Big Ideas in Literacy
Using Texts as Sources for Investigation
Because this course is focused on how to support students as they develop literacy skills, it reasons well that texts play a key role in that development. But all texts have been written by individuals with certain purposes at a specific time and place that shaped the person and the text she or he wrote. Whether to inform, persuade, entertain, illustrate, or do otherwise, all text forms have been created by someone somewhere at some time for a specific purpose. One of the primary features of teaching disciplinary literacy is to help students consider the facets of what went into creating a text. This ultimately can lead students to become critical readers who can make inference and understand both the literal text and the subtext.
It is important to note that documents for investigation do not have to be written texts. Historians and social scientists use a multitude of visual documents (maps, photos, etc.) as well as other artifacts. However, the focus of this course is on written texts.
While teachers may feel the need to focus on students’ comprehension of text ideas, meaningful comprehension focuses on ways that students can consider authors’ purposes, place sources within a context, identify specific language used in a source, and weigh them against other pieces of evidence. In other words, the focus is on analyzing texts and thinking critically about them so that students can fully understand the meanings of texts.
Reflect: How have you used multiple sources to encourage students to consider different accounts or points of view of an event?