16 Resources on Disciplinary Literacy Strategies


In today’s schools, literacy instruction isn’t just for English language arts classes. Every subject involves discipline-specific text and all students need to develop the critical literacy skills to use and understand them. Learn how to incorporate disciplinary literacy strategies in your classroom with this curated list of resources just released on ASCD myTeachSource®.

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Free Resources

Disciplinary Literacy: A Shift That Makes Sense from ASCD Express

Reading, writing, and thinking looks different, depending on the subject matter. Shifting to a disciplinary literacy approach makes sense because it honors that difference and clarifies how teachers can help students read; reason; write; think; speak; and, most important, participate in specific content areas.

The Case for Multiple Texts from Educational Leadership

Students grasp more information, think more critically, and learn to synthesize when they read many texts on one topic.

Teaching Science Literacy from Educational Leadership

Four actions help teachers foster citizens who are critical thinkers about science-related issues.

Southern Regional Education Board

Six units for teaching disciplinary literacy in history, literature, and science in secondary schools, produced and field-tested by the Southern Regional Education Board.

Lesson Plans from the National Paideia Center

These Socratic seminar lesson plans from the National Paideia Center align different disciplinary texts with the Common Core State Standards.

Literacy in Every Classroom from ASCD Express

No matter the discipline, students need to be able to think and write about the material they read to make it their own. Students may not know how to “read like a historian” just because reading is assigned in social studies. Likewise, students need to know how to write more than an answer in math. Read on to learn how busy teachers can foreground literacy skills without sidelining content.

Task, Text, and Talk: Literacy for All Subjects from Educational Leadership

Disciplinary literacy simultaneously builds secondary students’ academic content knowledge and their reading, writing, and thinking skills.

ASCD Member-Only Access

Why Argue? by Mary Ehrenworth from Educational Leadership

Argumentation is not just a skill for language arts classrooms—it’s a pathway to success in virtually every academic discipline.

Reading Through a Disciplinary Lens by Connie Juel, Heather Hebard, Julie Park Haubner and Meredith Moran from Educational Leadership

Understanding how to think like a scientist, writer, or historian can provide students with new insights as they tackle a text.

Why Pair Discourse with Writing? by Eleanor Dougherty, Laura Billings, and Terry Roberts

In this chapter from The Better Writing Breakthrough, the authors explain why classroom discussion in all disciplines is necessary to improve students’ academic writing skills.

Literacy in Every Classroom, an Educational Leadership issue

This issue of Educational Leadership examines every aspect of disciplinary literacy, from what it is to how it works across the content areas.

ASCD Resources 

Complex Text Decoded: How to Design Lessons and Use Strategies That Target Authentic Texts by Kathy T. Glass

Kathy Glass offers a wealth of proven strategies for designing lessons that incorporate a close examination of text and encourage students to delve deeply into content. This resources includes strategies for prereading, text-dependent questions, vocabulary, and assessment.

The Better Writing Breakthrough: Connecting Student Thinking and Discussion to Inspire Great Writing by Eleanor Dougherty, Laura Billings, and Terry Roberts

This book takes you to the next level of writing instruction with insights on the prominence of argument writing in the literacy standards, the importance of building content knowledge through nonfiction texts, and the significance of using textual evidence to support analysis. Classroom examples and sample lessons make it easier for you to inspire students to become confident and competent writers.

A Close Look at Close Reading: Teaching Students to Analyze Complex Texts, Grades K–5 by Diane Lapp, Barbara Moss, Maria Grant, and Kelly Johnson

Follow the advice in this book to ensure all students—regardless of their linguistic, cultural, or academic background—have the tools they need to connect with and learn from both literary and informational texts across academic disciplines.

A Close Look at Close Reading: Teaching Students to Analyze Complex Texts, Grades 6–12 by Barbara Moss, Diane Lapp, Maria Grant, and Kelly Johnson

Learn how to incorporate close reading in your secondary classroom to empower students’ analysis of complex texts, increase their disciplinary literacy, and deepen their content area knowledge.

The Innovators: Integrating Literacy into Curriculum (DVD)

This DVD takes you and your colleagues to two sites where educators integrate complex thinking and communication skills throughout subject area instruction and raise the bar for student achievement. In compelling examples from an elementary school district and a high school whose literacy model has been adopted by schools across the country, see how educators can collaborate to make advancing literacy learning a top priority.