Thematic Working Group Adolescent & Disciplinary Literacy

Thematic Working Group Adolescent & Disciplinary Literacy

Chairpersons: Christine Garbe ( email, Expert Page) and Dorothee Gaile (email. Expert page

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Work Programme of the Thematic Working Group “Adolescent & Disciplinary Literacy”

The Thematic Working Group (TWG) “Adolescent & Disciplinary Literacy” is based on international research findings showing that literacy skills and attitudes have to be developed not only in early and primary childhood, but in adolescence and later in adulthood as well. The concept of “adolescent literacy” covers both, in-school and out-of-school literacy practices of young people in print and digital media, the concept of “disciplinary literacy” or “content area literacy” is focusing on learning contexts within formal institutions like secondary schools or vocational education. Whereas “content area literacy” aims at teaching reading and writing “across the curriculum”, the idea behind “disciplinary literacy” is that teachers need to teach discipline-specific reading and writing skills in each school subject, as understanding a historical source requires other skills than understanding a mathematical task or writing a report about a chemistry experiment. All teachers except being experts in their disciplines thus need to become also teachers of their discipline-specific literacy. As in most cases teachers have not been qualified for these tasks our TWG has a special focus on professional development of teachers. We want to build our future work on a series of European projects starting in 2011 ff. which developed a European curriculum for teachers’ professional development in literacy teaching: BaCuLit, ISIT and BleTeach ( We will further develop and disseminate the results of these projects in all European countries.

Our TWG is addressing parents, educators and teachers in secondary schools and other literacy professionals who work with adolescents. The Work Programme of our TWGs consists of the following topics:

  1. Communication and Networking among Literacy Professionals: On our website our literacy experts can display their individual expert profile in English language and thus gain international visibility. Our TWG will contribute to European literacy conferences, organize workshops, lectures or symposia in cooperation with existing networks or apply for funding of own meetings and conferences.
  2. Good Practice exchange: We will continue to collect and review good practice examples in literacy policies and programmes all over Europe and further develop, update and disseminate the “European Framework of Good Practice in Raising Literacy Levels among Children, Adolescents and Adults”.
  3. Policy Advocacy: We will advocate for European literacy policy development on national and European levels and issue thematic policy papers on “hot” literacy topics according to the ELINET European Declaration of the Right to Literacy which identifies 11 conditions, some of them relevant to the age group we study.
  4. Research: We will identify and share important new research findings regarding our age group on the ELINET website, initiate joint research projects among our members and identify research gaps in our field. Thus we will contribute towards setting up an international literacy research agenda.



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