"Technique is what teachers use until the real teacher arrives. . . "

Parker Palmer, The Courage to Teach (1998) p.5



Instructor:John Brown, Ed.D.,
Wednesdays 4-6:30 Phone: 508-265-6382

Required textbook:

Ruddell, M. R. (2008). Teaching content reading & writing, (5th ed.). New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.
Suggested textbooks:
Rosenblatt, L.M. (1996). Literature as exploration, (5th ed.). Chicago, IL: Modern Language Association of America.
Tierney, R., & Readence, J. (2005). Reading strategies and practices; A compendium (6thed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
O’Beirne Milner, J and Floyd Morcock Milner, L. (2008). Bridging English. Upper
Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

You may email me at any time, and I will try to respond as quickly as I can. I usually check my email every day. It is recommended that you check your email every day, so that you don’t miss important course information. My uml email is john_brown@uml.edu. My personal email is jbrown4343@gmail.com.


This course presents the theoretical foundation and current best practices for content area reading, writing, and study skills. The focus is on motivation, cognition, memory, and verbal processing theories as they apply to methodology in grades K-12. Students learn to develop lessons and units that integrate reading and writing while covering concepts in the content areas.
Conceptual Framework:
Education for Transformation is the conceptual framework that unifies programs at the Graduate School of Education. The fundamental tenets of this framework are excellence, equity, collaboration and inquiry. In Teaching Reading in the Content Areas you will:
  • refine your knowledge, judgment and skills in your professional field by learning how to develop students' literacy in those fields
  • promote equity of educational opportunity for all learners by learning how to provide appropriate materials and instruction for students regardless of their reading and writing abilities
  • develop strategies for collaboration with others to support excellent education, and
  • use inquiry and research to construct learning environments responsive to the challenges you face.

Upon completion of this course, a successful student should be able to:

1. understand the philosophical and cognitive bases of literacy instruction and assessment;
2. select and design appropriate materials and settings for content area literacy assessment and instruction, including vocabulary, comprehension, study skills, writing, and research skills;
3. use authentic methods to assess a student's literacy development and use of effective reading and writing strategies in content area materials and implement effective instruction;
4. be familiar with varied formats for providing remedial and multicultural instruction in schools;
5. identify varied approaches in curriculum development and integration for the reading/writing curriculum in the content areas;
6. see voluntary use of reading and writing and comprehension of written text as the ultimate goals of all literacy instruction.

On-line Discussion Board/Class Participation:
QuickTopic free message boards

Discuss Teaching Reading in the Content Areas

QuickTopic free message boards

Discuss TRICA 2

QuickTopic free message boards

Discuss TRICA 3

QuickTopic free message boards

Discuss TRICA 4

QuickTopic free message boards

Discuss TRICA 5

QuickTopic free message boards
Discuss TRICA 6

QuickTopic free message boards
Discuss TRICA 7

QuickTopic free message boards
Discuss TRICA 8

QuickTopic free message boards
Discuss TRICA 9

Contribution to the discussion board and to "in class" discussion is worth 20% of your grade. The discussion board and class discussion are the places for asking and answering questions. I will be checking the discussion board regularly. Other students will benefit from your questions, and the discussions that follow. Please respond to your classmate’s questions. The most informative answers will frequently come from students.

Throughout the course I will post a variety of topics to be addressed in the
discussion board that come from our text, Teaching Content Reading and Writing by Martha Rapp Ruddell (2008) and from other assigned readings. Questions will be posted by Friday morning, and you will have until the following Tuesday to respond (unless otherwise noted). There will be a total of nine discussion board topics that I will initiate. You must respond to all of them to receive full credit. Your response must be thoughtful, clear and must be tied to the text or other assigned readings. You must also respond to one response to receive full credit for each week’s discussion. You may also respond to the response of a response. That counts too.

There will be a minimum of 18 posts to the board total for each student.

