Reading with purpose
Writing to learn
Writing to demonstrate learning
Engaging in academic discourse
Because PBL stresses having students engage as and with experts in the field, CTL’s content literacy framework lends itself to supporting students reading, writing, speaking, listening, and observing like content area experts. In a science class for instance, as students are formulating and writing a hypothesis for a lab, students call upon their close reading strategies to cite evidence from their reading as part of their statement. Students apply the science vocabulary in academic discourse when asking self and others questions during the lab while using a science journal to participate in writing to learn, noting and drawing their observations. To synthesize the lab results, students then have resources to utilize in preparation for academic discourse.
As PBL changes a teacher’s role in the classroom so does CTL’s comprehensive approach to literacy. Students and teachers ask more questions, particularly open-ended, giving students more time to respond, seek answers, and formulate further questions. The teacher and the students mutually contribute to the classroom culture and learning environment.
CTL understands that by intentionally incorporating reading and writing strategies students are better able to construct meaning and organize their memory (McKenna, and Robinson, 1990). The addition of purposeful dialogue provides social interactions that students need in order to create understanding (Mercer, 2004; Mercer & Littleton, 2007).
McKenna, M. C., & Robinson, R. D. (1990). Content literacy: A definition and implications. Journal of Reading
Mercer, N. (2007). Sociocultural discourse analysis: Analysing classroom talk as a social mode of thinking. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice
Mercer, N., & Littleton, K. (2007). Dialogue and the development of children’s thinking: A sociocultural approach