Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory

pp 1-7

Date: Latest Version

Academic Literacy Across the Curriculum

  • Jon-Philip ImbrendaAffiliated withSeidel School of Education and Professional Studies, Salisbury University Email author 
  • , Michael W. SmithAffiliated withCollege of Education, Temple University


Reading theory Writing theory Transfer Cognitive theory Sociocultural theory Genre theory


This entry examines academic literacies across the curriculum with respect to the orientations scholars have developed to the nature of the knowledge of reading and writing required for academic literacy and to the extent to which that knowledge is generalizable across different texts and different contexts. The focus is on reading and writing here as these are the most prevalent modes of participation in academic settings, recognizing both that students engage in a wide variety of other literacies outside school and that both in-school and out-of-school literacies could be enriched by a more permeable boundary between those settings. The questions of if, when, and how learners transfer or appropriate knowledge across domains and contexts has long been of interest to educational psychologists, and research in academic literacy has paralleled those debates (Smagorinsky and Smith 1992). Three distinct understandings have emerged: academic literacy as general knowledge, as gen ...

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