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Reading Instruction, Teacher Responsibility, Critical Reading, Content Area Reading, Content Area Writing, Intellectual Disciplines, Literacy, Listening, Reading, Reading Strategies, Vocabulary Development, Reading Aloud to Others, Oral Reading, Middle School Students, Secondary School Students


A critical issue in education today is that many middle and high school students are not able to read on grade level (Alvermann & Rush, 2004; Biancarosa & Snow, 2010; Heller & Greenleaf, 2007; Houge, Geier, & Peyton, 2008). In an effort to deal with the problem, many schools encourage all teachers, regardless of their subject area, to emphasize reading in their classes, because as Rasinski, Padak, McKeon, Wilfong, Friedauer, and Heim (2005) state, if our goal is to improve student performance across content areas, then improvements in general reading abilities must be a goal" (p. 26). This is often met with a great deal of resistance because not only have most teachers not been trained in the reading process, but they also do not feel it is their responsibility to teach reading. Heller and Greenleaf (2007) state, "At the secondary level, the responsibility for teaching reading and writing often seems to belong to no one in particular" (p. 15). However, Shanahan (2012) makes the point that the "idea of disciplinary literacy is that students not only have to learn the essential content of a field, but how reading and writing are used in that field" (para. 3). He contends teachers in any field can help students read text critically in the same way professionals in the fields would read the text, instead of merely helping students learn what they need for a test. The purpose of this article is to provide a structure that any teacher, regardless of content area and training in reading instruction, can use to help students hone the literacy skills necessary to explore, develop, and expand content area knowledge. The suggested structure is based on a review of the literature that states: students need to (a) "listen to others read aloud" (Miller, 2002; Rasinski, 2003; Routman, 2003); (b) "read often" (Allington, 2006; Anderson, Hiebert, Scott, & Wilkinson, 1985; Cunningham, 2009), (c) "practice using reading strategies" (Beers, 2003; National Reading Panel, 2000), (d) "interact with texts and each other" (Routman, 2003, 2005: Vacca, Vacca, & Mraz, 2011), and (e) "develop a word consciousness" (Harmon, Wood, & Medina, 2009; Scott & Nagy, 2004)."

Recommended Citation

Hurst, Beth, and Cathy J. Pearman. "Teach Reading? but I'm Not a Reading Teacher!," Critical Questions in Education 4, no. 3 (2013): 225-234.


Reading, Foundations, and Technology