Chapter 8

Scaffolding: Setting the Bar High and Raising Students to It

When it was time to paint my house, I had to recruit skilled laborers (i.e, my dad and brother-in-law) and borrow a bunch of ladders in order to get the job done. This scaffolding is not only for home improvement though – skilled teachers and instruction that builds ladders is crucial.

In this chapter, I discuss the importance of scaffolding skills necessary for success. One way to model, or scaffold these skills is to create a Literacy Trekker. I provided the Literacy Trekker on The Outsiders, but the same template can be used from kindergarten to college, with increasing complexity.

Scaffolding writing is also important when students first learn to write. As they grow comfortable with the provided template, they can begin to break rules of form, but they must first understand the rules they are breaking. An example of this is the Assignment Organization for the Early Explorer Persuasive Letter.

Providing students with rubrics and checklists is also important. Revision Checklist is one example for middle grade students, while the Checklist is appropriate for early elementary students.

Optional Activities:

In Chapter 8, you learned about reading strategy instruction. Given that one of goals of the Common Core is to improve literacy across the content area, this impacts all of us. Think about how you currently teach reading strategies. If you don’t, why not? Choose one of the following and work alone or with a partner:

After examining the resources above, you may want to complete one of the following prompts.

  • Make a list of pros and cons about teaching reading strategies in your subject area, regardless of what it is.
  • Write to discuss your comfort level with teaching reading strategies.
  • Write a letter to your colleagues, noting why it’s important that everyone teach reading strategies.