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Lesson Plan

Reading Through Different Lenses: Making Text Connections Across the Curriculum

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)

Grades 6 – 8
Estimated Time One 50-minute session
Lesson Author

L. Choi

McLean, Virginia


International Literacy Association



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



Linguistic style can vary from one discipline to another, and these differences can be barriers to students' understanding. In this lesson, students learn how to analyze and comprehend the linguistic styles of the nonfiction texts of different disciplines, particularly science and social studies. As you use a LCD projector or interactive whiteboard to guide them through the reading of a textbook excerpt students use the interactive ReadWriteThink Notetaker tool or the attached printouts to record answers to questions. They do a close reading of the text, exploring the experiential, textual, and interpersonal meanings of the excerpts while recording any unfamiliar or important academic vocabulary. Through this close reading, students will learn a process of analyzing and understanding the different uses of language of different disciplines.

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ReadWriteThink Notetaker tool: This tool allows students to record and organize their thoughts electronically and to print them out.

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Fang, Z., & Schleppegrell, M.J. (2010). Disciplinary literacies across content areas: Supporting secondary reading through functional language analysis. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 53(7), 587–597.

  • Using a Functional Language Analysis (FLA) approach for reading content area texts helps students see the language patterns and academic vocabulary unique to different content areas. The approach “recognizes that as the knowledge students must learn becomes more specialized and complex, so does the language that constructs such knowledge (p. 588).
  • The FLA approach gives students a “metalanguage” to discuss the meaning of a text and why that text is structured the way it is.
  • In this approach to disciplinary literacy, students make a three-pronged investigation into the meaning of the language of text, viewing the text from different perspectives or through different lenses:
    • The experiential meaning of the text or what the passage is saying about the world is often expressed through verbs communicating doing, sensing, being, or telling.

    • The textual meaning of the passage or how the passage develops unity is often expressed through language structure that identifies themes and rhemes (or the compilation of lesser ideas that lead to larger conclusions).

    • The interpersonal meaning of the text or what the author’s position vis-à-vis the reader or society may be is often expressed through different moods and modalities such as statements, questions, commands, and various degrees of certainty.

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