Reading Across the Disciplines
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Microcredential ID : 2649
Disciplinary Literacy
0.5 USBE Credit


This microcredential represents educators' use of discipline-specific reading instruction as a part of their content-area instruction. Reading is an essential part of literacy. Teachers are responsible to support students in learning how to read in the style of the disciplines they teach—e.g., reading like a scientist, reading like a mathematician, etc. For example, in social studies, a teacher whose students are reading a secondary source text needs to support students in considering the context, looking for corroborating evidence across texts, and considering the source/author. Educators who support reading literacy in their content areas do the following: teach discipline-specific reading practices; employ a variety of text types; encourage reading to use the information within the discipline.

  • Utah Effective Teaching Standards > Standard 2: Instructional Design Clarity
    Element 1: Content - Demonstrating a comprehensive understanding of Utah Core Standards, communicating relevance of content, communicating clear pathways to student mastery and designing learning experiences aligned to clear learning intentions and success criteria.
  • Utah Effective Teaching Standards > Standard 2: Instructional Design Clarity
    Element 2: Learning Progression - Demonstrating a comprehensive understanding of where students have been, where they are now and where they are going using strategically sequenced learning experiences aligned within and across grade levels.
How To Earn This Microcredential

To earn this 0.5 USBE credit microcredential you will submit two evidence items to demonstrate your discipline-specific reading instruction. You will also submit a reflection. Click the Earn This Microcredential button for more information.

A fee of $20.00 will be assessed once the microcredential is submitted for review.

The type of reading that leads to disciplinary literacy does not include memorization and simple recall. It is more than students answering basic questions at the end of the chapter. It is teaching students how to read within a specific content area and demonstrate their comprehension through discipline application.

Important Terms
Discipline-specific reading practices:

Effective educators model for students how to read like experts in the discipline. They use strategies to read relevant texts.

Text variety:

Effective educators provide students with a wide variety of texts of varying lengths related to disciplinary topics instead of relying on a single resource.

Reading to use the information within the dis:

Effective educators provide opportunities for students to use information from the readings to do authentic work within the discipline.

Background Scenario / How This Will Help You

Mr. Jefferson, an 11th grade U.S. History teacher at Washington High School, is beginning a unit on the Civil War. He carefully chooses three differing historical readings for his students: Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, Robert Hicks's article "Why the Civil War Still Matters," and Charles Blow's "Lincoln, Liberty, and Two Americas." Mr. Jefferson will use a think-aloud strategy to model for his students how to read the texts as a historian. He will read one or more of the articles aloud with his students, making his thinking clear as he reads. He will then use a graphic organizer to model for students how to compare and contrast different perspectives on the same historical event. Students will use their graphic organizer to finish reading the final article individually, using their historian reading skills. They will then engage in a class discussion as to what is the legacy of the Gettysburg Address and does it still matter today.

Evidence Options
Be sure to submit the type and number of pieces of evidence specified below.
Category: Preparation and Planning

Select ONE of the evidence options below to demonstrate your preparation and planning for reading instruction within your content or discipline.

Lesson Plan:

Submit a well-developed lesson plan that includes specific texts, a plan for how the teacher will model and scaffold reading those texts in the content area, guidelines for the product students will be producing as a result of their readings, and assessment methods. In a separate section of the lesson plan, include citations for research supporting your instructional approach. (See the resources section for examples.) This lesson plan should demonstrate your consistent and effective use of reading instruction to support your content standards.

Category: Implementation

Select ONE of the evidence options below to demonstrate your effective implementation of reading instruction within your content or discipline.


Submit a 5-8 minute video of your reading strategy instruction. This video should demonstrate your effective and consistent use of modeling and using reading strategies to support your content standards. Follow your district/charter guidelines for student privacy. Video submissions should follow all relevant LEA (district/charter) and FERPA guidelines.

Student Work:

Submit at least three samples of authentic student work produced during your instruction. These samples should demonstrate how the students have used reading to enhance their learning in the discipline (e.g., annotated readings, graphic organizers, photographs of products, writings). Include links to the assigned readings. Be sure to follow your district/charter guidelines for student privacy.

Review Criteria

Criterion 1: Evidence demonstrates that the educator uses best practices to teach specific reading skills within the target discipline. Criterion 2: Evidence demonstrates that the educator provides students with a wide variety of texts of varying lengths related to the disciplinary topics. Criterion 3: Evidence demonstrates the educator provides opportunities for students to use information from the readings in authentic ways within the discipline.

Reflection Prompts

Describe how you use reading instruction to model discipline-specific strategies, use texts of varying types and lengths, and how your students apply their readings to authentic work.

Explain how your students benefit from your reading instruction.

Review Criteria

Criterion 1: Reflection explains how experts in the teacher's content area read. Criterion 2: Reflection explains the rationale for the selection of texts that are used to support instruction. Criterion 3: Reflection explains the connection between the reading and the students' authentic work.


This website is a searchable database of literacy strategies for any educator at any grade level. ReadWriteThink is a collaboration between the International Literacy Association (ILA) and National Council of Teachers of English/Language Arts (NCTE/LA).

This website has literacy strategies and sample lessons for teachers in any subject area to incorporate writing into their content instruction in a way that is authentic to their disciplines.

