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Disciplinary Literacy in Action


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Table of Contents

List of Figures Acknowledgments About the Authors INTRODUCTION What to Expect From This Book CHAPTER 1: DISCIPLINARY LITERACY AND COLLABORATIVE PROFESSIONAL LEARNING: A PARTNERSHIP THAT WORKS Literacy Initiatives and PLCs: What Went Wrong? Collaborative Disciplinary Literacy Learning: A Story of Success Meet Our Disciplinary Literacy Learning Community Benefits of Collaborative Disciplinary Literacy Professional Learning Fostering Disciplinary Literacy Dialogue Resources for Continued Learning CHAPTER 2: UNLOCKING DISCIPLINARY LITERACY What Is Literacy in the 21st Century? Content Area Literacy Versus Disciplinary Literacy Disciplinary Literacy Instruction in Action Fostering Disciplinary Literacy Dialogue Resources for Continued Learning HOW TO CREATE A SCHOOL-WIDE CULTURE OF DISCIPLINARY LITERACY CHAPTER 3: CREATING A SCHOOL-WIDE CULTURE OF DISCIPLINARY READING Why Read in Every Discipline? Wide Reading in All Disciplines: There's No Downside Reading Strategies: When and How Vocabulary: The Key to All Content Reading Fostering Disciplinary Literacy Dialogue Resources for Continued Learning CHAPTER 4: CREATING A SCHOOLWIDE CULTURE OF DISCIPLINARY WRITING Exploring Disciplinary Writing Writing to Learn in the Discipline Areas Following the Pros: Disciplinary Mentor Texts Feedback: From Master to Apprentice Fostering Disciplinary Literacy Dialogue Resources for Continued Learning CHAPTER 5: CREATING A SCHOOL-WIDE CULTURE OF DISCIPLINARY THINKING Learning to Think in Disciplinary Ways Curiosity Drives Disciplinary Thinking Students and Teachers: Thinking Like Insiders Together Making Disciplinary Thinking Visible Fostering Disciplinary Literacy Dialogue Resources for Continued Learning HOW TO SUSTAIN A SCHOOL-WIDE CULTURE OF DISCIPLINARY LITERACY CHAPTER 6: BUILDING DISCIPLINARY LITERACY (DL) LEARNING COMMUNITIES The Problem With PLCs Fixing the Problem Through DL Learning Communities Tips for Creating Interdisciplinary Common Subject Literacy Learning Communities The All-Important First Meeting Supporting DL Learning Communities Moving Toward Collective Efficacy Sustaining DL Learning Communities Fostering Disciplinary Literacy Dialogue Resources for Continued Learning CHAPTER 7: WHAT MATTERS MOST IN A DISCIPLINARY LITERACY (DL) LEARNING COMMUNITY Collective Inquiry Autonomy and Authority Meaningful Collaboration Fostering Disciplinary Literacy Dialogue Resources for Continued Learning CHAPTER 8: FROM TEACHER LEARNER TO TEACHER LEADER Disciplinary Literacy Develops Deep Leadership Disciplinary Literacy Leadership Roles The Power of Disciplinary Literacy Leadership Fostering Disciplinary Literacy Dialogue Resources for Continued Learning CHAPTER 9: LEADING THE DISCIPLINARY LITERACY CHARGE Administrative Leaders as Learners Disciplinary Literacy Coaching: The Glue That Holds It All Together Fostering Disciplinary Literacy Dialogue Resources for Continued Learning Coda Appendix A: Disciplinary Literacy in English Language Arts Appendix B: Disciplinary Literacy in Math Appendix C: Disciplinary Literacy in Science Appendix D: Disciplinary Literacy in Social Studies Appendix E: Disciplinary Literacy in Art Appendix F: Disciplinary Literacy in a World Language Appendix G: Disciplinary Literacy in Health Appendix H: Disciplinary Literacy in Music Appendix I: Technology or Digital Literacy Appendix J: Disciplinary Literacy in Physical Education References Index

About the Author

Learn more about ReLeah Lent's PD offerings ReLeah Cossett Lent began her career as a middle and high school English, social studies, debate and journalism teacher before becoming a founding member of a statewide literacy project at the University of Central Florida. While there, she coordinated literacy leadership teams in schools across the state. She is now an author and international consultant- speaking and facilitating workshops on topics ranging from disciplinary literacy to literacy leadership teams. While she often provides keynote addresses and one-day workshops, perhaps her most productive work has been with extended residencies in schools, districts and educational consortiums where she provides large-group professional learning and small group follow-up. Her multi-year work in one district, for example, led to the implementation of a disciplinary literacy model, resulting in increased student achievement and teacher leadership. A high school principal in the district termed the experience "transformational" in terms of teacher learning and transfer to the classroom. ReLeah works closely with administrators and staff to customize the learning experience based on the school or district's unique population and needs. ReLeah has authored eleven books on education and has been published in numerous journals, including Educational Leadership, the Journal of Staff Development, and NCTE's English Journal as well as being a frequent speaker for these organizations. Her latest book titles include Disciplinary Literacy in Action: How to Create and Sustain a School-Wide Culture of Deep Reading, Writing, and Thinking (Corwin, 2018), This is Disciplinary Literacy: Reading, Writing, Thinking and Doing...Content Area by Content Area (Corwin, 2016), Common Core CPR: What about the Adolescents Who Struggle...or Just Don't Care? (Corwin, 2013) and Overcoming Textbook Fatigue (ASCD, 2012). Marsha Voigt has 30 years of experience as a diagnostician and teacher, working with kindergarten through college-age students who struggled with literacy. She now focuses on professional development and serves as a consultant and literacy coach. In their article, "Growing Leaders from Within," she and ReLeah describe their first year of working together to facilitate a truly collaborative literacy learning community.


