Let’s face it. Literacy is an integral part of being an effective citizen of society. Accommodations are sometimes necessary (and should be provided when required), but the most important skill you can encourage a student to pursue is literacy. Sometimes, you have to be creative when encouraging literacy. One way to do is by planning cross curriculum literacy. It doesn’t have to be complicated and overwhelming when the planning process begins. Similar to our students, you should build upon your knowledge and skill by providing a good foundation. Here are three ways that you can incorporate literacy across all curriculum areas.
- Discuss with co workers what topics or standards they are covering. For science, this could mean a unit on planets. In this case, you could pick reading lessons that cover planets. For social studies, it could be the Civil War. Again, focus your reading material on Civil War ideas. For math, incorporate word problems that also use similar material.
- Science and math subjects overlap enormously. In many cases, formulas taught in math are also taught in science. One way to practice literacy in both subjects is analyzing graphs and charts. This also lends itself to higher-order thinking in many cases. You can also consult with your science or math teacher to plan on teaching similar concepts at the same time. It may even be that you could co-teach a lesson that is similar.
- Lastly, collaborative unit planning is suggested. This could be between the reading and social studies teachers or every teacher on your grade band. It could be a novel study where elements of the four major subject areas can be covered. In one example, we used a novel study across our grade band to guide our teaching. Students completed group projects where they were asked about the geography from the novel, critical elements such as theme, calculated distances, and developed a plan of action for the characters. In another activity, they were asked to complete a graphic organizer that asked for subject elements. For instance, if they noticed a social studies element, such as geography descriptions, they would fill in their graphic organizer in the social studies section. It was an excellent way for them to analyze chapters and understand that a novel provides many elements from many different subject areas.
I know that cross-curriculum literacy can be more difficult to achieve with higher grade levels, but it is not an impossible feat. What are some ways that you have incorporated cross-curriculum literacy in your classroom or school that you have found successful?