Thursday, January 7, 2010

Topic: Inservice Session on Reading in the Content Areas

10-second review: Teachers of different subjects exchange textbooks and identify problems students are likely to have in reading the textbooks. An English teacher, for example, exchanges a copy of Shakespeare’s play she is teaching in her English class with a science teacher who is using a textbook to help explain genetics.

Title: “Shock Treatment Inservice Program Adds New Life to Reading.” B Osburn. Journal of Reading (November 1974), 122-126. The Journal of Reading was the secondary school publication for the International Reading Association (IRA), since replaced by the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy.

Comment: I remember one time that I, an English teacher, was looking over a chemistry text. I said, matter-of-factly, to the chemistry teacher, a nice guy, that I was overwhelmed by it. He shot back, “And I’m overwhelmed by Shakespeare.”

It might be a good idea to have teachers of different subjects evaluate each other’s textbooks to identify the difficulties they would have in studying them. If chemistry teachers define the difficulties they have with reading a Shakespearean play and if English teachers identify why reading about genetics is difficult, a good discussion might follow on how to overcome the difficulties. Just a thought. RayS.

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