Literacy and Learning Strategies

MCLP LogoThe Maine Content Literacy Project (MCLP), a six-year federally-funded project at UMF led by Margaret Arbuckle, developed literacy-rich lessons and units in ELA, math, science, and social studies for grades 3-12.

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Thinkquiry Toolkit 1 Literacy Strategies Aligned with Learner Outcomes

Each Thinkquiry Toolkit 1 strategy is aligned with specific learning outcomes.

Learning OutcomesStrategies
AnalyzingCoding/Comprehension Monitoring
Frayer Model
Reciprocal Teaching
Role-Audience-Format-Topic (RAFT)
Semantic Feature Analysis
Think-Pair-Share
Two-Column Note Taking
Making ConnectionsAnticipation/Reaction Guide
Chapter Preview/Tour
Coding/Comprehension Monitoring
Frayer Model
Give one, Get One, Move On
Inference Notes Wheel
Interactive Word Wall
Role-Audience-Format-Topic (RAFT)
Save the Last Word for Me
Semantic Feature Analysis
Think-Pair-Share
Two-Column Note Taking
Making InferencesChapter Preview/Tour
Coding/Comprehension Monitoring
Inference Notes Wheel
Think-Pair-Share
Monitoring ComprehensionAnticipation/Reaction Guide
Coding/Comprehension Monitoring
Concept Map
Frayer Model
Give one, Get One, Move On
Group Summarizing
Knowledge Rating Guide
Reciprocal Teaching
Save the Last Word for Me
Semantic Feature Analysis
Sum It Up
Think-Pair-Share
Triple-Entry Vocabulary Journal
Two-Column Note Taking
PredictingChapter Preview/Tour
Reciprocal Teaching
QuestioningAnticipation/Reaction Guide
Coding/Comprehension Monitoring
Reciprocal Teaching
Two-Column Note Taking
SummarizingFrayer Model
Group Summarizing
Reciprocal Teaching
Role-Audience-Format-Topic (RAFT)
Sum It Up
Two-Column Note Taking
SynthesizingConcept Map
Frayer Model
Give one, Get One, Move On
Group Summarizing
Role-Audience-Format-Topic (RAFT)
Save the Last Word for Me
Semantic Feature Analysis
Sum It Up
Triple-Entry Vocabulary Journal
Text StructureAnticipation/Reaction Guide
Chapter Preview/Tour
Group Summarizing
Two-Column Note Taking
VisualizingConcept Map
Triple-Entry Vocabulary Journal
Vocabulary DevelopmentCoding/Comprehension Monitoring
Frayer Model
Interactive Word Wall
Knowledge Rating Guide
Reciprocal Teaching
Semantic Feature Analysis
Triple-Entry Vocabulary Journal

Thinkquiry Toolkit 1 Literacy Strategies

Templates of the strategies listed below, from Thinkquiry Toolkit 1: Strategies to Improve Reading Comprehension and Vocabulary Development Across the Content Areas (Meltzer & Jackson), can be downloaded from the Thinkquiry Toolkit site. Sign in or create a login account using the Toolkit’s ISBN number. These strategies and examples are especially helpful for teachers of grades 3-12 working to incorporate the Common Core Literacy Anchor Standards in social studies, science, ELA, and math.

StrategyLesson ExamplesUnit ExamplesVideos (see the strategy in action)
Anticipation/Reaction GuideGrade 6 Social Studies – Citizenship
Chapter PreviewGrade 8 Science – The Cell
Coding/Comprehension MonitoringElementary Social Studies
Lesson Scenario (pdf)
Grades 9-12 Biology – Structures of the Eukaryotic Cell Grades 9-12 Biology – Structures of the Eukaryotic Cell - video
Concept MapGrade 4 ELA -- Character Development for Deeper Comprehension Grade 4 ELA – Character Development for Deeper Comprehension - video
Frayer ModelGrade 4 Science – Erosion and Weathering

