Adolescent Literacy Resources

Websites: - All about adolescent literacy, resources for grades 4-12
Center on Instruction: Adolescent Literacy - Research summaries, guidebooks, and professional development resources
Doing What Works Website: Adolescent Literacy Explore recommended research-based practices for Adolescent Literacy from the US Department of Education's website. Includes multimedia overviews, teaching resources, and examples for vocabulary instruction, comprehension strategies, engaging text discussion, and intensive intervention.
What Works Clearinghouse: Practice Guides by Grade Level and Topic

ReadWriteThink Website - collaboration between IRA, NCTE, Thinkfinity, and more

Research and Guidance:

Reading in the Disciplines - Report and guidance document on the challenges of adolescent literacy
Adolescent Literacy Resources: Annotated Bibliography, 2nd edition, from the Center on Instruction (2009)Adolescent Literacy Annotated Bibliography
Effective Instruction for Adolescent Struggling Readers - A Practice Brief from the Center on Instruction (2008) Effective Instruction for Adolescent Readers
Improving Adolescent Literacy: Effective Classroom and Intervention Practices - An IES Practice Guide Improving Adolescent Literacy
Complex World of Adolescent Literacy: Myths, Motivations & Mysteries - Research article on adolescent literacy from Harvard Educational Review
Academic Literacy Instruction for Adolescents - Guidance Document from Center on Instruction: Academic Lit. for Adolescents

Articles from

Content-Specific Adolescent Literacy Resources

English Language Arts:

Reading complex literary texts offers unique opportunities for students to wrestle with some of the core ethical dilemmas that we face as human beings. The growth of ethical reasoning is one of the most compelling reasons for schools to develop students' capacities to read complex works of literature. Students who enter high school as struggling readers are quite capable of engaging with such texts, in part because these same students are often wrestling with complex challenges in their own lives.

Social Studies:
The ability to read historical documents including contemporary explications about societal, economic and political issues provides a direct link to literacy as preparation for citizenship. As in the other disciplines, schools are unique sites for youth across class and ethnic boundaries to learn to read such documents and to develop the skills to engage in such reading for college and career success.


The demands of comprehending scientific text are discipline specific and are best learned by supporting students in learning how to read a wide range of scientific genres. Besides text structures emphasizing cause and effect, sequencing and extended definitions, as well as the use of scientific registers, evaluating scientific arguments requires additional skill sets for readers.


Of all the academic disciplines taught in middle and high school, the one we least expect to entail reading extended texts is in mathematics, but math texts present special literacy problems and challenges for young readers.

Content Area Reading:

Good Reading on the Web -- links to student text, magazines and articles to use with students grades 5-12

Graphic Organizers for Text Structure:

Text Structure Charts:

How to Read a Textbook Page: