Literacy Instruction with Disciplinary Texts

Strategies for Grades 6-12

William E. Lewis and John Z. Strong
Foreword by Lyn Long and Bilinda Sikes

HardcoverPaperbacke-bookprint + e-book
November 24, 2020
ISBN 9781462544752
Price: $83.00
288 Pages
Size: 7" x 10"
November 24, 2020
ISBN 9781462544684
Price: $33.00
288 Pages
Size: 7" x 10"
October 28, 2020
ePub and PDF ?
Price: $33.00
288 Pages
print + e-book
Paperback + e-Book (ePub and PDF) ?
Price: $66.00 $36.30
288 Pages

To develop strong disciplinary literacy skills, middle and high school students need to engage with diverse types of challenging texts in every content area. This book provides a blueprint for constructing literacy-rich instructional units in English language arts, science, and social studies. The authors describe how to design interconnected text sets and plan lessons that support learning and engagement before, during, and after reading. Presented are ways to build academic vocabulary and background knowledge, teach research-based comprehension strategies, and guide effective discussions and text-based writing activities. Chapters also cover how to teach students to write argumentative, informative, and narrative essays, and to conduct discipline-specific inquiry. Special features include sample text sets and 24 reproducible planning templates and other teaching tools; purchasers get access to a Web page where they can download and print the reproducible materials in a convenient 8½“ x 11” size.

“Lewis and Strong have integrated all of the important components of planning literacy-based instruction in any discipline. Finally, a reference for teachers that includes evidence-based strategies, connections to research, and realistic ways to utilize a range of high-quality texts.”

—Cary B. Riches, EdD, Executive Director of Secondary Education, Brandywine School District, Wilmington, Delaware

“I plan to use this book as the main text in a content literacy course for both practicing and preservice teachers. The descriptions of research, explanations of strategies, and examples are accessible enough for beginners, but also clear and specific enough for those looking to extend and deepen their knowledge of the strategies and see them across multiple contexts. The book emphasizes ways to increase literacy development and content learning using science-based strategies, while recognizing that all children bring valuable knowledge and experiences to the classroom. I appreciate the authors' attention to both discussion and writing as essential contributors to comprehension, and I love the chapter on inquiry! We don't teach kids to read just for the sake of it; we want to teach them to be curious and read for real reasons.”

—Sarah M. Lupo, PhD, Department of Early, Elementary, and Reading Education, James Madison University

“This book provides current and future secondary school teachers with clear guidance for designing effective disciplinary text sets and supporting students’ learning before, during, and after reading the texts. I appreciate the attention to writing instruction, including text-based writing, extended writing, and inquiry-based writing. This book is a great resource for disciplinary literacy courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels.”

—Bong Gee Jang, PhD, Department of Reading and Language Arts, Syracuse University

“This comprehensive work is a 'must read' for preservice and inservice teachers, building administrators, and curriculum leaders. The pedagogical recommendations emanate from high-quality research and address complex concepts in understandable ways. This is an excellent resource for an interdisciplinary team of teachers and administrators to read together with the goal of reframing their use of reading, writing, and discussion to support students' learning in the content areas. In addition, this text could be used in undergraduate or graduate courses because the research is written in accessible language with realistic examples, but could also be used to extend thinking. Lewis and Strong attend to the development of strategic writers and readers and show practical ways to engage adolescents in developing these strategic behaviors.”

—Lynn E. Shanahan, PhD, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction, and Technology, Amherst Central School District, New York

Table of Contents

Foreword, Lyn Long & Bilinda Sikes

1. Introduction to Adolescent Literacy

2. Understanding Text Complexity

3. Designing Content-Area Text Sets sample

4. Building Background Knowledge before Reading

5. Supporting Comprehension during Reading

6. Conducting Discussions after Reading

7. Text-Based Writing to Promote Comprehension

8. Teaching Extended Writing

9. Inquiry in the Disciplines

10. Putting It All Together



About the Authors

William E. Lewis, PhD, is Associate Professor of Literacy Education in the School of Education at the University of Delaware, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in content-area literacy, English language arts (ELA) methods, and young adult literature. Dr. Lewis presents a range of professional development seminars on secondary content-area literacy and text-based writing. Before teaching at the University of Delaware, he taught high school ELA for 20 years in Pennsylvania public schools. His research has been published in leading journals. Dr. Lewis is a recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award from the University of Delaware.

John Z. Strong, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Literacy Education in the Graduate School of Education at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, where he teaches graduate courses in middle childhood/adolescent literacy methods and reading strategies instruction. Dr. Strong previously taught high school English language arts in Delaware. His research interests include integrated reading and writing interventions for students in grades 4–12. He has published in leading journals and is a recipient of the Timothy and Cynthia Shanahan Outstanding Dissertation Award from the International Literacy Association.


Teachers, academic coaches, and staff developers in grades 6–12; teacher educators and graduate students.

Course Use

May serve as a text in graduate-level courses.