"Lent and Voight's Disciplinary Literacy in Action is an invigorating tonic for all educators interested in improving instruction and learning. By highlighting the intersectionality of disciplinary learning, literacy acquisition, and professional learning, the authors provide readers with a critical framework to improve instruction that serves as a foundation to prepare students for college, career, and citizenship. Peppered with visual and narrative examples of effective and efficient learning environments, the text can easily be employed to support the professional learning experiences of pre-service, novice, and experienced teachers."

-- Enrique A. Puig, Ed.D.

"Disciplinary literacy, argue Lent and Voigt, is a process rather than a product. You don't check disciplinary literacy off your to-do list -- you engage in it daily, pursuing its paths toward the long-term flourishing of all of our kids. If there is more important work than this, I can't think of what it is. I can't imagine a better or more capable guide for the deep and practical exploration of this work than Disciplinary Literacy in Action. Each page shines with wisdom and research, and every chapter is rooted in what actually goes on in schools. I expect that teachers, teams, and administrators will turn this into a well-worn text."

-- Dave Stuart, Jr.

"Disciplinary Literacy in Action is a 'must have' resource for all Junior and Senior High Schools. Rich with suggestions, this 'how-to' for implementing disciplinary literacy immerses the reader in teacher experiences that paint a picture of how transformative this approach can be. With their call to action that "it is no longer enough for students to memorize material and call it learning", this book offers guidance on how to sustain a disciplinary literacy culture within an entire school and district. The authors deliver an open invitation to teacher to engage students in content learning as experts do."

-- Kim Tackaberry

"Much of the professional literature has focused on what disciplinary literacy entails; this valuable contribution explores how it can be implemented in complex school settings. The authors articulate a fresh examination of disciplinary literacy through the lens of professional learning communities. They bring an experienced and savvy perspective to the promises and pitfalls of PLCs and especially appreciated are the teacher voices interspersed throughout the discussion that illuminate collective inquiry and meaningful collaboration in action. This book is a welcome resource that will resonate with teachers and school literacy leaders."

-- Doug Buehl

"In the book This Is Disciplinary Literacy, ReLeah Lent supported English teachers and content area teachers alike with strong rationale and concrete practices for reading, writing, inquiry, and collaboration across the disciplines. Lent's new book with Marsha Voigt, Disciplinary Literacy in Action, is the next step. This book can serve as manual for individuals and school teams who want to gain even more traction and build a culture of literacy learning and leadership. Learning from hours on site with leaders, teachers, and students who have developed communities of literacy learning, Lent and Voigt share moves that can serve as an apprenticeship for practitioners."

-- Lynn Angus Ramos

"In this detailed and delightful book, ReLeah Lent and Marsha Voigt harness the science of learning into crystal-clear signposts for getting students to read and write, think and problem solve in the ways that mathematicians, foreign language learners, historians, or artists do. A must-read for transformative action in teacher-scholars of all academic disciplines, this book will change how you think about your content area, and how you teach it!"

-- Wendy Ostroff, Ph.D.

"Disciplinary Literacy in Action provides a balanced, timely, and instructive approach to solving complex problems of practice related to disciplinary literacy. The authors harnesses the power of collaborative dialogue, problem-solving, and reflection and provide authentic, discipline-specific guidance to teachers and leaders about the skills required in reading, writing, and thinking in all content areas. This book provides content area teachers and school leaders with relevant tools about how to structure and use professional learning communities to support classroom-based and school-wide disciplinary literacy efforts. Lent and Voigt honor the role of the content area teachers in making informed decisions about the literacies of their discipline, invite the reader to listen in content area teaching and student learning, and present a call to action about the power of disciplinary professional learning communities to impact teacher, student, and school success."

-- Vicky Zygouris-Coe, Ph.D.

"Disciplinary Literacy in Action by ReLeah Lent and Marsha Voigt offers both practical advice and keen insights about how to engage learners in authentic and meaningful ways across the disciplines. The authors answer the critical question: How do we ensure our students develop the necessary literacy tools to be successful in discipline-specific ways? With the clarity of real examples, readers will find themselves inspired by a blueprint to ensure all students are well prepared for a world that awaits them."

-- Judy Wallis, Ed.D.

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