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Discipline-Specific Literacy


Define the Goal

Identify the reading skills per discipline

Access key resources

Identify textual differences

Adjust thinking every class period

Dissect the Expectations

Model expert thinking

Introduce the Reading Voice and Thinking Voice

Utilize Think Alouds while reading your course texts

Honor the 3 tiers of literacy

Recognize every teacher is a reading teacher

Study the reading standards

Dissect the content literacy standards

Close-Reading Questions Foldouts
(available individually or by a set)

Download the Reading Standards in the ladder format that depicts how the standards fit into the close-reading framework.

Apply close-reading techniques

Introduce the three phases of close reading

Compare each phase of close reading to a different “lens.”

GLASSES: Initially, readers comprehend on a surface level. They read to paraphrase/retell specific details, summarize the important concepts, and determine the main ideas. 

Close Reading Eyeglasses

MICROSCOPE: During a closer look, readers zoom in to analyze the text and evaluate author decisions about word choice, organization, and purpose.

Close Reading Microscope

TELESCOPE: With a deeper comprehension of the text, readers zoom out and integrate new understanding from the text with other texts and bigger ideas.

Close Reading Telescope
Close Reading Triggers

Click image to purchase.

Click image to download PPT | Google Slide

Teacher Lindsay Flood developed a fabulous close-reading activity using Oreo cookies to demonstrate the value in “reading” something more than once. For a description of the lesson, check out second grade teacher Allison Stuckey’s blog Who’s Who and Who’s New.
For the digital download, see Lindsay’s TpT store.

Model what and how to think while reading

Track story elements

Identify the character’s problem and solution

Use visual note-taking to jot textual details

Track the evolution of a historical event using a storyboard.

Summarize the 5Ws of the event

Use the 5Ws template when there are numerous names, dates, and places to sort through. | Notebook version

Beyond tracking the isolated 5 Ws per unit section, determine the connection between them. (Here is an example based on a textbook chapter on the Middle Colonies.)

Track simultaneous events

The Time Tracker shows how events in history are intertwined.

Use myHistro website to combine maps and timelines.

Read the text, fluently translating symbols to words 

Determine the gist of the subject matter or the task to execute

Read flexibility using Transformation

Here is an example of information about plant and animal cells shown in both explanatory text and a diagram with the click of a mouse.

Read the science before discussing predictions

PHASE 2: Zoom in on the significant

Identify significant character choices or pivotal moments

Identify significant choices or pivotal moments in a character’s life.

Consider what the character was like before and after that moment. Then consider what caused the choice, decision, or change. | Template

Infer the author’s message within a text’s theme

Support theme with textual evidence.

Teacher Emily Trabold adapted the content from Sara Johnson’s video to share with her students.

Utilize the TheMe Foldable to demonstrate that the topic or category isn’t the theme. It’s the specific lesson within that topic that was learned.

Read the biographies behind the life mottos. Students create their own billboards for individuals/characters.

Read passages outside the textbook to infer author perspective

Consider multiple perspectives

Analyze multiple accounts of the same topic/event

Analyze an event within the context of its historical time and place

Place a short text within the frame and add the historical text around it. PDF | Editable PPT

Reread slowly and annotate relevant information

Emphasize little words with big meaning

Literacy Strategies for Improving Mathematics Instruction

Resources from the Grade 5 math lesson featured below | PDF Smartboard

Student handout used within the lesson video below

Read for the little words in story problems | Mini-Lesson Resource | PDF Smartboard

Annotate scientific thinking while reading

Master specialized vocabulary

Use the Vocabulary Notebook template for students to maintain a resource of the essential science terms you are teaching.

Check out the example Kristina shared on force.

Expedite vocabulary learning through root instruction

Visit for more support with science-based roots.

Visit for more support with science-based roots.

PHASE 3: Zoom out to integrate

Draw comparisons across literature

Make connections between cultural stories with different perspectives

The Rough-Faced Girl v. Cinderella

Lon Po Po v. Little Red Riding Hood

Analyze the four different character perspectives presented in Voices in the Park

Fractured Fairy Tales for Rewrite from a different point of view

Read a little; do a little

Support the connection between math and language

Corroborate information across multiple sources

Maintain source-specific notes

Synthesize New Ideas

Move beyond summarizing to synthesizing

Combine details to achieve a deeper understanding

Synthesize from Multiple Sources mini-lesson. PDF Smartboard

Small-Group Activity on Christopher Columbus

Collect details to infer reasons

Observe a 30-minute lesson and activity executed in a Concord Junior High science class.

Blend evidence and elaboration