Grade 6 Social Studies – Citizenship

Grade 8 Geometry – Two and Three Dimensional Shapes

Grade 8 Combined Language Arts Social Studies – The Holocaust: Analyzing Nazi Propaganda
Grade 8 Combined Language Arts Social Studies – The Holocaust: Analyzing Nazi Propaganda - video
Give One, Get One, Move OnGrade 4 Mathematics – Fractions

Grade 8 Geometry – Two and Three Dimensional Shapes
Group SummarizingMiddle School Science
Lesson Scenario (pdf)
Grade 4 Mathematics – Fractions
Inference Notes Wheel Grade 11 Social Studies – 1920s: A Clash of Values Grade 11 Social Studies – 1920s: A Clash of Values - video
Interactive Word WallGrade 5 Social Studies
Lesson Planning Example – Comparing the Jamestown and Plymouth Colonies (pdf)

Middle School Math
Lesson Scenario - PDF
Grade 4 Science – Erosion and Weathering

Grade 8 Geometry – Two and Three Dimensional Shapes

Grade 8 Science – The Cell
Knowledge Rating GuideGrade 8 Science
Ocean Acidification (PDF)
Grade 4 Mathematics – Fractions

Grade 8 Science – The Cell

Grade 10 Algebra II – Solving Quadratic Equations
Grade 4 Mathematics – Fractions - video

Grade 8 Science – The Cell - video
Reciprocal TeachingGrades 9-12 ELA – Short Story

Grade 4 Mathematics – Fractions
Grades 9-12 ELA – Short Story - video
Role-Audience-Format-Topic (RAFT)High School Social Studies
Lesson Scenario (pdf)
Grade 8 Geometry -- Two and Three Dimensional Shapes
Save the Last Word for MeMiddle School ELA
Lesson Scenario (pdf)
Grade 4 Mathematics – Fractions

Grade 8 Social Studies – The Civil Rights in America
Grade 4 Mathematics – Fractions - video

Grade 8 Social Studies – The Civil Rights in America - video
Semantic Feature AnalysisGrade 8 Social Studies – The Civil Rights in America

Grade 8 Geometry – Two and Three Dimensional Shapes
Grade 8 Social Studies – The Civil Rights in America - video
Sum It UpElementary Math
Lesson Scenario (pdf)
Grade 4 Science – Erosion and WeatheringGrade 4 Science – Erosion and Weathering - video
Think-Pair-ShareGrade 4 Mathematics – Fractions

Grade 8 Geometry – Two and Three Dimensional Shapes
Triple-Entry Vocabulary Journal High School Science
Lesson Scenario (pdf)
Grade 4 Mathematics – Fractions

Grade 6 Social Studies – Citizenship

Grade 8 Geometry – Two and Three Dimensional Shapes

Grade 10 Algebra II – Solving Quadratic Equations
Grade 4 Mathematics – Fractions - video

Grade 8 Geometry – Two and Three Dimensional Shapes - video

Grade 10 Algebra II – Solving Quadratic Equations - video
Two-Column Note TakingGrade 5 Social Studies
Lesson Planning Example – Comparing the Jamestown and Plymouth Colonies (pdf)
Grade 8 Geometry – Two and Three Dimensional Shapes

Grade 8 Combined Language Arts Social Studies – The Holocaust: Analyzing Nazi Propaganda

Grade 8 Social Studies – The Civil Rights in America

Grade 10 Algebra II – Solving Quadratic Equations

Grade 11 Social Studies – 1920s: A Clash of Values
Grade 8 Social Studies –The Civil Rights in America - video

Grade 8 Combined Language Arts Social Studies –The Holocaust: Analyzing Nazi Propaganda - video

Grade 8 Geometry – Two and Three Dimensional Shapes - video

Grade 10 Algebra II – Solving Quadratic Equations - video

Grade 11 Social Studies – 1920s: A Clash of Values - video

Other Thinkquiry Toolkit 1 Strategy Templates

Use this link to download these additional Thinkquiry Toolkit 1 strategy templates from the Thinkquiry Toolkit I site.

