Ideas on Making Reading in Content Areas More Pleasurable

This semester students in READ 6325 explored professional resources.

Written by: A. Castillo

Do Social Studies or Science leave a sour taste in your or your students’ mouth?  Do you or your students dread using an outdated textbook for certain content areas?  If you answered yes, than like other educators, you may have questioned what else is possible to make reading across the content areas more interesting and engaging for your students?  The answer lies in professional resources such as journals, organizations, and books. 

Professional Journals

The Reading Teacher

This peer-reviewed journal is designed for those who work with children up to 12 years of age.  Every issue provides valuable information such as:

  • Research proven teaching theories to assist all students
  • Articles that are beneficial in providing successful practice
  • Articles written by educators

The journal is published eight times per year between September and May with a special double issue of December and January.  The fee for this particular journal varies depending on whether or not you decide to join the professional organization responsible for publishing the journal.

Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy

This journal is written for those who teach older students.  The peer reviewed journal provides an assortment of useful information to teachers regarding students of all learning abilities.  Interesting topics found within this journal include:

  • Analysis of resources
  • Instructional ideas
  • Useful tips on incorporating technology and other media sources in the classroom

Similar to The Reading Teacher, this journal is also published eight times each year from September and May with a special paired issue for December and January.  The fee for the journal fluctuates varying on whether or not you choose to join the professional organization accountable for distributing the journal.

Professional Organizations

International Reading Association (http://reading.org)

The International Reading Association (IRA) is a wonderful association all educators should participate in.  Membership fees are required in order to have complete access to the wide assortment of resources.  Upon admission into the establishment, you will have access to the educational journals, such as The Reading Teacher and the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, in which the association is responsible for publishing.  The IRA offers peer reviewed lesson plans as well as reading lists. The reading lists are divided into three sections, children, teacher, and young adult choices which makes browsing easier.  The amount of resources made available by this professional organization is certain to enhance your life.

National Council of Teachers of English (http://www.ncte.org)

The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) is an organization whose primary significance is to integrate the language arts into the content areas.  The association offers access to peer reviewed journals, lesson plans, books, magazines, and professional development for example web seminars on content area literacy.  The structure of the website makes browsing effortless as it specifies sections for elementary, middle, secondary, and college levels.  In order to have complete access to this great organization a membership fee is necessary. 

Professional Literature

Subjects Matter: Every Teacher’s Guide to Content-Area Reading (2004)

Harvey Daniels and Steven Zemelman are the authors of this fantastic resource.  The authors state that students “read too many textbooks, and not enough “real” books and articles” (p.14).  Therefore, they share engaging approaches on how to teach reading in all content areas.  For example, they suggest reading strategies that can be implemented across the curriculum before, during, and after the reading.  In addition, they propose ideas on reading workshop and book clubs which are activities that will interest and engage your students.

Young Adult Literature: Exploration, Evaluation, and Appreciation (2006)

This is another great resource that will add more zing to your teaching of content areas.  Katherine Bucher and M. Lee Manning co-authored this book that can revitalize your teaching of genres as well as be incorporated in different content areas.  Each chapter explores different genres of literature.  Within each chapter, they recommend various activities that will keep your students engaged in the learning.  Also, mentioned in each chapter are suggested books that can be read to complement the genre and content area.

These professional resources will give teachers a refreshing attitude into reading across the content areas that their students will also benefit.  They suggest a new outlook on reading from using outdated textbooks to authentic literature.  Hopefully, these resources will inspire and instill an appreciation for reading in you and your students.

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