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Topics in Language Disorders:
doi: 10.1097/TLD.0b013e31824501de
Disciplinary Literacy

Language Correlates of Disciplinary Literacy

Fang, Zhihui

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Abstract

Disciplinary literacy is defined here as the ability to engage in social, semiotic, and cognitive practices consistent with those of content experts. Characterizing literacy development as a process of braiding 3 language strands of everyday language, abstract language, and metaphoric language, this article describes the lexical and grammatical patterns typical of disciplinary texts in the subjects of language arts, science, mathematics, and history, showing how language is used in discipline-specific ways to present knowledge, construe value, and create specialized texts. It argues that literacy instruction in academic disciplines should move beyond the time-honored focus on basic skills (e.g., vocabulary, fluency), general cognitive strategies (e.g., predicting, inferencing), and generic learning strategies (e.g., highlighting, note taking) to embrace an emphasis on discipline-specific practices that promote simultaneous engagement with disciplinary language and disciplinary content.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

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