We have already reviewed four of their questions and answers:
- Why does the Common Core include disciplinary literacy standards?
3. But don’t disciplinary subjects have their own standards already?
4. If teachers in science, social studies, and other subjects are teaching disciplinary literacy, what are English teachers doing?
This week we will discuss their last (combined) questions which are:
5. If students are taught how to read a historical text, couldn’t they be successful at reading any text? Are disciplines really that unique in their function and organization?
Let’s consider historical texts. Understanding the source of a primary, historical text is vital to unlocking the meaning of the text. As Shanahan & Shanahan (2017) state, “It would seem wise to teach students to skill of sourcing--evaluating and weighing evidence by considering its source” (p. 21). Simply being able to answer simple reading comprehension types of questions is not enough. Comprehension needs to be connected to the understanding of source.
This is much different than “reading” a math source. When reading math, students much consider underlying processes, patterns, calculations, and key vocabulary. This information does not necessarily need to be weighed against the source of the math.
This specific kind of reading and thinking demands that all content area teachers focus on their specific demands so that all students can successfully navigate a myriad of texts, resources, and information.