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Literacy Salon: Developing Content Knowledge While Enhancing Language Skills

10 June 2014


We often think that language skills and content knowledge should be taught separately.   Have you ever considered intentionally and systematically teaching language and content together?  At a recent Literacy Salon hosted by Philadelphia Adult Literacy Alliance, a team of facilitators, Anurag Sagar, Kathy Fagan, and Aydin Durgunoğlu, shared an innovative approach for doing just that.  This team developed an instructional approach for teaching adults that integrates language skills and content knowledge.  It is designed to assist in teaching academic content and language.  In two pilot studies, they developed and tested a curriculum for teaching ESL students American history and civics at the Center for Literacy.

The instructional approach follows specific principles and focuses on comprehension and vocabulary.  Teachers can also apply this approach to teaching students in ESL, ABE and GED classes.  The approach can be customized to any subject and level of learners.  Participants at the Salon were also introduced to some online tools that can be helpful when planning lessons to develop content knowledge and enhance language skills.

If you would like more information on this this instructional approach or the ongoing research study, you are welcome to contact the facilitators.  Aydin Durgunoğlu ( is a professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Anurag Sagar (  and Kathy Fagan (   teach at the Center for Literacy in Philadelphia.


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