Researchers Sharon Vaughn and Catherine Snow have both been involved in designing interventions to support adolescent students’ reading and learning of social studies content.
Professors Vaughn and Snow will give specific examples of the curricular content and classroom practices that have shown work well with adolescent learners, and of the kinds of adaptations that make this same deep and engaged learning accessible to second language speakers of English.
Both would argue that the best way to support reading skills is to leverage engaging content and big, important, discussable questions. These questions generate authentic opportunities to read for information and to prepare oral and written position statements. Supports that striving students, especially DLLs, may need to succeed in these lessons featuring active learning and conceptual approaches include: orienting questions, academic vocabulary, good language models, tasks that help them integrate the new information with existing conceptual structures. In addition, all students need to see the relevance of the learning to their own lives.