My Profile as a Disciplinary Reader

By Brianna Ingram

Disciplinary Literacy: Defined

Disciplinary Literacy is the more advanced literacy instruction used within content areas such as mathematics, science, and social studies. Students need to be able to read, write, speak, and think using a wide array of texts that are found in all subject areas, or disciplines (Buehl, 2011).

Shanahan and Shanahan (2008) created a model where literacy instruction progresses through three phases. Basic literacy builds the foundation for reading and writing, where students learn to decode and recognized high-frequency words. Intermediate literacy focuses on improvement of fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. Finally, disciplinary literacy, which is the most neglected, is the learning of skills specialized to specific content areas.

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The difference between covering a subject, and teaching a discipline is that the later incorporates how scientists, mathematicians, historians, and others read, write, and think (Buehl, 2011). The figure below show how students are expected to grow in each of the discipline areas represented by the arrows. Realistically, the arrows would be uneven for all of us, as some people are more advanced in different disciplines. This is part of what makes up a readers profile as a disciplinary reader. As teachers, the goal is to support students so that they can read and communicate effectively across all disciplines, regardless of personal preferences and interests (Buehl, 2011).
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My Profile as a Disciplinary Reader

The following chart shows which disciplines I feel I am most confident and accomplished, and which ones I am least. I shaded in the boxes to represent how uneven my disciplinary arrows would be. I feel most confident in Literary Fiction, Social Studies, and Humanities. While I enjoy those subjects, I tend to avoid Physical Science and Mathematics.
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My Reader Profile

  • WHAT: I love to read fiction novels, magazines, and news/entertainment articles on websites like Buzzfeed. I do a lot of reading related to my education and field of study. This includes textbooks, scholarly articles, and even blogs written by other teachers. I also read a good deal of articles and blogs related to health and fitness.
  • WHERE & WHEN: I do most of my reading from my bed, usually before I go to sleep or when I first wake up. I also read throughout the day for class and homework. I rarely have time to read books for pleasure during the school year, but I try to save them for summer or breaks.
  • HOW: I read articles and blogs on my phone or iPad. I absolutely cannot read scholarly articles or text for class on a digital device. I am someone who has to print everything out and highlight EVERYTHING. I'm a fast reader, but sometimes catch myself drifting off, so i have to go back and re-read.
  • WHY: I read for entertainment, to keep up with the world, and to unwind after a long day. Majority of my reading is for school work. I also read to keep up with new ideas and information that relate to my teaching career.

Future Teacher

I tend to avoid Mathematical and Scientific texts because I was never really taught how to effectively read and write in these disciplines. I will use my weaknesses in my reader profile as encouragement to be better prepared to teach my students across all disciplines. As my reader profile states, I am always reading up on the latest information about best teaching practices. Therefore, I will do my best to stay as informed and innovative as possible when planning instruction. Also, because of all of the reading I have done for courses in my reading concentration, I am aware of the diverse literacy needs of students. Every child is different, and have their own reader profile. I will be sure to find out how each of my students reads best, and try to meet all of their needs.


As a teacher, I will model for my students what it looks likes when an expert reads, writes, and thinks in each discipline. Modeling in a way where the teacher thinks out loud allows students to observe the unobservable process of thinking. I will also scaffold students by providing strategies to help them make sense of disciplinary texts. As Buehl (2011) states, "Students are given reading and writing assignments, not reading and writing instruction." Because of my experiences in school, I will be sure to instruct students how to read and write, by modeling and scaffolding them along the way.

Sources

Buehl, Doug (2011). Mentoring students in disciplinary literacy. Developing readers in the academic disciplines (chapter 1).


Shanahan, T. & Shanahan C. (2008). Teaching disciplinary literacy to adolecents: Rethinking content area literacy. Harvard Education Review, 78(1), 40-58.

About Me

Hi, my name is Brianna Ingram. I'm a Senior at East Carolina University. I'm majoring in Elementary Education, with a concentration in reading. I hope to teach younger grades where I can inspire my students to fall in love with reading from the start, like I did!