Daily Instruction: Secondary Literacy Framework for Teaching and Learning

The secondary literacy classroom teacher faces the significant challenge of working within the constrictions of a limited timeframe each class period. With most class periods spanning only 50-60 minutes, teachers continue to plan for a series of daily lessons that are crafted using the balanced literacy approach model to scaffold student understanding and mastery of the standards. The elements of an effective lesson plan include modeling, shared and guided practice, collaborative learning, and independent tasks (Fisher, Douglas & Frey, Nancy, (2008). Teachers differentiate instruction through whole group, small group, or individual instruction based on the needs of the students in the class.

The focus at the secondary level is on building a culture of literacy within and across the content areas. Students are supported in all disciplines as they engage in reading, writing, speaking, and listening tasks requiring higher-level thinking. These tasks reflect the diverse texts encountered in the content areas where there is a greater emphasis on non-fiction or informational reading and writing. Instruction focuses on addressing the needs of adolescent learners and assisting them in acquiring the processing strategies required to independently access increasingly complex texts. Lessons should lead to culminating performance tasks and project-based learning activities that allow students to apply strategies learned and demonstrate evidence of mastering the literacy standards.

“Adolescents entering the adult world in the 21st century will read and write more than at any other time in human history. They will need advanced levels of literacy to perform their jobs, run their households, act as citizens, and conduct their personal lives.“

-- Richard Vaca, author of Content Area Reading: Literacy and
Learning Across the Curriculum

The following graphic depicts a model framework for instruction in the secondary literacy classroom. It is by no means the only method for instructional delivery, but rather serves to represent the structure of a lesson and the tools that teachers may use to ensure that students understand the content and master the skills as set forth by the Language Arts Florida Standards. Formative assessment is utilized throughout the framework as a means to guide the instruction and summative assessments are used to determine mastery of the standards. It should be noted that this framework is appropriate for use in standard secondary classrooms (50-60 minute periods) as well as in block-scheduled classrooms.