Harvard Educational Review
  1. Spring 2008 Issue »

    Cognitive Strategy Instruction for Adolescents

    What We Know about the Promise, What We Don’t Know about the Potential

    Mark W. Conley
    “Strategy instruction” is quickly becoming one of the most common — and perhaps the most commonly misunderstood — components of adolescent literacy research and practice. In this essay, veteran teacher educator Mark Conley argues that a particular type of strategy instruction known as cognitive strategy instruction holds great promise for improving adolescents’ reading, writing, and thinking across content areas. However, he further suggests that we do not yet have the research needed to adequately understand and maximize the potential of cognitive strategy instruction in secondary content-area classrooms. After situating cognitive strategy instruction in the larger context of research on adolescent literacy and school-to-work transitions, Conley provides classroom examples of cognitive strategy instruction, demonstrates the need for meaningful integration of cognitive strategies in teacher education, and recommends specific directions for future research needed to understand and maximize the benefits of cognitive strategy instruction for adolescents.

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    Mark W. Conley is an associate professor in teacher education at Michigan State University’s College of Education. Conley has worked in teacher education for nearly thirty years and is interested in the connections between curriculum standards and assessment, the role of literacy in content-area classrooms, adolescent literacy and accountability systems, and adolescent literacy in urban settings. He received the International Reading Association’s Elva-Knight Research Award in 1991 and was named Reading Researcher of the Year by the Michigan Reading Association in 1990. Conley’s recent publications include Content Area Literacy: Learners in Context (2008), Connecting Standards and Assessments Through Literacy (2004), and Meeting the Challenge of Adolescent Literacy: Research We Have, Research We Need (coedited with J. R. Freidhoff, M. B. Sherry, and S. F. Tuckey, 2008).
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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