Let me stress that responses or questions on the discussion board should be of high quality, reflecting a level of sophistication commensurate with graduate work. Quality is far more important than quantity. Two relevant, thoughtful and original comments are far better than five ambiguous, knee jerk reactions. Real life examples are always valued. Typos, misspelled words and other examples of poor writing quality will reduce your grade.

This will count as 20% of your grade.

Course Content and Schedule (Subject to Change)
Start Here
Welcome, introductions, course overview, assignments
How to use googledocs.
Using the discussion board.
Read Ruddell Chap. 1
Mini-lesson:Webb,Amanda & Duchane, Alexander
Ruddell 2
Listen to This
Russo,Aimee Lynne & Christopher Dussourd
Lesson Plan:Dorie, Amanda, Eric
Ruddell 3
Procacini,Michael Ryan & Halberle, Albert
Lesson Plan: Dennis, Archana, Bopha
Ruddell 4
Piercy,Daniel Earle & Iverson, Dave
Lesson Plan:Mike, Alex, Dave, Eric
Ruddell 5
Massa,Phillip Arthur & Jablonski, Matthew
Article Review Due
Send via googledocs to jbrown4343@gmail.com
Ruddell 6
Maillet,Eric & Jaggers, Mary
Lesson Plan: Albert, Phil, Aimee
Ruddell 7
Larocque,Dennis Jules
& Najolia, Dorothy
Lesson Plan: Angus, MG, Dan
Ruddell 8
MacDonald,Angus P
& Gupta,Archana
Lesson Plan: Jessica, Matt, Chris
Ruddell 10
Unit draft: Amanda & Dennis
Diebold,Jessica & Boutselis,Bopha
Content Area Unit Presentations
John, Mike, Phil, Dan, Alex, Matt
Thanksgiving Break
Content Area Unit Presentations
Dennis, Angus, Aimee, Eric, Dorie, Jess, MG
Content Area Unit Presentations
Bopha, Archana, Dave, Chris, Amanda

Each student will present a mini-lesson (20-30 minutes) covering the important points chapter from the Ruddell text each week. It will involve six things:
  1. You need to create a lesson plan, turned in via googledocs on the day of your presentation.
  2. You need to spend (some of) the 20-30 minutes using direct instruction.
  3. You need to spend (some of) that time using a student-centered instructional strategy from pgs. x and xi in the Ruddell text.
  4. You need to use technology for your presentation. (ie Powerpoint, http://prezi.com/ or youtube.)
  5. You need to assess whether your students (our class) learned what you set out for them to learn in your objective (stated in your lesson plan). (see chapter 9 for info on assessment strategies)
  6. You need to write a self-assessment on how the mini-lesson went. (1page, turned in via googledocs within 48 hours)

This assignment will count as 20% of your grade.

Choose a professional book, professional article, or some teaching material to review for an audience of your peers (teachers of reading and writing in the content areas). The book or article that you read for this review may be a text you want to use with your students, a resource that you will draw from for your teaching, a work about teaching methods or a book about teaching theory. Limit your review to 1500 words. It does not have to be that long though.

•Describe the material, technique or theory being reviewed in sufficient detail that a person unfamiliar with it may form opinions of both the material and your recommendations.
•Be sure to give publication data so that we may locate the material.
•Describe the author’s intention for writing the article or book.
•Recommend or reject the material, method, pedagogy, or philosophical framework. •Clearly state the philosophical, theoretical and practical orientations of the text. •And explain how you might use this published work (whether you agreed or not) to influence your teaching.
When writing your review using the first person is acceptable; however, you must use your best academic prose, giving examples and reflecting on your own experience and core beliefs. Proper grammar and style are essential. Use APA format. Late work is unacceptable.
• Speak to the class about your book, article or material for 5-10 minutes.

This assignment will count as 20% of your grade.

