In this part of the session, you will explore what it means to be literate in Social Studies. You will be asked to reflect over the
learning experiences from day one and identify key literacy principles and components of quality Social Studies instruction.
Lastly, you will reflect on the critical areas of disciplinary literacy in social studies that may need to be included in your action plan.

The learning objectives associated with this part of the session are:
2. What it means to be literate in Social Studies.
3. How to help my students become more competent in disciplinary literacy skills
7. How to apply Standard III of the North Carolina Professional Teaching Standards in the Social Studies classroom.

Aligned North Carolina Professional Teaching Standards
Standard I - Teachers demonstrate leadership.
Standard II - Teachers establish a respectful learning environment for diverse population of students.
Standard III - Teachers know the content they teach.

Learning Targets
After this part of the session, participants will be able to do the following statements:
  • I can identify my district's level of readiness to implement the standards.
  • I can provide suggestions or strategies for my district or school to implement the standards.
  • I can describe the definition of social studies and identify the components of Social Studies literacy.

Disciplinary literacy

Disciplinary literacy is anchored in the specifics of individual disciplines. Each discipline has its own unique knowledge core and its own ways of inquiring, investigating, reasoning, representing, and forming driving questions in a particular field.

The following chart provides a comparison of content area literacy and disciplinary literacy. Disciplinary literacy focuses on the specialized skills used in different fields of study and how experts approach reading and writing within their disciplines.

How do the experts in the various fields of social studies read and write within their disciplines? In other words, what do economists or historians consider when they read a text? What does literacy look like through the lens of a political or behavioral scientist? How do geographers write a text to be understood by others in their field?

Comparison of Content-area Literacy to Disciplinary Literacy (Shanahan, 2010)

Content-Area Literacy
Disciplinary Literacy
Reading experts (1920s)
Wide range of experts
Generalized skills
Specialized, discipline specific skills
Use of reading and writing to learning information
Use of literacy skills to make meaning within a discipline
Geared toward remedial students
Geared toward all students
Often encourages use of literary texts
Focuses only on discipline-specific texts
Graphics are ignored or taught generally
Graphics are specific to the discipline

Here is a draft document that provides some background on disciplinary thinking that you may find useful as you consider the transition away from content-area thinking!

The videos linked below may also provide some help in understanding conceptions of disciplinary literacy.

Behavioral Science

After completing your work and reflecting on this page, return to the previous page and answer the question that follows your welcome back!

Additional Resources

Digital tools used during the course of this presentation have been helpful to some educators across the state. However, due to the rapidly changing digital environment, NCDPI does not represent nor endorse that these tools are the exclusive digital tools for the purposes outlined during the presentation.

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