National Writing Project

National Reading Initiative Project

NRI Advancing Literacy: Expanding Our Offerings

In 2008, eight writing project sites with a shared interest in providing high-quality professional development in reading to content area teachers participated in a summer institute to study, refine, and expand their professional development offerings for teachers across the curriculum in middle and high school.

Focusing on understanding the literacy demands of the content areas and honoring the knowledge and expertise of content area teachers, these writing project sites continue to develop programming that expands their offerings for content area teachers.

Eight Participating Sites

Boise State Writing Project, Idaho

The Boise State Writing Project has formed a task force to evaluate the summer institute. The task force poses questions such as:

  • How do we make the summer institute more appealing and useful for content area teachers?
  • What types of readings might work better for content area teachers?
  • Why have some content area teachers stayed involved in the site?
  • Why have others not stayed involved?

The site uses learnings from the task force to develop content for an advanced institute focusing on content area teachers.

Hoosier Writing Project, Indiana

The Hoosier Writing Project's pilot program brings together a group of eight content area teachers from different disciplines at a single high school. In this project they study uses of literacy in each discipline in order to  create a cadre of experts and a library of resources. In addition, they present their findings to the school board.

Eastern Kentucky University Writing Project, Kentucky

The Eastern Kentucky University Writing Project's task force inquires into the cultures, resources, and needs of teachers in the content areas. Their primary goal is to understand content area teachers' views of literacy so they can support these teachers' development. This task force creates content area resources and a strategic plan for the writing project site.

Western Kentucky University Writing Project, Kentucky

The Western Kentucky University Writing Project holds a series of meetings with content area teachers to define literacy specific to teachers' content, seeks and utilizes available resources, and recruits content area teachers to the site. In addition, team members coach teachers in their districts during the school year and duplicate many of the activities from the Expanding Our Offerings summer institute as means of professional development.

Western Massachusetts Writing Project, Massachusetts

Western Massachusetts Writing Project has created a content area literacy inquiry group to identify the needs of content area teachers in their service area (with three content area teachers from high-needs, low-income districts). A fall conference offers the opportunity to present findings from the project.

Hudson Valley Writing Project, New York

The Hudson Valley Writing Project has developed a study group in which participants study uses of literacy and the language that content area teachers use to describe literacy in their content areas. The group's research informs an advanced institute and presentations at local conferences.

Pennsylvania Writing and Literature Project, Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Writing and Literature Project has formed an on-site year-long study group in the high school of an economically and academically struggling district. The study group, which includes eight teachers and two writing project facilitators, asks the question What does content area literacy mean?

Fox Valley Writing Project, Wisconsin

The Fox Valley Writing Project has created a study group with teachers from a single discipline. The study group, facilitated by a summer institute team member, investigates such questions as How does your discipline define literacy? and What current literacy practices in your classroom support content learning? They hope to increase content area teacher participation in the summer institute and in the site's leadership.


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