Here is a list of books from which you may choose:

General Education
Falling Into Theory: Conflicting Views on Reading Literature, David H. Richter
Horace’s Compromise: The Dilemma of The American High School, Theodore Sizer
Horace’s School: Redesigning The American High School, Theodore Sizer
Opening Texts: Using Writing to Teach Literature, Kathleen Dudden Andrasick
Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire
Sometimes A Shining Moment: The Foxfire Experience, Eliot Wigginton
The Case for Constructivist Classrooms, Jacqueline Grenon Brooks and Martin G.Brooks
The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life, Parker J. Palmer
The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, Don Miguel Ruiz
The Unschooled Mind: How Children Think & How Schools Should Teach, Howard Gardner
The End of Homework, Etta Kralovec and John Buell
Understanding By Design, Grant Wiggins and Jay McTigh
Teaching Reading Comprehension Processes, Judith Westphal Irwin

English Language Arts
Portfolio Portraits, Donald Graves and Bonnie Sunstein

Writing With Power, Peter Elbow
The curious incident of the dog in the night-time, Mark Haddon
The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls
Early Autumn, Robert Parker
The Crucible, Arthur Miller
The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
Holes, Louis Sachar
Hamlet, William Shakespeare
The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini
On Writing, Stephen King

A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn
Lies My Teacher Told Me, James Loewen


The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives, Leonard Mlodinow

You are not limited to these books. If you have a book or article that you would like to review that is not on this list, email me. And I will let you know if I approve.

DUE: 10/12
IRA Standards addressed: 16.1, 12.4, 12.1

Lesson Plan:
Each week (more or less) one person or pairs of people will present a lesson in content area reading and/or writing, based on models in Ruddell (2008), Tierney and Readence (2005), Roseblatt (1996) or other worthy sources found in the professional literature. The purpose is to promote understanding, vocabulary, reading and writing strategies, and/or study skills in challenging informational text in your content area. You must connect your lesson to a state standard. See the website for a rubric.

This assignment will count as 20% of your grade.
DUE: Students will sign up for individual weeks.

Content Area Unit:
Each person will create a content area reading and writing unit of study intended to cover four weeks or more. Choose a content area or set of integrated areas and a grade level. Following the template at the end of the syllabus and the rubric, construct whole class, small group, and individual activities.
• Appropriate guiding questions require the use of critical thinking skills.
• Appropriate activities are based on sound knowledge of reading processes and include scaffolding intended to facilitate the integration of reading processes while making meaning and are interdisciplinary in nature.
• Develop a list of resources for both students and teachers that will allow students of all reading abilities to succeed.
Resources should include reading material at appropriate independent and instructional reading levels for all students in the class and acquaint students with and promote respect for diverse cultures.
Make sure that the lessons and activities are tied to specific state frameworks and that evaluation procedures are specific, appropriate, and clearly explained in advance.
• Include at least two complete lesson plans in the unit (one may be the lesson you presented to the class).
• Be sure to include plans for paraprofessionals and the use and critique of technology.
Also make sure that you have integrated the arts and humanities into content area study. These include literature, the graphic arts, and music. Throughout the unit include references to appropriate theory and research to support your choice of materials and activities
At the end of the unit supply a reference list.
Make sure that the list includes interdisciplinary materials.
During the last weeks, you will present your unit to teammates. As always, ensure that you demonstrate appropriate use of the English language.

Unit Template
  1. Rationale and Guiding question(s) requiring critical thinking of students, awareness of diverse cultures, spanning more than one discipline, and including the fine arts and humanities.
2. Desired Student Outcomes including content area knowledge and skills, as well as development of reading processes and critical thinking at all ability levels, knowledge of diverse cultures, and connections to interdisciplinary studies, the humanities, and the fine arts.
3. Possible Whole-Class Activities
4. Possible Small-Group Activities
5. Possible Individual Activities
6. Resources including appropriate materials from the humanities and fine arts, varied cultures, interdisciplinary study, and varied ability levels
7. Organization (Including two lesson plans)
8. Evaluation

Proper grammar and style are essential. Late work is unacceptable.

This assignment will count as 20% of your grade.

