Guidelines for Subject Specific Literacy

Literacy in the New Zealand Curriculum

“Each learning area has its own language or languages. As students discover how to use them, they find they are able to think in different ways, access new areas of knowledge, and see their world from new perspectives. For each area, students need specific help from their teachers as they learn:

  • The specialist vocabulary associated with that area:
  • How to read and understand its texts;
  • How to communicate knowledge and ideas in appropriate ways;
  • How to listen and read critically, assessing the value of what they hear and read.

In addition to such help, students who are new learners of English or coming into an English-medium environment for the first time need explicit and extensive teaching of English vocabulary, word forms, sentence and text structures, and language uses.

As language is central to learning and English is the medium for most learning in the New Zealand Curriculum, the importance of literacy in English cannot be overstated.” (NZC, p16)

Guidelines for effective adolescent literacy instruction

Aaron Wilson developed a set of guidelines for effective adolescent literacy instruction when he was national coordinator of the Secondary literacy project 2009-11. 

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Starpath professional learning development has provided teachers with a range of literacy teaching and learning strategies across different curriculum areas. In the resources section you will find PDF versions of powerpoint presentations from workshops on literacy in English, Mathematics, Science, Social Sciences, PE/Health and Technology.

Suggested Reading

  • Moje, E.B., Overby, M., Tysvaer, N., & Morris, K. (2008). The Complex World of Adolescent Literacy: Myths, Motivations, and Mysteries. In Harvard Educational Review, 78 (1), p107-154
  • Schoenbach, R., Greenleaf, C., & Murphy, L. (2012). Reading for Understanding: How Reading Apprenticeship Improves Disciplinary Learning in Secondary and College Classrooms (2nd ed.). San Francisco, USA: WestEd, Jossey-Bass
  • Shanahan T., & Shanahan, C. (2008). Teaching Disciplinary Literacy to Adolescents: Re-thinking Content Area Literacy. In Harvard Educational Review 78 (1), p40-59. Cambridge, MA. Harvard Education Publishing Group
  • White, S. (2012).  Mining the Text: 34 Text Features That Can Ease or Obstruct Text Comprehension Use. In Literacy Research and Instruction, 51 (2), p143-164. Washington, DC. Routledge: Taylor and Francis