When secondary and college students don't read with understanding, or avoid reading academic texts altogether, what can help?
Reading Apprenticeship draws on teachers' untapped expertise as discipline–based readers and on students' untapped strengths as learners.
The result is a research–based, research–tested partnership that benefits students and teachers alike.
Randomized controlled studies have shown that with Reading Apprenticeship,
- Teachers increase the effectiveness of their disciplinary teaching.
- Students build both reading and subject area competence.
- Students gain the dispositions to engage, problem solve, and persevere when faced with challenging academic texts.
Reading Apprenticeship Framework
Reading Apprenticeship instructional routines and approaches are based on a framework that describes classroom life in terms of four interacting dimensions that support reading development:
- Social: The social dimension draws on students' interests in peer interaction as well as larger social, political, economic, and cultural issues. Reading Apprenticeship creates a safe environment for students to share their confusion and difficulties with texts, and to recognize their diverse perspectives and knowledge.
- Personal: This dimension draws on strategic skills used by students in out–of–school settings, their interest in exploring new aspects of their own identities and self–awareness as readers, their purposes for reading, and their goals for reading improvement.
- Cognitive: The cognitive dimension develops readers' mental processes, including their repertoire of specific comprehension and problem–solving strategies. The work of generating cognitive strategies that support reading comprehension is carried out through shared classroom inquiry.
- Knowledge–Building: This dimension includes identifying and expanding the knowledge readers bring to a text and further developing it through personal and social interaction with that text. Students build knowledge about language and word construction, genre and text structure, and the discourse practices specific to a discipline — in addition to the concepts and content embedded in the text.
These dimensions are woven into subject area teaching through "metacognitive conversations" — conversations about the thinking processes students and teachers engage in as they read. "Extensive reading" — increased opportunities for students to practice reading in more skillful ways — is the necessary context for this framework to succeed.
Approach to Professional Development
Reading Apprenticeship professional development incorporates all aspects of the Reading Apprenticeship framework. Teams of teachers, administrators, and other literacy leaders experience the four interacting dimensions of classroom life, participate in metacognitive conversation, and read extensively, at times as disciplinary experts and at other times as students might —approaching challenging texts in an unfamiliar discipline. Specifically, participants experience
- Opportunities to take part in carefully designed inquiries to help unlock their own disciplinary expertise in relation to literacy;
- Strategies to help them identify the features of disciplinary texts that might present stumbling blocks to learners;
- Practice with classroom routines to build student engagement, support student collaboration, and foster authentic discussion and problem solving around course texts;
- Support for integrating these routine ways of engaging with reading into ongoing subject area instruction, deeply reframing the way students think about, talk about, and read texts in their classrooms.