Authentic Literacy Applications in CTE: Helping All Students Learn

Project Overview

Principal Investigators

Travis Park
Associate Professor
Cornell University

Improving comprehension skills is vital to building cognitive skills. Reading and literacy skills enable youth to gather information and create knowledge from various sources and then cognitively and creatively consider solutions to problems in and about their lives. By implementing disciplinary reading strategies in CTE curriculum, teachers enable all youth with the requisite skills to succeed in school, careers, and daily life. Further, reading is the gateway skill for learning in other disciplines. Students who read well are able to use oral and written language skills more effectively, solve problems, analyze solutions, and develop a lifelong interest in learning and achieving.

Today’s secondary students must use literacy skills in order to learn important concepts related to their academic and career success. Adept use of literacy skills is requisite for the realization of college and career opportunities. Students must therefore possess the requisite literacy skills for career and academic success. CTE teachers can facilitate the learning processes by scaffolding instruction with literacy strategies. Little research has been conducted on literacy strategies in CTE, however.

Based on the successful Math-in-CTE curriculum integration study and professional development model, the Authentic Literacy in CTE study sought to determine the impact of disciplinary literacy strategies on the reading comprehension, vocabulary development, and motivation to read for students enrolled in CTE courses. The study took place in both pilot and full phases using a randomized group trial design. During the half-year pilot, researchers refined and tested reading models and instructional strategies to improve reading comprehension of all CTE students, even those who struggle with reading for content knowledge and solving problems. These refined strategies were then tested in a full-year study. Findings indicated that reading strategy instruction produced a statistically significant impact on reading comprehension and vocabulary learning.

Literacy-in-CTE professional development is now available nationwide. Learn more.