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Alaska Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies Science/Technical Subjects Grades 6-12. Summary of Topics. Section 1. Reading and Comprehending Complex Text Reading Instruction : Breaking out of the English Department

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Alaska Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies Science/Technical Subjects Grades 6-12

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Alaska standards for literacy in history social studies science technical subjects grades 6 12

Alaska Standards for Literacy in

History/Social Studies

Science/Technical Subjects

Grades 6-12

Summary of topics

Summary of Topics

Section 1

Section 1

Reading and Comprehending Complex Text

  • Reading Instruction: Breaking out of the English Department

  • Close Reading: Strategies to help students comprehend complex text

  • Text Dependent Questions: Strategies to help teachers guide students through and comprehend complex text.

Framework for reading

Framework for Reading

  • Reading in the Content Area

    • Every classroom can improve SBA reading scores

    • Shift from teacher talk instruction model

      • Notes, audiovisual aids

    • New model

      • Set authentic purposes for reading that pique students’ curiosity

    • Allow students to:

      • Read diverse and complex text

      • Interact with key information and ideas

      • Have meaningful conversations about text

      • Read beyond the text book

      • Explore controversial ideas or points of view

Framework for reading1

Framework for Reading

Traditional Lesson Format

Active Engagement Format

Framework for reading2

Framework for Reading

General close reading practices

General Close Reading Practices

  • Non-Fiction/Informational Text Genre

    • Activate prior knowledge.

    • Know characteristics of text such as bold print, illustrations, graphs and tables.

    • Read the first and last line of each paragraph carefully.

    • Take notes or highlight/underline key words or phrases.

    • Make comparisons and contrasts.

    • Determine the author’s purpose.

    • Determine the writers’ opinion or attitude concerning the subject.

Close Reading Strategies with Informational Text

Thinking Notes

Text dependent questions

Text Dependent Questions

  • Can only be answered with evidence from the text.

  • Can be literal and must involve higher level thinking skills (analysis, synthesis and evaluation).

  • Focus on vocabulary, sentence and paragraph, in addition to larger ideas, themes or events.

  • Focus on the challenging sections of the passage.

  • Include prompts for writing and discussion.

    Three types of questions

  • Assess theme and central ideas

  • Assess knowledge of vocabulary

  • Assess syntax and structure

Progression of text dependent questions

Progression of Text Dependent Questions

Steps in creating text dependent questions

Steps in Creating Text Dependent Questions

  • Identify the Core Understanding

  • Start Small to Build Confidences and Key Ideas of the Text

  • Target Vocabulary and Text Structure

  • Tackle Tough Sections Head-on

  • Create Coherent Sequences of Text Dependent Questions

  • Identify the Standards That Are Being Addressed

  • Create the Culminating Assessment

    • Demonstrates mastery of one or more standard

    • Involves writing

    • Can be done independently

Back to Summary of Topics

Alaska standards for literacy in history social studies science technical subjects grades 6 12

Brown University (2013, August 5). New explanation for odd double-layer Martian craters

Text dependent questions1

Text Dependent Questions

  • Theme and Central Ideas

    What evidence supports varied climate as a possible cause for double-layered craters on Mars?

  • Knowledge and Vocabulary

    Impact (verb) means to strike forcefully. An impactor (noun) is something that strikes something else forcefully. What happened on Mars when its surface was struck by an impactor?

  • Syntax and Structure

    An appositive is a noun or pronoun which adds extra information to clarify a noun in the sentence. Watching for the commas that surround the appositive, determine what James W. Head does at the University.

Creating text dependent questions

Creating Text Dependent Questions

Section 2

Section 2

Alaska Standard Strand:Key Ideas and Details

  • Strategies to help students gather information from the text

    • Cite Evidence

    • Determine Central Ideas

    • Determine Sequence

    • Follow Multi-Step Processes

Standard strand key ideas and details

Standard Strand:Key Ideas and Details

Reading Strategies

Cite evidence

Cite Evidence

  • Graphic organizer

  • Represents related concepts

  • Organizational tool to help understand difficult passages

  • Visual representation of the ideas/concepts

  • Accommodates different learning styles


Determine central ideas

Determine Central Ideas

SQ3R Method

  • Survey

    • Look at all headings, bold words, pictures, charts.

    • Pay attention to introduction, beginning/ending sentences in paragraphs.

  • Question

    • Formulate a question for each of the headings.

  • Read

    • Read each section. Answer the question you created.

