Literacy Across the Curriculum: Social Studies Research Through Multiple Source Retells
by Chase Young

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Teaching literacy throughout the instructional day is necessary to meet rigorous benchmarks and standards. Integrating literacy, and insisting its consistency in all content areas is an exceedingly important feature of an effective classroom. The literacy block lasts only a few hours, but literacy instruction can prevail throughout the day. The literate processes must be exercised in all of the content areas (Canter & Winberry, 2002). The following lesson will include a cross-curricular approach to teaching usage of multiple sources in inquiry or research, use several different sources of information about a given time period, and to identify the functions of government (Texas Educational Agency, 2007).    
Students will be grouped heterogeneously to complete the multiple-source group retelling. Student will be grouped in trios, each containing an advanced, an intermediate, and a beginning reader. Each will have the responsibility to read about the current functions of government using various resources. First, the students’ schema will be activating by brainstorming everything they know about government. A hook will be thrown when students are asked to ponder how our society would function without the aid of some form of government (Canter & Winberry, 2002). 
Students will then be grouped to discuss what they know about government, and decide which student (with the aid of the teacher) will be seeking a particular resource. The easy book will be from the AR 1.2-2.0 series on government. The advanced and intermediate quite possibly could read either How the U.S. Government Works, or use the computer to navigate Ben’s Guide to the U.S. Government for Kids. Students will branch off and read their chosen text or media (Canter & Winberry, 2002). 
After fifteen minutes of productive independent reading, students will return to their original trio, and give an oral retell. This might spark some discussion, which should be encouraged. After a couple of moments, students return to their independent study. The cycle is completed one more time, as they return for a second group retell (Canter & Winberry, 2002).
Once the retells have been completed, each group will complete a synthesis paragraph explaining what they learned. After the content, students will also evaluate how effectively they used the group retell strategy. Each student will assess their contributions to the group, and how they will improve it in the future.
In light of high demands in language arts, and the increasingly difficult content exams, it can be difficult to manage the instructional day. The fact is literacy never needs to be left behind, and the literacy standards should be consistently integrated throughout the day. Although integration seems a daunting task, it is necessary to prepare all students for success (Canter & Winberry, 2002).  


Canter, L. & Winberry, K. (Directors). (2002) Program 3: Literacy Across the Curriculum. [Motion Picture]. In C. Arnold (Producer), Planning and managing the literacy classroom. Los Angeles: Laureate Education, Inc.

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