K-5 schools are beginning to expose students to different types of text and sources aside from what they are typically used to (generally fiction and little non-fiction). While the elementary schools are preparing students for success in the 6-12 learning environment, secondary schools are preparing students for college and career readiness. The Common Core State Standards have imposed the urgency and necessity of college and career readiness as the main goal for teachers and students. Due to the importance of student preparedness after high school, the bulk of disciplinary literacy research is at the higher grade levels of secondary education. Even though the research and data is geared towards older students, implementing the practice of disciplinary literacy at the lower grade levels only prepares students further for their continued education career. “The heavy emphasis on informational text will increase the likelihood that students will confront these differences earlier, and as such, the informational text demands serve as a precursor to the disciplinary reading to follow” (Shanahan & Shanahan, 2014, p.637). Disciplinary literacy is an approach that is an important way to support content learning at any grade level because the practice goes beyond gene...


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