Harvard Educational Review
  1. Spring 2008 Issue »

    Adolescent Literacy

    Putting the Crisis in Context

    Vicki A. Jacobs
    In this article, Vicki Jacobs argues that as the nation strives to improve the literacy achievement of U.S. adolescents, educators must reframe the current “crisis” as a critical point on a continuum of historical efforts to address the particular challenges of postprimary-grade reading. Specifically, Jacobs examines the definition of adolescent literacy in the context of reading stages, which explain the contiguous and continuous relationship between primary-grade and later reading. She also discusses how historical relationships between skill and process instruction and between reading specialists and content-area faculty have contributed to the issues we face at this particular point on the continuum. Jacobs concludes by highlighting the opportunities ahead for researchers, policymakers, and practitioners who are positioned to respond to the adolescent literacy crisis and improve adolescent literacy achievement.

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    Vicki A. Jacobs is the associate director of the Teacher Education Program and a lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she has taught courses on curriculum development, secondary school reading and writing, literacy and learning, and the teaching of English. Her published works focus on secondary literacy development and instruction and on teacher education. She has served as a codirector of the Massachusetts Academy for Teachers and of the Transition to Teaching Math and Science Program, and as an associate for the Bard College Institute for Writing and Thinking. Jacobs is currently president of the Massachusetts Association of College and University Reading Educators.

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    Spring 2008 Issue


    Why Adolescent Literacy Matters Now
    Jacy Ippolito, Jennifer L. Steele, and Jennifer F. Samson
    Adolescent Literacy
    Putting the Crisis in Context
    Vicki A. Jacobs
    Teaching Disciplinary Literacy to Adolescents
    Rethinking Content-Area Literacy
    Timothy Shanahan and Cynthia Shanahan
    Redefining Content-Area Literacy Teacher Education
    Finding My Voice through Collaboration
    Roni Jo Draper
    Cognitive Strategy Instruction for Adolescents
    What We Know about the Promise, What We Don’t Know about the Potential
    Mark W. Conley
    The Complex World of Adolescent Literacy
    Myths, Motivations, and Mysteries
    Elizabeth Birr Moje, Melanie Overby, Nicole Tysvaer, and Karen Morris
    Toward a More Anatomically Complete Model of Literacy Instruction
    A Focus on African American Male Adolescents and Texts
    Alfred W. Tatum
    Implementing a Structured Reading Program in an Afterschool Setting
    Problems and Potential Solutions
    Ardice Hartry, Robert Fitzgerald, and Kristie Porter
    State Literacy Plans
    Incorporating Adolescent Literacy
    Catherine Snow, Twakia Martin, and Ilene Berman
    Beyond Writing Next
    A Discussion of Writing Research and Instructional Uncertainty
    David Coker and William E. Lewis