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Improving Reading Comprehension Skills in High School Biology Curricula

Author: Stuart Surrey


Philadelphia High School for Girls

Year: 2013

Seminar: Understanding the Process of Science and Evaluation of Evidence

Grade Level: 9-12

Keywords: biological sciences, Biology, Reading, reading skills, reading strategies

School Subject(s): Biology, English, Language Arts, Science

Personal observations as a high school science teacher spanning a twenty-seven year career with the School District of Philadelphia has led to the conclusion that academic achievement in the sciences, whether that be in the life sciences or the physical sciences, is directly related to a student’s ability to read and comprehend grade level informational text. With that in mind, this curriculum unit will examine current literature regarding the state of science literacy at the secondary level, in addition to, various pedagogical strategies and resources that can be used in a traditional high school biology classroom. The main goal of this unit is to incorporate a variety of teaching strategies throughout the year that will ultimately improve the reading comprehension skills in various high school biology courses. It is intended to address two distinct groups of students. The first group includes ninth grade students who are taking the School District of Philadelphia’s standardized curriculum for biology. The second group includes those students enrolled in the standard level International Baccalaureate (IB) biology course and who are in the eleventh or twelve grades.

Download Unit: Surrey-Stuart-Unit.pdf

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