  • Discussion Web
  • Five-Step Problem Solving
  • Jigsaw
  • KWL Plus
  • Partner/Small Group Vocabulary Preview
  • Picture This!
  • Proposition/Support Outline
  • Question the Author (QtA)
  • Word Analysis
  • Word Sort

Thinkquiry Toolkit 1 Strategy Alignment Matrix — Matching strategies to learner needs (pdf)

More Literacy and Learning Strategies

StrategyStrategy DescriptionResources and Tools
Analytic Graphic Organizer Graphic organizers are templates educators use to define, explain or examine text and/or content.Middle School Math Lesson Scenario (pdf)
Question-Answer Relationship (QAR)The QAR is a strategy used to consider four types of questions normally used after the reading of a text, including: Right There Questions, Think and Search Questions, Author and You, On My Own.Elementary Science Lesson Scenario (pdf)
Mentor TextMentor Texts are used to give students strong examples that students can learn from in any content area; they were first used to show students good examples of writing. Using Mentor Texts to Improve Student Writing (PDF) – Includes student coding and note taking templates
Collaborative Routines - WritingCollaborative routines are established in the classroom to support a higher degree of comprehension from a text.Evaluating the Use of Four Collaborative Routines in Writing: Save the Last Word; Give one, Get One; Jigsaw; and Group Summarizing. (pdf)

Close Analytic Reading Strategies

Close Analytic Reading Strategies:  Close reading involves reading a text more than once for multiple purposes.  Students are expected to read in order to uncover layers of meaning that lead to deeper comprehension; therefore, the text is thoroughly examined by reading and rereading. When using the following strategies students can be prompted to read at deeper levels. Virtually every standard is activated during the course of every close analytic reading exemplar through the use of text dependent questions and having text-based discussions.

StrategyStrategy DescriptionResources/Tools
Text-based DiscussionText-based discussion is used to bring students back to the text to focus on evidence from the text to make points in the conversation. The purpose is to gain deep understanding of the text.1. Nancy Frey and Douglas Fisher describe key aspects of text based discussions. Nancy Frey is also featured in a demonstration video. Watch the Nancy Frey demonstration video.
2. Keeping Students Focused during Text Discussions - HS video.
3. Small Group Text-Based Discussion Protocol (word) or (PDF).
4. Socratic Circles Discussion Protocol (word) or (PDF)
5. Grappling with Complex Informational Text - Video of a fifth grade classroom using close reading strategies.
6. Video of Grade 5 teacher using Text Talk Time
Text Dependent QuestionsText-dependent questions need to delve into a text to guide students in the extraction of key ideas. TBQ are open-ended and often have multiple answers that are based on the evidence from the text.1. Guide to Creating Great Text-Dependent Questions (PPT) or (PDF)
2. Grappling with Complex Informational Text – Video of a fifth grade classroom using close reading strategies.

Finding Evidence in Informational TextStudents must have explicit instruction and practice to find evidence in informational text which involves close reading and learning how to code text as they reread the information. Lessons can include learning the academic words, using diagrams and graphic aids, determining the main idea and summarizing the content of the text.High School ELA Lesson Video – In this lesson students determine the purpose and the structure of argument in Frederick Douglass’s ‘I hear the mournful wail of millions’. There is an emphasis on analyzing the language choices and citing evidence from the text. To access this video, log in or create an account and search for Grade 10 ELA Informational Text.

Text-based answers – writing from sourcesWriting from sources is one of the six instructional shifts in the ELA Common Core Standards. It includes an analytical writing tied to literary and information texts, response to texts and writing about texts. Students can be expected to analyze the text, make valid claims, and support the claims with evidence from the texts.Grappling with Complex Informational Text – Video of a fifth grade classroom using close reading strategies.
Text-based Argument WritingArgument writing relies on logic to convince the audience of the merit and reasonableness of the claims and proofs offered gathered from the texts analyzed.Text-based Argument Writing Made Explicit (pdf) – Includes actual texts and writing templates.

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