This course examines theoretical and practical issues related to teaching reading and literature at the secondary school level. Specifically, it asks how English teachers can design instruction that is responsive to students’ literacy needs and which supports their ability to read and comprehend challenging texts. In accordance with the Right to Read Act, which holds secondary teachers in the state of Arkansas accountable for demonstrating proficiency in knowledge and practices of scientific reading instruction, we’ll begin the semester by examining procedures and instruments for assessing reading proficiency and adopting appropriate intervention strategies. Next, taking Langer’s theory of “envisionment” as our starting point, we’ll ask how English teachers can design literature instruction that supports student’ reading complex texts. Throughout the semester, we’ll examine strategies for teaching close reading, learn how to build linked text sets, experiment with different instructional methods for teaching literature, and gain experience designing a unit plan that centers on a long-form work of fiction or non-fiction.

Course Objectives:

  • Teacher candidates will demonstrate awareness of foundational reading skills, the development of reading comprehension, and research-based methods of reading assessment and instruction (the science of reading).
  • Teacher candidates will explain how readers build envisionments when reading fiction or nonfiction.
  • Teacher candidates will experiment with instructional methods that are known to support comprehension of complex texts.
  • Teacher candidates will design and teach an original unit of study that focuses on a long-form work of fiction or nonfiction.
  • Teacher candidates will build a professional e-portfolio that showcases their work as English language arts teachers to prospective employers.

Essential Questions:

  • As English teachers, how do we assess student reading proficiency and enact responsive intervention strategies?
  • What are the constitutive parts of an envisionment, and how can English teachers use them to scaffold student comprehension of challenging texts?
  • How can English teachers design instruction that is responsive to adolescents’ needs and which addresses the Arkansas Standards for English language arts?

CIED 5213 Course Syllabus (pdf)