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Reading Department addresses adolescent literacy
The concept of implementing “reading across the curriculum”
in America’s schools is gaining attention as more emphasis
is being placed on adolescent literacy issues. One Texas Woman’s
University reading professor says the movement goes beyond
teaching students “how” to read to gaining a better
understanding of “what” they’re reading.
haven’t been doing a good job of preparing students
to adequately read more complex texts as they move through
the grades,” said Dr. Lettie Albright, assistant professor
of reading at TWU. “Students can’t learn by being
fed information. When they begin their career, they often
don’t know how to apply what they’ve read. If
they’re accustomed to just spitting out information,
they can’t do it.”
A recent report
by ACT, an independent organization that provides college
assessment exams, among other services, revealed that many
high school students graduate without the reading skills they’ll
need to succeed in college and in workforce training programs.
The report, titled,
“Reading Between the Lines,” found that only about
half of the nearly 1.2 million 2005 high school graduates
who took the ACT college admissions and placement exam met
the College Readiness Benchmark for Reading. The full report
may be found at www.act.org/path/policy/pdf/reading_report.pdf.
The TWU Department
of Reading addresses the issue of adolescent literacy through
a partnership with the Arlington Independent School District.
The program, which uses Title 1 funds to help teachers earn
master’s degrees in reading, draws not only reading
teachers, but math, special education and career exploration
teachers as well, Dr. Albright said.
a large number of middle and high school teachers from Arlington,”
she said. “These teachers from urban Title 1 schools
have many students with different backgrounds. We’re
exploring ways to tap into students’ interests and strengths.”
Though many students
say they’re not interested in reading, Dr. Albright
believes they’re just reading different things. “Some
kids say they aren’t readers, but they’ll read
on a computer for hours. They’ll read video game manuals,
magazines and other materials,” she said.
Dr. Albright believes
students need to be exposed to different, multicultural texts.
“Texts used in the classroom often are traditional Western,
white male texts that ignore diversity. This turns some of
the students off reading because they don’t see themselves.”
Dr. Albright said
one of the main focal points of adolescent literacy is teaching
students to understand what they read — to question
the text and question what the author is trying to say.
is more than understanding words,” she said. “It’s
creating meaning out of the words.”
The Texas Woman’s
University Department of Reading will present its Summer Institute,
titled “Literacy Across the Curriculum, K-12,”
from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 29-30. The institute will be
held in the Multipurpose Classroom and Laboratory (MCL) Building,
located on Bell Avenue on the university’s Denton campus.
Registration is $240. To register, or for more information,
contact the TWU Office of Lifelong Learning at (800) 250-7808
or (940) 898-3408, or visit www.twu.edu/lifelong.
The keynote speaker
for the institute is Dr. David W. Moore, professor of reading
and language arts and secondary education at Arizona State
University West. He has written or co-authored several books,
including “Developing Readers and Writers in the Content
Tel: (940) 898-3456