Due: 11/16-12/7
IRA Standards addressed: 5.6, 5.7, 6.3, 6.6, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5, 7.6, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4, 9.1, 9.2, 12.2, 15.1


I will base grades on the following criteria:
Percentages of grade—
Mini-lesson 20%
Review 20%
Discussion Board/Participation 20%
Lesson Plan 20%
Content area unit 20%

Final letter grades will be assigned based on the following scores:
A+ 100-98
A 97-94
A- 93-90
B+ 89-87
B 86-83
B- 82-80
C+ 79-76
C 75-70
F 69- 0

Course policies

This is a professional training course. You are now professional readers and writers (these are activities from which you will derive your livelihoods). You will submit professionally prepared manuscripts, typed, double-spaced, edited in accordance with the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition.
Work must be completed on time. Extensions are available when requested at least 24-hours in advance. Absence from class will not automatically result in an extension.



IRA Competencies

Upon completion of this course, a successful student will have evidenced comprehensive understanding of the following competencies:
1.1 Recognize that reading should be taught as a process;
1.2,3.2 Respect cultural, linguistic, and ethnic diversity in the teaching process;
1.3 Understand the importance of literacy for personal and social growth;
1.5.1 Understand reading as the process of constructing meaning through the interaction of the reader’s existing knowledge, the information suggested by the written language, and the context of the reading situation;
1.6 Understand the major theories of language development, cognition, and learning;
2.1 Understand that written language is a symbol system;
2.4.1 Understand the phonemic, morphemic, semantic, syntactic, and pragmatic systems of language and their relation to the reading and writing process;
2.4.2 Understand the interrelation of reading and writing, and listening and speaking;
2.4.3 Understand that students need opportunities to integrate their use of literacy through reading, writing, listening, speaking, viewing, and representing visually;
2.8 Understand the role of metacognition in reading and writing, and listening and speaking;
2.9 Understand how contextual factors in the school can influence student learning and reading;
2.14 Understand that goals, instruction, and assessment should be aligned;
3.1 Understand how differences among learners influence their literacy development;
3.4.1 Recognize the importance of creating programs to address the strengths and needs of individual learners;
5.6 Promote the integration of language arts in all content areas;
5.7 Use instructional and information technologies to support literacy learning;
6.3 Teach students to sue context to identify and define unfamiliar words;
6.6 Employ effective techniques and strategies for the ongoing development of independent vocabulary acquisition;
7.1 Provide direct instruction and model when and how to use multiple comprehension strategies, including retelling;
7.2 Model questioning strategies;
7.3 Teach students to connect prior knowledge with new information;
7.4 Teach students strategies for monitoring their own comprehension;
7.5 Ensure that all students can use various aspects of text to gain comprehension, including conventions of written English, text structure and genres, figurative language, and intertextual links;
7.6 Ensure that students gain understanding of the meaning and importance of the conventions of standard written English;
8.1 Provide opportunities to locate and use a variety of print, non-print, and electronic reference sources;
8.2 Teach students to vary reading rate according to the purpose(s) and difficulty of the material;
8.3 Teach students effective time management strategies;
8.4 Teach students to organize and remember information;
8.5 Teach test-taking strategies;
9.1 Teach students planning strategies most appropriate for particular kinds of writing;
9.2 Teach students to draft, revise, and edit their writing;
12.1 Initiate and participate in ongoing curriculum development and evaluation;
12.2 Adapt instruction to meet the needs of different learners to accomplish different purposes;
12.4 Select and evaluate instructional materials for literacy, including those that are technology-based;
15.1 plan lessons for paraprofessionals; and
16.1 Pursue knowledge if literacy by reading professional journals and publications.

Videos from Annenberg

Minds of Our Own:
Can We Believe Our Eyes

Lessons From Thin Air

Under Construction

Here are my ideas about the Unit Plan presentations:
1. Each of you will present your unit for 15 minutes, using powerpoint.
2. Each of you will score yourselves, using the instrument above.
3. This will happen over four weeks 11/9, 11/16. 11/30 & 12/7.