Literacy 7-12

Systems Change
Literacy 7-12 > Strategies

Literacy 7-12

Select one or more factors to see the strategies that support your chosen factor(s). For each strategy, we provide ideas for classroom and product application, videos, and further resources.


Acting/Role Play

Physically acting out a text or enacting major themes from texts enhances reading comprehension, particularly as texts become more complex.


When annotating, students engage deeply with a text and make their thinking visible while reading.


Audiobooks allow students to hear fluent reading and experience books above their reading skills.

Authentic Audiences & Purposes

When adolescents can connect and communicate with authentic audiences about their interests and values, reading and writing become more personally meaningful and relevant.

Book Clubs

Students practice making and finding meaning in texts through book discussions moderated by teachers to varying degrees.

Building Trusting Relationships

Building positive and trusting relationships with learners allows them to feel safe; a sense of belonging; and that their academic, cognitive, and social and emotional needs are supported.

Checklists & Rubrics

Checklists and rubrics help students understand expectations as they navigate more complex tasks and assignments.

Collaborative Writing

When peers are able to work together to plan, draft, edit, and revise during the Composition process, their writing quality improves.

Composition Projects: Multimodal

For adolescent learners, the Composition process can become more robust, as learners begin to express ideas through multiple media, which includes visual, audio, and digital production.

Creating Visuals

When students express information visually, they are activating more cognitive processes while problem solving and increasing their experience with alternate texts.


When preparing for and debating with peers, students analyze, form, and express verbal arguments, fostering their critical thinking and literacy skills.

Direct Instruction: Comprehension Strategies

As part of a varied curriculum, explicit instruction in reading comprehension strategies from teachers can help older students use strategies meaningfully and flexibly.

Direct Instruction: Vocabulary

Seeing and using new words repeatedly and in many contexts is critical for Vocabulary acquisition.

Discipline-specific Writing

Interpreting and composing discipline-specific texts requires tailoring literacy strategies, like annotating or asking questions, to the disciplinary goals and practices.

Extended Writing Opportunities

Increasing how much and how frequently students write improves both their writing quality and content knowledge.

Feedback on Writing

Providing constructive feedback supports students' writing development by letting them know how to improve their writing.

Field Trips

Visiting places connected to classroom learning provides opportunities to deepen understanding through firsthand experiences.

Gallery Walk

As students move through multimodal stations pertaining to a particular unit, the social and physical nature of the activity supports deeper understanding.

Goal Setting & Monitoring

Setting overall goals with actionable steps for achievement can help students feel more confident in their skills and abilities.

Graphic Organizer

Visualizing how ideas fit together helps students construct meaning and strengthens their recall.

Growth Mindset Feedback

Providing feedback that focuses on the process of developing skills conveys the importance of effort and motivates students to persist when learning.

Guided Inquiry

During guided inquiry, teachers foster student autonomy by designing lessons centered on meaningful questions in which students locate, analyze, and present relevant information on their own or in small groups.

Incorporate Students' Cultural Practices

Learning about students' cultures and connecting them to instructional practices helps all students feel like valued members of the community, which improves Motivation and can mitigate Stereotype Threat.


As students work with and process information by discussing, organizing, and sharing it together, they deepen their understanding.


Journaling allows students to reflect on their thinking and feelings, process their learning, and connect new information to what they know.

Mentor Texts

By observing, rereading, and closely analyzing published writing, students see examples and learn the strategies of good writing that they can integrate into their own Composition.

Mindfulness Activities

Through short but regular mindfulness activities, students develop their awareness and ability to focus.

Mnemonic Device

Creating patterns for remembering content information, important Vocabulary, narrative structures, etc.

Multimodal Instruction

Instruction in multiple formats allows students to activate different cognitive skills and Background Knowledge that are necessary to remember procedural and content information.

Multiple Texts

Providing multiple texts on the same topic or theme allows students to interact with multiple perspectives and develop their critical thinking skills.

Peer Feedback

When students provide constructive feedback on each other's work, they learn to give relevant suggestions, receive specific ways to improve their writing, and engage in Metacognition.