  • Recite

    • Retell what you learned about each section to a partner, to yourself or in writing.

  • Review

    • Check for understanding, summarize information.

Adapted from Robinson, F. P. (1946). Effective study. New York: Harper.

Determine central ideas1

Determine Central Ideas

Question-Answer Relationships

  • Student tool for providing a basis for

    • Locating information

    • Determining text structures

    • Determining when an inference would be required

  • Helps analyze, comprehend and respond to text concepts

  • Ties what they already know to the information in the text

  • Helps student recognize if the information is present in the text or if they need to “read between the lines”

Determine sequence and follow multi step processes

Determine Sequence and Follow Multi-Step Processes

  • Preview Text

  • Identify clues

    • Beginning, middle, end

  • Create a physical representation of text

    • Flow chart

    • Time line


Activity gist statements

Activity: GIST Statements

  • Description:

    • Assists students with focusing on the main idea of the passage.

  • Read the passage.

  • Write one statement that reveals the “gist” of the selection.

  • Discuss the reading and “gist” statements with the group

Back to Summary of Topics

Section 3

Section 3

Alaska Standard Strand: Craft and Structure

  • Strategies to help students navigate the structure of complex text

    • Vocabulary

    • Recognize Point of View

    • Recognize Purpose

Standard strand craft and structure

Standard Strand:Craft and Structure

V ocabulary


  • Better understanding of complex words

  • Promotes critical thinking

  • Draws on prior knowledge to build new connections

  • Accommodates different learning styles

  • What the word is

    • synonyms

  • What the word is not

    • antonyms

  • Visual reference

Alaska standards for literacy in history social studies science technical subjects grades 6 12

  • Building Science Vocabulary

    • This Teaching Channel Video shares one teacher’s strategy for building high level vocabulary with high school students working in groups.

  • Learning Difficult Vocabulary

    • Using Marzano’s approach to teaching vocabulary, this teacher provides essential background knowledge prior to the lesson.

Word Clouds

Create a word cloud like the one above using Wordle

Click here for more examples of Word Clouds

Tiered vocabulary

Tiered Vocabulary

Activity vocabulary

Activity: Vocabulary

  • Survival Words

    • Choose several unfamiliar words from the text.

    • Have students copy the chart.

    • Students write the meaning of the words they know.

    • Work in groups to share words that they are most confident about.

    • Review charts with the entire class and help them clarify words which they still have difficulty.

Recognize point of view

Recognize Point of View

  • Divide the class into groups to read text from an assigned point of view.

  • Provide guiding questions to use during reading.

  • Encourage students to identify information from the text that support their point of view.


  • Process of Immigration

  • Possible Points of View

    • Immigrant

    • Customs official

    • Former immigrant

    • Citizen

    • Luggage

Recognize purpose

Recognize Purpose

  • Common Purposes for Nonfiction

    • Explain

    • Inform

    • Teach how to do something

    • Express an opinion

    • Persuade

    • Entertain

Back to Summary of Topics

Section 4

Section 4

Text Structure

  • Strategies and tools to help teach the five text structures.

  • Strategies to help students recognize the five text structures for better comprehension.

    • Description

    • Sequence

    • Problem and Solution

    • Cause and Effect

    • Compare and Contrast

Some strategies to teach text structure

Some Strategies to Teach Text Structure

  • Introduce and work on different text structures.

  • Skim and Scan to predict text structures.

  • Teach the signal words for each text structure.

  • Teach and model the graphic organizers to go with each text structure.

  • Provide writing opportunities using the different text structures.

Text structure description

Text Structure: Description

  • Signal Words and Phrases

  • Comprehension Question Frames

    • What is the subject being described?

    • How is the topic being described (i.e., where is it, what it does, how it works, what it looks like, its classification)>

    • What are the most important attributes or characteristics?

Text structure description1

Text Structure: Description


  • Helps organize information while reading or listening to descriptive text.

Cue Column

Note Taking Column

Topics, main points, vocabulary

Details bulleted,few words used, paraphrase

Text structure sequence

Text Structure: Sequence

  • Signal words or phrases

  • Comprehension Question Frames

    • What sequence of events is being described?

    • What are the major events or incidents that occur?

    • What happens first, next, last?

    • How is the sequence or cycle revealed in the text?

    • What are the steps, directions, procedures to follow to make or do something?

