Depth is what drives lasting, meaningful learning

With our online literacy platform teachers activate, support, and reveal thinking for every student.

Depth is getting beyond the gist and making the text one's own.

Imagine reading an article about a topic totally unfamiliar to you. You read the it once, memorize a few terms for a test, and then forget about it forever. Now imagine that the teacher provides examples of the key ideas and connects the new content to what you already know. You are challenged to evaluate and analyze the ideas in the article. You revisit the text to find evidence for your arguments. You generate questions and revise your misconceptions about the topic. In a few weeks, you still remember the article and can refer to it when you encounter a related idea; it has become relevant to you.

When students attain deep understanding of a text, they:

ESTABLISH MEANING

Explain the text thoroughly, understanding who, what, where, and when.

ANALYZE THE TEXT

Assess, compare, and understand why and how.

APPLY KNOWLEDGE

Apply ideas from the text in new ways such as by writing an original essay or creating a project based on ideas from the text.

Why is depth so challenging?

There are three key roadblocks that prevent students from achieving depth in their reading:

STUDENTS DO NOT KNOW HOW TO THINK WHEN THEY READ FOR DEPTH.

The skills and discipline that expert readers use to navigate a text are far from easy or natural. Reading for depth requires focused attention, the willingness to slow down and re-read certain passages, and a critical perspective that questions, evaluates, and engages in a discourse with the text. This way of thinking is not obvious and often will not happen without guidance and structure.

STUDENTS CANNOT ACCESS THE TEXT AT A BASIC LEVEL

Gaps in content knowledge, language barriers, or reading impairments make comprehension a struggle. Even with the best of intentions, students who cannot make sense of what they read will not achieve depth.

STUDENTS HAVE NO IDEA WHETHER THEY ARE ON TRACK

They may be putting in a high level of effort, but the cognitive skills are still unfamiliar to them. Because their thinking is invisible, they continue to repeat the same mistakes, rely on misconceptions, and may ultimately stop trying.

How to overcome the roadblocks to depth?

The solution to overcoming the roadblocks above is to help teachers activate, support, and reveal student thinking.

ACTIVATE THINKING

Activating thinking entails showing students how to read for depth and ensuring that they adopt the strategies and thought processes of expert readers. Teachers activate thinking by modeling close reading, asking higher-order questions, facilitating discussion, and encouraging students to annotate while they read.

SUPPORT THINKING

Supporting thinking enables students to access the text and receive the guidance they need. Teachers support thinking by making it possible for students to overcome common reading obstacles such as gaps in content knowledge or vocabulary deficits. Technology helps students make sense of the words by offering dyslexic settings, built-in foreign language dictionaries, and text-to-speech.

REVEAL THINKING

Revealing thinking is a means of demonstrating the learning process in order to improve it. Teachers and students need to see how students construct knowledge to assess learning strategies and understand where students are struggling. Revealing thinking consists of having students write extensively while they read, encouraging metacognition, and providing effective feedback for deeper learning.

THE SOLUTION

A comprehensive platform that truly supports teachers

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