Reading to Learn in Science

A Stanford University team developed and implemented a professional development model for science teachers to increase their knowledge of the challenges of academic language used in science textbooks, and to build their understanding of the role of discussion in the science classroom. The work was conducted with two cohorts launched a year apart. Both the first cohort of 18 middle school teachers, and the second cohort of 20 elementary teachers, participated over the course of three summers and two academic years. The model implemented for cohort 1 was refined for cohort 2. Video and other forms of data were collected to examine the nature of the change achieved in both the teachers and the students. Using this data set, the team established a representation of the repertoire of practice used by teachers and whether and how it has changed across time. Successful strategies were been incorporated into a project website on Reading to Learn in Science,

The Stanford team also developed a MOOC “Reading to Learn in Science” consisting of four 5-hour sessions: Session 1: What is Reading to Learn?, Session 2: A Pre-During-Post Model of Reading Support, Session 3: Challenges of Science Texts, and Session 4: Leading Discussions of Science Texts. For more information, please visit

This site was originally prepared for districts and teachers who partnered with us throughout the project. While we have updated the text, many of the videos included on this site were prepared during the launch of the study. Although the project has come to a close, we are keeping the site and related videos available for those who are interested to learn more about the project.

The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305F100026 to the Strategic Education Research Partnership as part of the Reading for Understanding Research Initiative. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.

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