Reading and writing for complexity: Using key concepts and key terms to engage multilingual and other learners in scholarly conversations

Anna Sophia Habib, Karyn Mallett, Sharon Doetsch-Kidder, James Savage, Esther Namubiru

Session Information

Year: 2016 | Time: 2:45pm-4:15pm | Location: Innovation Hall (Room 206)


Mason faculty across the curriculum have expressed concern about their multilingual students’ ability to understand and engage with complex course content (Zawacki and Habib, 2014). This interactive session by composition and language faculty in the INTO Mason undergraduate and graduate pathway programs is designed to respond to this faculty concern. The session will provide strategies for how to teach students to engage with complex course content through conscious attention to the key concepts in their course readings and the terms used to define, describe, expand, and limit those concepts. This approach serves as a foundation for reading comprehension, drawing connections between sources, building an object of study, limiting or shaping the scope of a research question, finding search terms, evaluating sources, and writing coherent academic paragraphs.


Participants will learn tools for teaching deep reading that will allow students to confidently recognize the writing strategies of successful academic scholars. By drawing attention to the conventions and language patterns of academic writing, students can improve their comprehension of complex course content while developing skills for critical thinking, writing, and research.



multilingual support; teaching reading; student writing; reading strategies; rhetorical awareness;


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