Reading & Writing in Content Area


Instructor Name:          Dr. Pamela Bernards

Phone:                         509-891-7219

Office Hours:               8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST Monday - Friday


Address:                      Virtual Education Software

                                    16201 E Indiana Ave, Suite 1450

                                    Spokane, WA 99216

Technical Support:        



This course offers instruction in teaching reading and writing in various subject matter fields at the secondary level. The material stresses the skills of vocabulary building, comprehension, and writing, as well as methods for motivating adolescents to read and write.


This computer-based instruction course is a self-supporting program that provides instruction, structured practice, and evaluation all on your home or school computer.  Technical support information can be found, in the Help section of your course.


Course Materials (Online)

Title:                Reading & Writing in Content Area

Instructor:        Dr. Pamela Bernards, Ed.D. 

Publisher:         Virtual Education Software, inc. 2012, Revised 2015, Revised 2018


Academic Integrity Statement

The structure and format of most distance-learning courses presume a high level of personal and academic integrity in completion and submission of coursework. Individuals enrolled in a distance-learning course are expected to adhere to the following standards of academic conduct.


Academic Work

Academic work submitted by the individual (such as papers, assignments, reports, tests) shall be the student’s own work or appropriately attributed, in part or in whole, to its correct source. Submission of commercially prepared (or group prepared) materials as if they are one’s own work is unacceptable.


Aiding Honesty in Others

 The individual will encourage honesty in others by refraining from providing materials or information to another person with knowledge that these materials or information will be used improperly.


Violations of these academic standards will result in the assignment of a failing grade and subsequent loss of credit for the course.


Level of Application

This course is designed to be an informational course with application to work or work-related settings. The reading and writing strategies were designed to be used in the context of teaching content such as mathematics, science, physical education, and history.


Expected Learning Outcomes

As a result of this course, participants will demonstrate their ability to:

1.       Identify various reading skills.

2.       Identify and discuss factors that contribute to reading failure.

3.       Describe and implement approaches to improve comprehension skills.

4.       Identify methods for vocabulary development.

5.       Develop reasonable instructional goals for the content reader.

6.       Stress the acquisition of reading and writing skills across the curriculum.

7.       Summarize research for the teaching of reading and writing at the secondary level.

8.       Provide methods for the teaching of skills using technology resources.

9.       Use specific methods for dealing with reading and writing problems.


Course Description

The course Reading & Writing in Content Area has been divided into four chapters. This course will provide information on such issues as recognizing reading difficulties, assessing textbooks, and the integration of reading strategies within a content area. The strategies taught are aligned with the Praxis Reading Across the Curriculum test guide and the Reading in the Content Area national standards.


The first chapter is an overview of theories of teaching adolescents and language acquisition. The second, third, and fourth chapters discuss current theory regarding the teaching of reading, including phonics, fluency, and motivation. In addition to the theory, these chapters challenge the learner to use specific teaching reading strategies. Strategies are given with step-by-step directions for a teacher to integrate into curriculum the next day.


These four chapters should give you an understanding of the various strategies with step-by-step teaching techniques to successfully integrate reading into your daily content teaching.


After you have completed each chapter of the course, an examination will be used to evaluate your knowledge and ability to apply what you’ve learned.


Student Expectations 

As a student you will be expected to:

·         Complete all four information sections showing a competent understanding of the material presented in each section.

·         Complete all four section examinations, showing a competent understanding of the material presented.  You must obtain an overall score of 70% or higher, with no individual exam score below 50%, and successfully complete ALL writing assignments to pass this course. *Please note: Minimum exam score requirements may vary by college or university; therefore, you should refer to your course addendum to determine what your minimum exam score requirements are.

·         Complete a review of any section on which your examination score was below 50%.

·         Retake any examination, after completing an information review, to increase that examination score to a minimum of 50%, making sure to also be achieving an overall exam score of a minimum 70% (maximum of three attempts). *Please note: Minimum exam score requirements may vary by college or university; therefore, you should refer to your course addendum to determine what your minimum exam score requirements are.

·         Complete all course journal article and essay writing assignments with the minimum word count shown for each writing assignment.

·         Complete a course evaluation form at the end of the course.


Course Overview

Chapter 1: Reading & Writing as a Process

This chapter discusses theorists such as Piaget and how their research is applicable to teaching adolescents. This chapter will also provide an overview of language acquisition theories. The “big picture” of integrating reading into content areas is the main focus.


Chapter 2:  Reading/Writing Environment, Materials, Instruction

This chapter discusses motivational theory and techniques and connecting reading to students’ lives. The main focus of this chapter is on strategies such as Inquiry Questions, Questioning the Author, Editor Interview, and Socratic Seminars.


Chapter 3: Reading/Writing Comprehension

This chapter discusses characteristics of good readers. The main focus of this chapter is on strategies such as an Anticipation Guide, DRT, KWL, DIA, and SQ3R.


