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How to use CSI Literacy

CSI Literacy offers rich texts and tasks for literacy teaching and learning in shared-reading and co-operative settings.

These tasks help students to learn close-reading skills, comprehension strategies, academic vocabulary, oral language and fluency across a range of types and disciplines (non-fiction and fiction, social sciences, science and numeracy).

Using the CSI Literacy kits

The CSI Literacy kits follow an evidence-based model that gradually releases responsibility to the students in three steps: shared reading, co-operative learning and individual application.

Research suggests that students should be exposed to new concepts three or four times over a two-day period (Nuthall, as cited in Alton-Lee, 2005, p. 7). CSI Literacy offers several exposures during the shared-reading lesson, followed by several more in the co-operative and independent student activities. Case-study data shows that students who follow this metacognitive learning model make significant, often accelerated, literacy progress.

CSI Literacy helps students become purposeful, critical and independent readers of complex print and digital texts!

The CSI Literacy three-step model

step 1 Shared Reading

What you need:
  • Lesson Plan Book – for teacher use only
  • 15- to 25-minute lesson slot
  • Interactive digital texts
  • Interactive whiteboard, data projector or large screen TV
  • A whole class or group of happy, eager students ready to be a part of a learning community!

The teacher-led lesson:

First, the teacher reads aloud a one-page digital text. They use the lesson plan and their own knowledge to explicitly model to the students how to use a specific comprehension strategy to read and analyse the text closely.

Throughout the lesson, they engage the students in a meaningful discussion about the text, focusing in particular on finding key ideas and information; using evidence from the text to justify thinking; critically analysing the text’s language, structure, point of view and purpose; drawing meaning from information in different formats (diagrams, pictures, graphs etc); and engaging in discipline-specific literacy practices, such as learning new vocabulary from the hyperlinked glossaries. Students are involved in the discussion and take the lead where they can.

At the end of the lesson, the teacher has the option to assign the writing activity (in class or as homework) to reinforce the students’ literacy learning.

CSI Literacy shared-reading texts are presented on a digital interface for shared, collaborative learning. There are hyperlinked academic vocabulary words and many videos to make the contemporary, authentic texts come alive for the students.

step 2 Co-operative Learning Activity

What you need:
  • Co-operative Learning Activities books – one per pair or group
  • Corresponding graphic organiser – one per student
  • 15- to 25-minute lesson slot
  • Transparencies and markers
  • Audio texts and a way to listen to them (listening posts or computers with headphones)
  • Sets of learning partners or small-groups ready to work collaboratively!

The student activity:

Students work co-operatively on a different text to practise the strategy and close-reading skills that they learned in the shared-reading lesson. All co-operative texts are audio supported to build fluency. Together, they read and reread the text closely. They annotate it; talk, listen and write about it; and most of all, engage with it.

Then, they consolidate their ideas and write in response to the text as they complete the graphic organiser for that text. The graphic organisers can be used as a record of student learning over time.

step 3 Independent Writing Reflection

What you need:
  • Reflection Journals (online or hard-copy versions) – one per student
  • Confident students ready for the responsibility of working independently!

The student activity:

Each student independently reflects on their thinking and strategy use, by filling out writing templates in their Reflection Journal. In CSI Literacy, writing is a natural extension of disciplinary literacy, close reading, and comprehension strategy instruction. By regularly writing in their journals, students reinforce and extend their learning of the close-reading and textual analysis strategies and skills.


Alton-Lee, A. G. 2005. “Graham Nuthall: Memories and legacy; How teaching influences learning: Implications for educational researchers, teachers, teacher educators, and policy makers”. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, Montreal.


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