What is Content Area Literacy?

Content area literacy refers to teaching students what they need to do to understand expository text and be able to read text books. The following skills need to be taught:

  • To recognize the various text structures authors use when writing expository text.
  • To understand that reading textbooks and expository texts are directly related to study skills.
  • To understand that the reading pace one uses when reading content area texts must be varied based on the prior knowledge students have with the topic they are reading.
  • That in order to remember what one has read and to make relationships between the reading and the need to learn the content, that some kind of notes must be taken.
  • That the notes taken are not copied from the book, but rather are in students' own words, are comprehensible, and can be used later during assessment.


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