Peer Teaching

Having students teach their knowledge, skills, and understanding to their classmates strengthens learning and increases Motivation.

Predictability: Environment & Structure

Maintaining consistent routines, structures, and supports ensures that students are able to trust and predict what will happen next.

Producing Counter-texts

When students write from a non-dominant or marginalized perspective, they consider and give voice to points of view that are often missing.

Prompts & Questions

Providing guiding prompts and questions for students to use when reading or participating in discussions deepens their understanding of texts and gives them space to question and grapple with issues of power, justice, and equity.

Provide Writing Models

When teachers provide students with model texts for their writing, they learn to identify effective elements to incorporate into their own writing.


Reading aloud to adolescents models Reading Fluency as texts become more complex and disciplinary in nature and therefore, more difficult to understand.

Reading Conferences

Teachers can provide individualized support through one-on-one conferences to assess reading comprehension, understanding of content, and spark further interest in reading.

Reciprocal Teaching: PALS

When students explain to others, they deepen their understanding and gain confidence in their learning.

Reflect on Learning

Student reflection on learning, particularly when done collaboratively, is critical for moving knowledge of content and strategies into Long-term Memory.

Rich Library: Diversity

Having culturally relevant reading materials, including multicultural and diverse texts, are critical for supporting all students.

Rich Library: Multimodal

Providing access to a variety of multimodal texts that align with the interests of learners allows them to practice digital, information, and Critical Literacy.


When students monitor their comprehension, performance, and use of strategies when reading and writing, they build their Metacognition and actively participate in the reading process.

Sentence Frames

Sentence frames or stems provide language support for students' writing and participation in academic discussions.

Story and Concept Maps

Providing a story or concept map prior to lessons or having students create their own maps during or after reading helps learners identify and organize key elements of a text.

Student Choice

Giving students voice and choice in their learning is critical for making learning meaningful and relevant to them.


Think-pair-share encourages meaningful student discussion by allowing for extra processing time and multiple shares.


During reading, giving students the opportunity to explain their thinking process aloud allows them to recognize the strategies they use, solidify their comprehension, and move knowledge into their Long-term Memory.

Literacy 7-12

Students use foundational literacy skills to build knowledge.

Students’ Reading Fluency skills mature to become more automatic and accurate; however, students are still developing the ability to parse longer and more complex text.

  • Reading aloud with students continues to help them understand how to process complex Syntax and read with the appropriate prosody and expression.

Students in middle and high school must develop Disciplinary Literacy, or reading and writing conventions in different content areas, and strategies to learn content-specific Vocabulary.

  • Students can use mentor texts as models to understand the organization and structure of writing for different purposes and support Metacognition.

Engagement with a variety of texts allows students to think critically.

Adolescents are gaining skills to engage more deeply with texts including making inferences using their Background Knowledge and developing their Argumentative Reasoning skills to understand and create persuasive texts.

  • Engaging students in verbal debate can help them learn how to frame an argument and justify their claims with evidence.

Adolescents need strong Critical Literacy skills to consider issues of power and bias in the texts they encounter in school and beyond in a complex world.

  • To build these skills, students can create their own counter-texts, which may motivate them to give voice to perspectives that may not have originally been present in texts or historical accounts.

Adolescents need to learn how to leverage technology effectively for learning.

Technology is ubiquitous for adolescents; however, new research suggests that more frequent media multi-tasking in adolescence may lead to increases in Attention problems.

  • Students may need support in learning strategies such as mindfulness that can help them manage distractions from technology.

Technology can also expand learning opportunities for reading and writing; adolescents’ Literacy Environments include many types of digital media, which can be spaces to find and compose personally meaningful texts.

  • Educators can also use multimedia texts to layer different sources and prompt students’ awareness and information literacy skills.


Engagement with a variety of texts allows students to think critically.

View Theme 2


Adolescents need to learn how to leverage technology effectively for learning.

View Theme 3


Students use foundational literacy skills to build knowledge.

View Theme 1