By the National Institute for Literacy
The goal of this report is to help address middle and high school classroom teachers’, administrators’, and parents’ immediate need for basic information about how to build adolescents’ reading and writing skills.
A growing research base on adolescent literacy supports an emphasis on direct instruction in the reading and writing skills needed to perform these more complex literacy tasks. However, many middle and high school teachers have little or no preparation for teaching these skills within their content-area disciplines and have few resources upon which to draw when they are faced with students whose academic reading and writing skills do not match their expectations . Given this, it is important to realize that the responsibilities for strengthening literacy skills in these students is the responsibility of everyone at the school ranging from the language-arts instructors, reading specialists, content-area teachers, speech and hearing specialists, school psychologists, administrators, and others. The roles will likely be different for individuals in each of these groups, but everyone can take concrete steps to better identify adolescents that are struggling and address their literacy needs. The purpose of this resource document is to summarize and discuss the most recent adolescent literacy research and to describe promising, research-based instructional practices that can improve adolescents’ academic reading and writing skills.
This document provides more general information for content-area teachers so that they will gain a deeper understanding of the underlying skills their students will need and the kind of instruction needed to develop these skills. Armed with this knowledge, we hope teachers will seek out the assistance struggling readers and writers need and be able to support the literacy skills of all students in the classrooms by incorporating some of these practices and strategies into their own content-focused instruction.