Kim, J., Burkhauser, M., Mesite, L., Asher, C., Relyea, J., Fitzgerald, J. & Elmore, J. (2020). Improving reading comprehension, science domain knowledge, and reading engagement through a first-grade content literacy intervention. Journal of Educational Psychology. 113. 10.1037/edu0000465.
In this study, classroom teachers taught first-grade children about science knowledge while they conducted literacy instruction. Grounding literacy instruction in science content is called content literacy instruction. The aim of content literacy instruction is to help young children acquire conceptually related vocabulary while learning science (and history) content. Results indicate that content literacy instruction can improve first-graders’ science domain knowledge (as measured by vocabulary knowledge depth, listening comprehension, and argumentative writing) and reading comprehension outcomes. Furthermore, there were no negative or adverse effects on first graders’ reading engagement or basic literacy skills. The study suggests that content literacy instruction can improve the rigor, quality, and effectiveness of whole class literacy instruction in the early elementary grades.