For many years, the TCRWP has been engaged in Content Area Literacy study. This has taken a variety of forms and we continue to be excited by the prospects of the field and ways to integrate reading and writing in the content areas. We are pleased to offer a Content Area Institute for one week each year (usually in February). Teachers and literacy coaches from all over the world come to Teachers College to study alongside one another. Participants spend their days listening to keynote speakers, studying and practicing methods of instruction for content area literacy, and engaging in their own literacy practices related to social studies and science content.
The TCRWP also provides on-site staff development related to content area literacy. Drawing on years of practice and our knowledge of best practices in reading and writing, staff developers and teachers pilot and refine instruction in science and social studies. This may mean conducting experiments in a unit devoted to the study of forces and motion, developing on-going centers for students to use when studying Colonial America in social studies, creating minilectures used to deliver content, or teaching students reading, research, or note-taking skills across grade levels. As in reading and writing, we have approached our content area literacy work with an emphasis on teaching students authentic and transferable reading and writing skills and strategies within the content areas.
In addition, the TCRWP has several day-long workshops devoted to content area literacy across the year. Often, outside experts from visiting museums, authors of nonfiction texts, or experts in a particular area such as vocabulary or technology join Project staff developers to help teachers and literacy coaches confirm, revise, and ultimately improve their thinking and instructional practices in social studies and science.