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Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Science content area texts are difficult for most middle school students, particularly whose reading skills are below grade level. This article describes an innovative approach to integrating the teaching of middle school science content and reading skills to increase levels of student success with content area textbooks. For reading instruction, this approach features carefully selected vocabulary, word reading instruction, oral (including partner reading) and silent reading with reading fluency practice as needed, and explicit instruction on comprehension strategies, such as retelling, concept mapping, and summarization. The teaching of the science content incorporates instructional design principles that have been documented to improve comprehension of science content, process skills, and higher order thinking. Six aspects of instructional design that are discussed are the identification and teaching of big ideas, the systematic instruction of vocabulary (including science affixes), a review and integration of core concepts, visual displays of how core concepts are integrated, mnemonics for core concepts, and structured hands-on activities.