Disciplinary Literacies and Learning to Read for Understanding: A Conceptual Framework for Disciplinary Literacy

Project READI

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations


This article presents a framework and methodology for designing learning goals targeted at what students need to know and be able to do in order to attain high levels of literacy and achievement in three disciplinary areas—literature, science, and history. For each discipline, a team of researchers, teachers, and specialists in that discipline engaged in conceptual meta-analysis of theory and research on the reading, reasoning, and inquiry practices exhibited by disciplinary experts as contrasted with novices. Each team identified discipline-specific clusters of types of knowledge. Across teams, the clusters for each discipline were grouped into 5 higher order categories of core constructs: (a) epistemology; (b) inquiry practices/strategies of reasoning; (c) overarching concepts, themes, and frameworks; (d) forms of information representation/types of texts; and (e) discourse and language structures. The substance of the clusters gave rise to discipline-specific goals and tasks involved in reading across multiple texts, as well as reading, reasoning, and argumentation practices tailored to discipline-specific criteria for evidence-based knowledge claims. The framework of constructs and processes provides a valuable tool for researchers and classroom teachers' (re)conceptualizations of literacy and argumentation learning goals in their specific disciplines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-246
Number of pages28
JournalEducational Psychologist
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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