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Course Title
Content Literacy: Grades 6-12


Review the new literacy standards to see how they relate to the content areas, and uncover the many ways adolescent development is connected to effective teaching. Explore differentiated education and see how easy it can be to deliver content to students at varying levels of literacy development.


  • Understand adolescent literacy and its relationship to effective content area teaching.
  • Analyze the role of content area literacy in college and career readiness, and learn how it relates to the CCSS.
  • Explain the three factors in measuring text complexity and how you can use text complexity analysis in your content area classroom.
  • Incorporate writing strategies into content learning.
  • Integrate the CCSS speaking and listening objectives into the content area classroom.


Lesson 01 - Fundamentals of Adolescent Literacy

In our first lesson, we'll examine the difference between literacy and literature, and we'll look closely at the adolescent brain and find out how learning during that life stage is different than learning as a baby, child, or adult. You'll get a quick refresher on the concept of learning styles and discover how we can accommodate a diverse group of learners in a classroom. By the time the lesson is over, you'll be ready to explore the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and see how they address the need for grades 6-12 interdisciplinary literacy.

Lesson 02 - CCSS and Interdisciplinary Literacy

Today we'll explore the history and goals of the CCSS. You'll find out how the developers of the CCSS structured the standards to help prepare students for the 21st century workplace, and you'll see how interdisciplinary literacy fits into the standards. We'll walk through the document together and examine its parts. And finally, we'll discuss how you might use it when you prepare classroom activities.

Lesson 03 - Text Complexity

We know that students need to read more, and they need to read more complex texts. How would you explain what text complexity is? Today, we'll discuss the three aspects of text complexity as described in the CCSS. And by the end of the lesson, you'll see how you can use text complexity analysis in your content area classroom to help students develop their reading skills and more readily master your academic material.

Lesson 04 - Reading Strategies That Build Comprehension in the Content Areas

In this lesson, we'll take an in-depth look at the CCSS reading standards. First, we'll examine the reading anchor standards and see how they're articulated for different grade levels as students read both literature and informational texts. Then, we'll discuss practical examples of reading strategies that you can use in your own content area classroom. By the end of this lesson, you'll have a clear picture of how to use reading strategies to build comprehension in your content area.

Lesson 05 - Writing Strategies That Build Comprehension in the Content Areas

Today we'll explore the writing standards and see how the CCSS articulates them for different grade levels. We'll look at some practical writing strategies that are ideally suited for the content area classroom, and then we'll pop by Ms. X Ample's classroom to see one of those strategies in practice. We'll also examine some of the most common tricks of the trade among English Language Arts teachers, and you'll see how you can apply them to your classroom. After seeing what writing strategies look like in practice, you'll be inspired to try them yourself!

Lesson 06 - Speaking and Listening in the Content Areas

Don't assume your students have mastered their speaking and listening skills. Today we'll explore the Common Core State Standards for speaking and listening. You'll examine how the broad goals of the anchor standards are articulated for the 6-12 grade levels, and we'll take a close look at some speaking and listening activities that are ideally suited for the content area classroom. Along the way, we'll go over a few techniques for maintaining control in a conversational classroom.

Lesson 07 - Argumentation as Literacy Development

Most teenagers enjoy a good debate. There's nothing inherently wrong with this. In fact, we've all seen a well-argued debate lead to some pretty exciting outcomes. So let's take a close look at how argumentation is related to literacy and learn ways to reinforce and encourage the value of debate in your content area classroom.

Lesson 08 - Developing Academic Language in the Content Areas

Language is the basic building block of any society. It's how we communicate, and it's how we record events. In this lesson, we'll examine the CCSS goals for language development, and you'll learn how to help students achieve these goals in your own classroom.

Lesson 09 - Technology and Literacy

Technology has significantly changed the way we teach. Today's lesson is all about integrating the CCSS technology standards into the content area classroom. You'll discover how content learning, classroom technology, and literacy development complement each other and can occur simultaneously. Worried you're not an IT person and don't have the technological skills to succeed? Don't be. We'll address that, too, and by the end of this lesson, you'll be ready to roll up your sleeves and dive headfirst into the technology deep end!

Lesson 10 - Student Learning Centers

Student learning centers are a valuable, real-world model of how content learning and literacy skill development can happen simultaneously in every classroom. In this lesson, you'll learn how to repurpose existing lesson activities as learning center activities, and you'll find out why this approach to working with students in the upper grades is a practical way to integrate literacy development and content learning.

Lesson 11 - Assessment: How Will I Know It's Working?

In today's lesson, you'll find out how content literacy affects formative assessments and summative assessments. You'll learn what formative assessment is and isn't, and you'll learn the three steps to a well-implemented formative assessment. We'll also look at how Ms. X Ample incorporates this type of assessment into her instruction. We'll discuss the five building blocks of formative assessment, and you'll learn some simple strategies you can use in your classroom. We'll also take a close look at summative assessments, and you'll find out about the two new assessment consortia that will administer standardized tests: Smarter Balanced and PARCC.

Lesson 12 - Literacy Evolution in the Classroom

In our final lesson for this course, we'll make a plan to use the best of what's new, keep the best of what you've already got, and enjoy being a great 21st century teacher. We'll wrap up everything you've learned throughout this course, and we'll examine tools you can use to integrate the CCSS with your existing lesson plans and your school's curriculum.

Method of Instruction



Class participation