How to Teach Literacy Standards

Literacy Standards bring new focus on skills.

Recently revised State Standards set clear goals for skills that students should master, to prepare them for college, career, and life. These include language arts skills in reading, speaking and listening, and writing, which support success across multiple disciplines—including literature, history, social studies, science, and technical studies.

Paideia supports the shift of emphasis from content to skills–preparing students to learn independently and throughout life. Paideia especially supports the improvement in student assessments, so they measure students’ skills, not just their ability to recall facts. Paideia offers resources integrating all four language arts skills. We believe the Paideia approach to Socratic Seminar is the best way to teach students the essential, lifelong skills of reading, speaking and listening, and writing.

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Paideia Seminar

Using Socratic Seminar to achieve Speaking and Listening standards

In Paideia classrooms, Socratic Seminars are a collaborative intellectual dialogue in which a teacher asks open-ended questions that students discuss with reference to a text. Through Socratic Seminars, students build skills that fulfill state standards for speaking and listening. These skills include:

  • Participating in conversations and collaborative work
  • Evaluating information presented by others
  • Expressing their ideas clearly and persuasively
  • Using formal and informal English, as appropriate.

Using Socratic Seminar to achieve Reading and Writing standards

When fully integrated into the curriculum, Paideia Seminars also lead to better reading comprehension and more advanced writing. Pre-seminar activities should require close reading of a demanding text for reference during Seminar. The seminar discussion makes the experience of reading more active and engaged. Discussion also jump-starts the writing process, giving students a chance to develop their ideas in preparation for writing.

Paideia’s seminar lesson plans and course materials integrate reading and writing activities. We suggest a variety of post-seminar writing products—personal narrative, informational and explanatory, as well as argumentative essays. We also emphasize that writing should be connected to textual analysis and that, regardless of the genre, students should practice citing evidence from the text in their writing.

Resources for teaching literacy standards

Paideia offers resources for teachers that integrate all four sets of literacy skills in a full literacy cycle—requiring close reading, thoughtful speaking and listening, and rigorous writing.