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The Role of the Academic Disciplines in Fostering Literacy

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Principal Researchers

Audrey Champagne,
Adam Gamoran, Vicky Kouba,
Martin Nystrand, Lawrence Wu,
Jane Zuengler

Each academic discipline has its own literacy requirements related to "knowing" and demonstrating how much one knows in that field. Middle and high school courses in the disciplines also can contribute to students’ development of more general literacy skills.

It is important to understand not only the literacy demands of the various disciplines but also the way that students learn how to perform in those disciplines and demonstrate their achievement within as well as across them.

Such understandings can inform teachers, administrators, and policymakers about how writing, reading, and classroom discussion can work together to develop literacy skills and how students, especially those with limited English proficiency, learn how to participate in and learn from class discussions. Several studies addressed these questions.

One, a large-scale quantitative study, examined ninth-grade English and social studies classrooms to determine the relationship between classroom discourse and student literacy achievement. Results can be found in the following:

High School English: A National Portrait. (Article Abstract, 2002-3)
The Production of Achievement Inequality in High School English (Article Abstract, 2002)
Questions in Time: Investigating the Structure and Dynamics of Unfolding Classroom Discourse (Report, 2001)
Towards an Ecology of Learning: A Case of Classroom Discourse and Its Effects on Writing Development (Report, 1998)

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Last updated on May 23, 2008 by the Webmaster.
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Center on English Learning and Achievement,  School of Education B9
University at Albany,  1400 Washington Ave.,  Albany,  NY 12222

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