From the TST Archives: Science and Literacy

A Place for Content Literacy
January 2011
To help students learn and apply science content, teachers can embed content literacy instruction within their science instruction. This involves teaching the content and the literacy skills students need to learn that content, such as vocabulary and comprehension. In this article, the author provides tips on how to incorporate content literacy strategies in the high school science classroom. A sampling of vocabulary and comprehension strategies provides student guidance throughout the learning process.

Building Background Knowledge
January 2010
Too often, students enter our classrooms with insufficient knowledge of physical science. As a result, they have a difficult time understanding content in texts, lectures, and laboratory activities. This lack of background knowledge can have an impact on students’ ability to ask questions and wonder—both key components of inquiry. In this article, the authors demonstrate the impact that building background knowledge through wide reading can have on student achievement. They also identify a number of reasons why wide reading isn’t commonly used in the classroom and suggest how to address these concerns.

More Than Writing-to-Learn
January 2010
Writing-to-learn activities use writing as a process in which students generate and clarify understanding of scientific concepts for themselves, rather than for evaluation. Instead of having students parrot science facts back to the instructor, writing-to-learn activities focus on the production of nontraditional writing assignments—such as poems, brochures, or letters—to develop understanding (Yore and Treagust 2006). This article highlights the author’s experience using multimodal writing tasks and the impact on student learning in biology and chemistry classrooms.