Chapter 4: Vocabulary & Assessment

This chapter discusses the importance of teaching vocabulary within the context of a content area. The main focus of this chapter is on Word Maps, Semantic Maps, Discussion Webs, RAFT, Concept Maps and the Frayer Model.  This chapter also discusses informal assessment of readers and of curriculum. Other areas of focus for this chapter include the use of Reading Inventories, GRI, and Cloze.



At the end of each course section, you will be expected to complete an examination designed to assess your knowledge. You may take these exams a total of three times. Your last score will save, not the highest score.  After your third attempt, each examination will lock and not allow further access.  The average from your exam scores will be printed on your certificate.  However, this is not your final grade since your required writing assignments have not been reviewed.  Exceptionally written or poorly written required writing assignments, or violation of the academic integrity policy in the course syllabus, will affect your grade.  As this is a self-paced computerized instruction program, you may review course information as often as necessary. You will not be able to exit any examinations until you have answered all questions. If you try to exit the exam before you complete all questions, your information will be lost. You are expected to complete the entire exam in one sitting.


Writing Assignments

All assignments are reviewed and may impact your final grade.  Exceptionally or poorly written assignments, or violation of the Academic Integrity Policy (see course syllabus for policy), will affect your grade. Fifty percent of your grade is determined by your writing assignments, and your overall exam score determines the other fifty percent.  Refer to the Essay Grading Guidelines which were sent as an attachment with your original course link. You should also refer to the Course Syllabus Addendum which was sent as an attachment with your original course link, to determine if you have any writing assignments in addition to the Critical Thinking Questions (CTQ) and Journal Article Summations (JAS).  If you do, the Essay Grading Guidelines will also apply.


Your writing assignments must meet the minimum word count and are not to include the question or your final citations as part of your word count.  In other words, the question and citations are not to be used as a means to meet the minimum word count.


Critical Thinking Questions

There are four CTQs that you are required to complete. You  will need to write a minimum of 500 words (maximum 1,000) per essay. You  should explain how the information that you gained from the course will be applied and clearly convey a strong understanding of the course content as it relates to each CTQ.  To view the questions, click on REQUIRED ESSAY and choose the CTQ that you are ready to complete; this will bring up a screen where you may enter your essay.  Prior to course submission, you may go back at any point to edit your essay, but you must be certain to click SAVE once you are done with your edits.


You must click SAVE before you write another essay or move on to another part of the course.

Journal Article Summations

You are required to write, in your own words, a summary on a total of three peer-reviewed or scholarly journal articles (one article per JAS), written by an author with a Ph.D., Ed.D. or similar, on the topic outlined within each JAS section in the “Required Essays” portion of the course  (blogs, abstracts, news articles or similar are not acceptable). Your article choice must relate specifically to the discussion topic listed in each individual JAS. You will choose a total of three relevant articles (one article per JAS) and write a thorough summary of the information presented in each article (you must write a minimum of  200 words with a 400 word maximum per JAS). Be sure to provide the URL or the journal name, volume, date, and any other critical information to allow the facilitator to access and review each article. 


To write your summary, click on REQUIRED ESSAYS and choose the JAS that you would like to complete. A writing program will automatically launch where you can write your summary. When you are ready to stop, click SAVE.  Prior to course submission you may go back at any point to edit your summaries but you must be certain to click SAVE once you are done with your edits. For more information on the features of this assignment, please consult the HELP menu.

You must click SAVE before you write another summary or move on to another part of the course.


Instructor Description

Pamela Bernards has 37 years of combined experience in diverse PK-8, high school, and higher education settings as a teacher and an administrator. In addition to these responsibilities, she was the founding director of a K-8 after-school care program and founder of a pre-school program for infants to 4-year-olds. The schools she served as a principal and as a curriculum coordinator were named U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence. Her areas of interest include curriculum, research-based teaching practices, staff development, assessment, data-driven instruction, and instructional intervention (remediation and gifted/talented). She received a doctorate in Leadership and Professional Practice from Trevecca Nazarene University. She currently serves as the Director of Professional Development for the National Catholic Educational Association.


Contacting the Instructor

You may contact the instructor by emailing Pamela Bernards at or calling her at (509) 891-7219 Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. PST. Phone messages will be answered within 24 hours. Phone conferences will be limited to ten minutes per student, per day, given that this is a self-paced instructional program. Please do not contact the instructor about technical problems, course glitches, or other issues that involve the operation of the course.


Technical Questions

If you have questions or problems related to the operation of this course, please try everything twice. If the problem persists please check our support pages for FAQs and known issues at and also the Help section of your course.


If you need personal assistance then email or call (509) 891-7219.  When contacting technical support, please know your course version number (it is located at the bottom left side of the Welcome Screen) and your operating system, and be seated in front of the computer at the time of your call. 


Minimum Computer Requirements

Please refer to VESi’s website: or contact VESi if you have further questions about the compatibility of your operating system.


Refer to the addendum regarding Grading Criteria, Course Completion Information, Items to be Submitted, and how to submit your completed information. The addendum will also note any additional course assignments that you may be required to complete that are not listed in this syllabus.


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