The Missouri Reader Vol. 43, Issue 1 | Page 33


This text highlights the importance of intentionally making literacy a part of the entire school day by breaking through the traditional “block” and places literacy learning as a school-wide focus across content areas.

I recently came across a document online from the Los Angeles Unified School District that organized recommended literacy strategies for teachers in the district. What caught my eye was that these strategies were organized based on the social and emotional development skill each strategy addressed. Based on the social and emotional needs this document outlined, I recognize “Themes that Stick” as a way to emphasize the following skills: student identity & relationships, authentic student choice, engagement, real-world and personal connections, comprehension, and conversation and discussion. This strategy can be modified to fit individual classrooms, and my students always seem to engage and enjoy not only the activity, but also the rich discussion “Themes that Stick” ignites.


Gaston, A., Martinez, J., & Martin, E. P. (2016). Embedding literacy strategies in social studies for eighth-grade students. Journal of Social Studies Education Research, 7(1), 73-95.

Gross, P. (2010). Not another trend: Secondary-level literacy coaching. The Clearing House, 83(1), 130-137.

Middle and high school intervention strategies: Literacy strategies. Los Angeles Unified School District. Retrieved from


Truby, D. (2018, February 13). Re: 11 Essential tips for teaching theme in language arts [Online article]. Retrieved from

Dr. Maggie Beachner is an assistant professor of Teacher Education at Missouri Southern State University. She previously taught high school and at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville before she came back to her home in Missouri. Her doctorate is in Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Arkansas.