Content-Area Literacy Professional Learning

Collaboration and Content Area Literacy



Roni Jo Draper reflects upon her professional journey as a content area literacy teacher educator, describing how she first became a literacy teacher educator and how she later came to collaborate with a group of teacher educators who specialize in disciplines such as music, theater, and mathematics.

Drawing upon naturalistic data from the group’s participatory action research project, she explains how their collaboration shaped her understanding of her own professional role and expanded her definitions of texts, content area literacy, and literacy itself.

Informed by insights she gained through the project, Draper argues that content area literacy instruction should promote mastery of the intellectual discourse within a particular discipline. She also suggests ways to increase collaboration between literacy and content area specialists working in the field of teacher education.


“If Dan’s students were engaging in deep mathematics discussion, learning mathematics by developing images and describing and justifying their thinking with manipulatives, pictures and written explanations—activities I considered literacy—and he did this all without considering literacy explicitly or tapping into literacy instructional practices, what could I offer to improve the mathematics learning and literacy of his students?”

For more information, please visit The Harvard Educational Review.