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ASTL 5725/6725/7725 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

ASTL 5725/6725/7725 - Understanding and Implementing Best Practices for Continued Literacy Growth in the Middle Grades (Literacy III)

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

This course engages participants in professional reading about, and discussions of, the following: the nature of reading to learning, and the critical elements of reading process. An in-depth look into the writing process and the 6+ one traits of writing will be investigated and implemented with struggling writers. Classroom instruction and the importance of assessment in reading and writing will be discussed in relation to the direction and utilization of literacy assessment data in the classroom.  This course helps students develop a building block as they move from learning to read into critical reading, and reading to learn. The application of technology, all aspects of diversity, and the use of varied resources will add depth and value to this literacy course.  Literacy III engages participants in professional studies related to understanding and using best practices for continued literacy growth in the middle grades. Additionally, this course reviews the characteristics of a comprehensive middle school reading program, as well as explore popular research-based reading programs currently in middle and high schools.

Course Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will:

  • Discuss the integration of literacy across the content areas
  • Utilize effective literacy strategies associated with content area instruction
  • Report and summarize the major theories of literacy learning and language development
  • Understanding the importance of providing for the literacy needs of all students
  • Compare national and state standardized assessments and the impact on instructional decisions.  
  • Distinguish between formal and informal literacy assessments
  • Utilize effective literacy assessments in planning for differentiated instruction
  • Demonstrate the importance of phonics, high-frequency words, and syllabic analysis
  • Incorporate the seven principles of vocabulary development in instructional practice
  • Apply theories of comprehension in lesson planning
  • Demonstrate an understanding of text-structures and develop content teaching procedures
  • Select appropriate study skills and habits to support content area literacy development
  • Participate in literature discussion groups
  • Survey varied approaches to teaching reading
  • Experience the writing process from pre-writing to publishing
  • Construct a literacy program based on best practices
Prerequisites & Co-requisites:

Teacher certification, admission into the TN eCampus M.Ed. program and completion of ASTL 5721/6721/7721.

Course Topics:
  • Module 1 – Nature of Literacy and Teaching All Students
  • Module 2 – Literacy Evaluations
  • Module 3 – Literacy theory and Strategies and Approached to Teaching Reading
  • Module 4 – Teaching Phonics and Building Vocabulary
  • Module 5 – Understand Text-Structures, Teaching Procedures, Reading and Writing in the Content Area
  • Module 6 – Reading Literature and Writing and Reading
  • Module 7- Creating and Managing a Literature Program
Specific Course Requirements:
  • Access to a middle school student (Grades 4 – 8)
  • Access for working with a middle school student (Within a school or tutorial setting)
  • APA reference style formatting is required

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course. Move your cursor over the "Books" link in the navigation bar and select "Textbooks & Course Materials." Select your Program, Term, Department, and Course; then select "Submit."

Supplementary Materials:


Hardware and Software Requirements:

Minimum hardware requirements can be found here.

Minimum software requirements can be found here.

Common applications you might need:

Web Resources:

Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (for APA, MLA, or Chicago style)

The Writing Center Online Writer's Handbook

Student Resources:
  • Technical support information can be found on the TN eCampus Help Desk page.
  • Smarthinking virtual tutoring is available FREE of charge. to access Smarthinking, visit the course homepage and select Smarthinking under Course Resources. You also view sample sessions to see what Smarthinking offers and how it works.
  • Information on other student issues or concerns can be located on the TN eCampus Student Resources page.

Instructor Information

Please see "Instructor Information" in the Getting Started Module for instructor contact information, virtual office hours, and other communication information. You can expect to receive a response from the instructor within 24-48 hours unless notified of extenuating circumstances.

Participation, Assessments, & Grading

Testing Procedures:
  • Exams will be posted in D2L in the Quizzes section.
  • Mid-Term Exam – Multiple Choice and Short Answer Essay
  • Final Exam - Multiple Choice and Short Answer Essay
Grading Procedures:

Completion of the assignments on time according to the schedule. Participation in discussions with other course participants and instructor. Participation in discussion board topic is required for each Module.


