Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Disciplinary Literacy

Reading: Big Ideas


Reading is a complex process that involves interactions among the reader, the text, and the context. Meaning does not reside solely on a page of text, with the intent that the reader will extract meaning from that page. Rather, meaning is actively constructed by what the reader brings to the text and how this knowledge reconciles with the author’s purpose. Reader factors include background knowledge and experiences related to a topic; purposes for reading; questions asked by the reader before, during, and after reading; knowledge and use of strategies applied while reading that support understanding key concepts; and the motivation the reader has to begin and stamina the reader has to stick with the text. Text factors that influence the complexity of the text include language structures; vocabulary; text structures and organization of ideas; text features; and author’s purpose. The context, or situation, for reading may depend on the purpose for reading, the discipline being studied, and the environment (e.g., in-school or out-of-school reading). All of these elements become more intricate and unique to a discipline as students advance through the grades.

This unit explores the significant components of reading comprehension that relate to effective reading comprehension and learning across disciplines.