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Teaching Reading in the Content Areas
LLSS 538 Spring 2004
San Juan College
University of New Mexico-Farmington

Dr. Frances K. Vitali, Instructor


Reading Autobiographies

Write an autobiography of your own reading. What was the first memory you had of a book, of listening to stories? Who read them? Who told them? What were your first memories of writing? As you developed what were your experiences in learning to read and write?

The writing of this personal history will be 'a work in progress' as you revise it during the course. The final revision will be shared with your own students along with type-written copy to be handed in. You will begin the initial writing during our first class session. This should not be a 'last minute' piece of writing. The final copy should reflect a well-crafted, thought-out, and thought-provoking piece of quality writing.

Include an ending paragragh describing your own educational philosophy regarding teaching and learning. What role do you believe "reading" plays in the educational process? What are some of the questions, concerns, and/or comments that you have?

BLOG Discussion Forum

"Experience without reflection is hollow" as Cooper and Collins noted in their book The Power of Story. You may post your comments, reflections, opinions, attitudes, experience on our online discussion forum throughout the course. Please feel free to visit and read comments posted by class colleagues. The website is at

Learning Record Assessment System

The Learning Record (LRO) is a product of the Center for Language in Learning, whose mission is to offer a fair and trustworthy student evaluation which integrates classroom based assessment and assessment for public accountability. The LR is discussed in our Reading Reminders text on page 118.

In this course, instead of completing a learning record on a student in our classroom, we will complete a LRO on ourselves as students. This process will provide an opportunity to reflect on our own learning, thus experiencing the assessment process first hand.

The purpose of the LRO is to assist and engage students in reflecting about their own development as learners and helping them take more responsibility for that development, and encourages them to pursue it actively.

  • Part A gives students an opportunity to reflect on their development as readers, writers, and thinkers as they enter the class.

  • The data collection section is in two parts; it engages students in making first-hand observations of ongoing activities, and in selecting relevant examples of work demonstrating their own development over time.

  • In the summary interpetation of Part B, students engage in synthesizing and analyzing the fragmentary data provided by the data collection section in the light of Part A. They develop interpretations of this data as representative of their development across five dimensions of literacy learning: the dimensions of confidence and independence, skills and strategies, knowledge and understanding, the use of prior and emerging experience, and reflectiveness, and they connect these dimensions to the key themes or goals of the course.

  • Finally, in Part C, students present an argument for a grade, based on the reasons and evidence they have developed and provided for readers. At the midterm, they reflect on what they hope to accomplish for the remainder of the semester, and make suggestions for improving the functioning of the class.

Readings from Professional Literature

To augment, challenge, and extend the contents of our complementaty texts, the student will also read from professional literature - two journal articles and 2 academic books.

Book readings are intended to stretch your philosophical framework. Choose books which address your own research interests. Report of the books will involve a written narrative, providing an overview and highlighting points, issue, questions, discoveries encountered during your reading and reflecting.

On a more practical level, the following journal articles have been selected in incorporating 'effective comprehension routines'(as an integrated set of practices, Duke and Pearson, 2002) in your present teaching situation. If you are not utilizing such strategies presently, you will have the opportunity to practice these strategies in your current teaching environment.

Duke, Pearson, and Jacobs document research on effective comprehension instruction, but admit much of this research is not reflected in classroom practice. Your assignment will be to integrate the the "effective individual comprehension strategies" within a comprehension routine (Duke and Pearson, 2002) and the "three-step strategy" (Jacobs, 1999) in your own classroom. This "class case study" should include observations, discoveries, and reflection of yourself and your students in a Report documenting:

    the reading climate and disposition of students before you implemented these reading strategies;

  • the process through observations, anecdotal records, and student work samples during implementation;

  • your professional growth/change;

  • and the overall result/outcome and conclusion.

Meeting with Instructor

Arrange to meet with the instructor at least once during the semester, preferably during midterm week.

Sending Assignments

Assignments may be emailed (as attachments) or mailed directly to the instructor.

See checklist of Assignments


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