Investigating Disciplinary Literacy

Investigating Disciplinary Literacy A Framework for Collaborative Professional Learning

Christina L. Dobbs, Jacy Ippolito, and Megin Charner-Laird, Foreword by Elizabeth A. City
cloth, 216 Pages
Pub. Date: August 2017
ISBN-13: 978-1-68253-069-6
Price: $62.00

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paper, 216 Pages
Pub. Date: August 2017
ISBN-13: 978-1-68253-068-9
Price: $33.00

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Investigating Disciplinary Literacy provides practical, research-based guidance for teachers seeking to strengthen students’ reading, writing, and communication skills in subjects from the humanities to the sciences. The authors present a framework for conducting professional development cycles based on disciplinary literacy-related learning and district-based research projects they have conducted over the past five years.


The promise of disciplinary literacy has been unrealized in large part because of systematic implementation issues. This book provides a solution. The authors articulate an approach that will ensure that teachers are supported to engage students in disciplinary thinking. Their recommendations are based on solid research and practical experience and have the potential to transform the learning experiences for adolescents and young adults.
— Douglas Fisher, chair, Department of Educational Leadership, San Diego State University

This book is a gift to all involved in professional learning projects in schools—teachers, teacher leaders, instructional coaches, and administrators. The seven-step framework offers a process that centers teachers as collaborative agents of innovation, highlighting the questions and decision points that matter most. Practitioner voices from teachers and school leaders bring the process to life, and the resources included are practical, adaptable, and ready for work!
— Jessica Tunney, faculty lecturer in teacher education, School of Education, University of California, Irvine

In contrast to the eternal top-down school reforms we've experienced in recent decades, the authors embrace school-based, practice-driven, organic, contextual teacher learning. They are grounded at the schoolhouse, they trust teachers, and they are aware of the complexity of school change and school improvement. — Robert J. Weintraub, professor of educational leadership and policy studies, Boston University School of Education

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About the Authors

Christina L. Dobbs is an assistant professor in the English Education program at the Boston University School of Education in Boston, Massachusetts. Christina’s research focuses on disciplinary literacy and academic language, the development of adolescent writing skills, and the professional learning that supports teachers in these areas. Christina is particularly interested in effective disciplinary instruction for students who are diverse along a variety of dimensions and the potential of teachers to enact effective instruction for all students. Her work has been published in journals including Reading Research Quarterly, Written Communication, the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, and Applied Psycholinguistics. Christina was an editor of the volume Humanizing Education: Critical Alternatives to Reform. She earned her master’s and doctorate degrees at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, is a literacy coach and reading specialist, and began her teaching career as a high school English teacher in Houston, Texas.

Jacy Ippolito is an associate professor and department chair in the School of Education at Salem State University, Salem, Massachusetts. Jacy’s research, teaching, and consulting focus on the intersection of adolescent and disciplinary literacy, literacy coaching, teacher leadership, and school reform. Jacy is especially interested in the roles that teacher leaders, literacy coaches, and principals play in helping institute and maintain instructional change at middle and high school levels. The results of Jacy’s research and consulting work can be found in a number of journals and books, including the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, Professional Development in Education, the Journal of School Leadership, the Journal of Staff Development, and The Elementary School Journal. His recent books include Cultivating Coaching Mindsets (2016), Adolescent Literacy in the Era of the Common Core (2013), and Adolescent Literacy (2012). Jacy completed his master’s degree and doctorate in language and literacy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Prior to his work in higher education, Jacy worked as a middle school reading specialist, literacy coach, and drama teacher in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Megin Charner-Laird is an assistant professor in the School of Education at Salem State University, Salem, Massachusetts, where she also serves as the Lead Faculty for Assessment. Megin’s research and teaching focus on the ways that teachers learn and grow as professionals, how they respond to policy enactment, and how teacher leadership can serve as a lever for improvement in classrooms and schools. Megin’s work puts teachers at the center and is premised on the belief that teachers have the capacity to develop and enact the changes necessary to improve teaching and learning for all students. Megin’s research and writing have been published in a number of journals, including Teachers College Record, the Journal of School Leadership, Educational Administration Quarterly, the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, Professional Development in Education, and the Journal of Staff Development. She served as an editor of Education Past and Present: Reflections on Research, Policy, and Practice, a volume celebrating the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Harvard Educational Review. Megin completed her master’s degree and doctorate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Prior to her studies there, she taught elementary school in California’s Bay Area.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Elizabeth A. City


Blog Post: “Investing in Meaningful Professional Learning: A Case of Disciplinary Literacy”

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