Text structure sequence1

Text Structure: Sequence

Sequential Organizer



Main Idea Statement

Text structure problem and solution

Text Structure: Problem and Solution

  • Signal Words or Phrases

  • Comprehension Question Frames

    • What is the problem?

    • Why is it a problem?

    • What is causing the problem?

    • What solutions have been suggested or tried?

    • What are the pros and cons of various solutions?

    • Which solutions worked or seem to have the best chance for solving the problem?

Problem and solution

Problem and Solution

Use text clues to determine the different components of the problem solution text.

Possible Solutions




as a consequence

this led to

so that



one reason for the problem



the problem is

the puzzle is

the dilemma is

the question is





a solution is

solutions are

this resulted in

one answer is


Text structure problem and solution1

Text Structure: Problem and Solution

  • Discussion Web

    • Look at both sides of a problem before making a decision based on evidence

Text structure cause and effect

Text Structure: Cause and Effect

  • Signal Words and Phrases

  • Comprehension Questions Frames

    • What were the specific events that happened?

    • Why did the events happen? What were the causes?

    • What were the results or outcomes of these events happening? What was the effect?

    • Did prior events cause or influence the main event? If so, in what ways?

    • What is the significance of the event and/or the result (outcomes)?

Text structure cause and effect1

Text Structure: Cause and Effect

  • Cause and Effect Graphic Structure

    • Visual representation of what happened and why.

  • Helps students

    • Organize events

    • State relationships of various events in a concrete way

Text structure compare and contrast

Text Structure: Compare and Contrast

  • Signal words and Phrases

  • Comprehension Question Frames

    • What subjects are being compared?

    • What is it about them that is being compared?

    • What characteristics of the subjects form the basis of comparison?

    • What characteristics do they have in common? How are they alike?

    • In what ways are they different?

Text structure compare and contrast1

Text Structure:Compare and Contrast

Back to Summary of Topics

Section 5

Section 5

Alaska Standards Strand:

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

  • Strategies to help students

    • Text Features and their importance in text

    • Fact vs. Fiction

    • Fact vs. Reasoned Judgment and Speculation

    • Primary and Secondary Source Documents

Standard strand integration of knowledge and ideas

Standard Strand:Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

Text features

Text Features

Alaska standards for literacy in history social studies science technical subjects grades 6 12

Text features1

Text Features

Fact vs fiction

Fact vs. Fiction



All about the character

What he/she wants

What he/she gets or doesn’t get

How he/she changes

The world the author created for him/her

  • All about deductions

    • 100% true statements

    • Study and verification of facts

      • Documented sources

      • Test date

      • First hand accounts

    • Can be disguised as fiction using

      • Circular logic

      • Either-or statements

      • Rely on authority figures to state what is true

Fact vs reasoned judgment and speculation

Fact vs. Reasoned Judgment and Speculation

Reasoned Judgment


Conclusion reached by contemplation

Conjecture or surmise

Contemplation or consideration of some subject

  • Opinion with factual supporting evidence

  • More than one standard of judgment

Primary and secondary source documents

Primary and Secondary Source Documents

  • Offers a planned framework for examining critical questions

  • Integrates prior knowledge with the text Source for Primary Source Documents

Range of reading and level of text complexity

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity

Reading strategies

Reading Strategies

  • Strategies for Explicit Instruction

    • K-W-L Charts

    • Chunking

    • DR-TA

      • Direct Reading-Thinking Activity

    • SQ3R

      • Survey, Question, Read-Recite-Review

    • QAR

      • Question Answer Relationship

    • Graphic organizers

    • Academic journals

    • Vocabulary development

Reading strategies1

Reading Strategies

  • Learner Strategies

    • Use prior knowledge before, during and after reading

    • Predict/Adjust/ Confirm

    • Skim/Preview

    • Raise Questions

    • Visualize

    • Self-Monitoring reading

    • Distinguish important ideas from less important ideas

    • Recognize and use text organization

    • Summarize

    • Interpret

    • Synthesize

    • Reflect/Evaluate/Apply

Back to Summary of Topics

Alaska standards for literacy in history social studies science technical subjects grades 6 12

801 West 10th Street, Suite 200

P. O. Box 110500

Juneau, AK 99811-0500

Alaska Department of Education and Early Development

Teacher and Learning Support

Deborah Riddle

[email protected]


Dr. Bjorn Wolter

[email protected]


Alaska standards for literacy in history social studies science technical subjects grades 6 12

These Word Clouds were created with the same words, the format was changed by “randomizing” within Wordle.

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