The Ohio Adolescent Literacy Network is a standing committee of regional support specialists who are collectively responsible for supporting literacy initiatives in middle and high schools across the state. Rachel Daniels established the informal network in 2018. As the group’s size and influence grew, they received attention and support from State Support Team 3 who have invested in producing an 8-part webinar series in cooperation with Reading Ways.
While the term, ‘academic language’, is frequently used in educational settings, it still remains unclear which skills and practices educators should teach to support learners’ literacy attainment and, in turn, academic success. In this interactive session, we will unpack what is meant by ‘academic language’ as well as discuss how this language can be taught in classrooms in ways that center our students’ voices. In particular, we will examine how language-focused talk—or metatalk—which uses students’ own language resources and is embedded in day-to-day instruction can support students’ AL development. In this discussion, we will examine the multiple purposes for teaching AL in the classroom, and reflect on how AL instruction can provide students with language resources for critically examining inequality and envisioning social change. This session will conclude by engaging participants in a reimagining of how AL could be taught in their classrooms, schools and districts.