Think Alouds in Elementary Reading Instruction

Think alouds are a powerful way for instructors to model the specific type of thinking needed to comprehend and use a text from a particular discipline (mathematics, social studies, science, etc.). This site has a video of an elementary school educator teaching the Think Aloud strategy very explicitly to her students as she teaches them how to read an historical text – The First Amendment.

Think Alouds in Mathematics Instruction
This site has a video of an elementary school educator teaching the Think Aloud strategy very explicitly to her students as she teaches them how to read an historical text – The First Amendment.

Think alouds are a powerful way for teachers to model the way that skilled readers process and use information in a text. This video shows how a math teacher would employ the think aloud strategy to help students learn to read and use text about mathematics.

Building Reading Comprehension Through Think Alouds comprehension-through-139.html

This page provides a rubric easily applied to many academic disciplines.

Do I Really Have to Teach Reading?: Content Comprehension, Grades 6-12. Cris Tovani. (2004). Stenhouse.

Description: Tovani shows how teachers can expand on their content expertise to provide instruction students need to understand specific technical and narrative texts. The book includes examples of how teachers can model their reading process for students, ideas for supplementing and enhancing the use of required textbooks, detailed descriptions of specific strategies taught in context, stories from different high school classrooms to show how reading instruction varies according to content, and samples of student work, including both struggling readers and college-bound seniors.

Guiding Readers Through Text: Strategy Guides for New Times. Wood, Karen B. [et al.] (2008). Delaware: International Reading Association, Inc.

This text shows how to use strategy guides with their integrative and active approach to learning, to help students at all grade levels, in all content areas, achieve better comprehension.

The Game Plan: A Multi-Year Blueprint to Create a School Culture of Literacy and Data Analysis. Kennett, D., Rathke, K., & van Brunt, K. (2016). New York: Rowman and Littlefield.

This book has both (a) valuable reading and writing to learn strategies that are applicable in any content area and (b) a long-term plan to develop a school culture that supports disciplinary literacy.

PDPro Course: Supercharge Your Questions with QAR: MIDAS Course # 40062

This online Canvas course through Davis School District’s PDPro series is available for any teacher. You’ll learn that the Question-Answer-Relationship (QAR) is a powerful strategy to help you teach students how to both ask and answer text-dependent questions.

Literacy Strategies for Improving Mathematics Instruction. Kennedy, J. (2005). Alexandria, VA: ASCD

Chapter 2 is devoted to reading in the mathematics classroom: how teachers help students read and interpret mathematics text and discuss problem-solving strategies with them. It explains how mathematic reading instruction can improve student learning.

This Is Disciplinary Literacy. Lent, Releah Cossett. (2016). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Chapter 2, "Reading Within the Disciplines," discusses how reading looks in different content areas and provides strategies that work.

Subjects Matter: Every Teacher's Guide to Content-Area Reading. Daniels, Harvey and Zemelman, Steven. (2004). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

This text provides activities that help students understand and remember what they read in all content areas, as well as specific ways to use textbooks more effectively.

Reading for Understanding: How Reading Apprenticeship Improves Disciplinary Learning in Secondary and College Classrooms

This book lays out a model for reading apprenticeship, an effective method for expert readers of disciplinary texts to support students in developing similar expertise.

Disciplinary Literacy in Action: How to Create and Sustain a School-Wide Culture of Deep Reading, Writing, and Thinking

This resource is a framework that keeps teachers’ subjects at the center of daily classroom life while also helping them weave in relevant, discipline-specific reading skills. Based on years of successful implementation, this powerful PL cycle "drops in" seamlessly to any school setting, so teachers schoolwide take on innovative practices of reading, writing, thinking, and doing within their areas of expertise.

Reading and Writing in Science: Tools to Develop Disciplinary Literacy

The real strength of the book is the almost equal weighting given to the four strands of literacy; speaking, listening, reading and writing. This provides a useful prompt for the reader to go beyond the obvious when incorporating a greater literacy focus into their curriculum.

What is Disciplinary Literacy and Why Does it Matter?

This short article describes disciplinary literacy and makes the case for why it matters.

Disciplinary Literacy in Math

This literature review explores aspects of mathematical literacy.

Disciplinary Literacy in Science

This slide deck highlights the instructional benefits of teaching students how to read and write scientifically-oriented texts, and includes strategies for teachers to do so.

Disciplinary Literacy in Social Studies

This slide deck highlights the benefits of teaching students how to read and write the types of texts used by experts in the social studies fields, and includes strategies for teachers to do so.

Teaching Disciplinary Literacy to Adolescents

In this article, eminent researchers Tim and Cynthia Shanahan argue that "disciplinary literacy"--advanced literacy instruction embedded within content area classes--should be a focus of secondary school settings.

Utah Core Standards for Literacy

The Utah Core Standards for grades 6-12 include standards for literacy in every content area. They are on pages 69-81 of the linked document.

Samantha Bradley

Samantha Bradley
Kayden Burbank

Kayden Burbank
Jordan Cimenski

Jordan Cimenski
Matthew Cottrell

Matthew Cottrell
Carson Mund

Carson Mund
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