Grading Scale:
Point RangeAssigned Grade
90-100 PointsA
80-89 Points
70-79 PointsC
65-69 PointsD
64 points and belowF


Assignments and Projects:

Getting Started

  • Complete the D2L student training
  • Go to the getting started module under the Content tab of the course.
  • Review the syllabus
  • Preview the required textbook
  • Expect to spend 2-3 hours weekly reading and approximately 2-3 hours on the weekly activities

Module Work

  • Module 1 Chapter 1 and 2 Nature of Literacy and Teaching All Students
  • Module 2 Chapter 3 Evaluation
  • Module 3 Chapter 6 and 10 Theory and Strategies and Approaches to Teaching
  • Module 4 Chapter 4 and 5 Teaching Phonics and Building Vocabulary
  • Module 5 Chapter 7 and 8 Text Structure and Reading and Writing in the Content Area
  • Module 6 Chapter 9 and 11 Reading Literature and Writing and Reading
  • Module 7 Chapter 12 Creating and Managing a Literature Program

In-Depth Assignment

Develop a unit plan with 5 lesson plans and teach the entire literacy –based unit to a student(s) in grades 4-8. Reflection of the planning, teaching, and assessment process related to this unit is required.

Discussion Boards

Students will post a 500 word summary, personal connections, and a question for discussion. Reading the discussion posting and responding to a least 2 peers is required.

Mid-term Exam
Final Exam

Portfolio Submission:
A copy of the Interest Inventory and Attitude Survey that your students completed is the assignment for your ASTL 5725 PORTFOLIO.

Graded Assessments

Six Module activities @ 50 points each300
Six Discussion board activities @ 50 points each300
One extended assignment: Module 7 @ 200 points200
One mid-term exam @ 100 points100
One final exam @ 100 points100
Total Points1,000
Portfolio Project: Module 7 - Uploaded to PortfolioNo Points Attached (Grade Earned From Module 7 Project)


Class Participation:

Weekly assignments are posted in each module and due dates are posted in the calendar. Students are expected to communicate with each other and the instructor via the discussion board and to use the D2L e-mail for questions or concerns. Always check the main page of the course for important announcements. At all times professional conduct is expected. Remember to discuss and focus on the issues.

Late Policy:

Students are to check the calendar for the opening and closing and submitting dates for assignments. The assignments are to be submitted via the digital drop box within the submission time frames.

Course Ground Rules

The following two statements (1., 2.) were derived from the TBR System-wide Student Rules document, released January 2012:


Read the document in its entirety here.

1. Standards of Conduct:

  • Students are required to adhere to the same professional, legal and ethical standards of conduct online as on campus. In addition, students should conform to generally accepted standards of "netiquette" while sending e-mail, posting comments to the discussion board, and while participating in other means of communicating online. Specifically, students should refrain from inappropriate and/or offensive language, comments and actions.

2. Review the TN eCampus Academic Integrity/Academic Honesty Policy:

  • In their academic activities, students are expected to maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited.

Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • an attempt by one or more students to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam
  • to submit as one's own work, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer programs, or other products prepared by another person,
  • or to knowingly assist another student in obtaining or using unauthorized materials.

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.

Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are subject to disciplinary action through the regular procedures of the student’s home institution.  Refer to the student handbook provided by your home institution to review the student conduct policy.

In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or zero for an activity or to assign an "F" for the course.

Other Course Rules:

Students are expected to:

  • Participate in all aspects of the course
  • Communicate with other students
  • Learn how to navigate in Brightspace
  • Keep abreast of course announcements
  • Use the assigned course management (Brightspace) email address rather than a personal email address
  • Address technical problems immediately:
  • Observe course netiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in TN eCampus programs and courses. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading will be included within the course modules. To access the Virtual Library, go to the course homepage and select the Virtual Library link under Course Resources.

Students with Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.


The information contained in this syllabus is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep this information up-to-date and accurate, there may be some discrepancies between this syllabus and the one found in your online course. The syllabus of record is the one found in your online course. Please make sure you read the syllabus in your course at the beginning of the semester. Questions regarding course content should be directed to your instructor.

Last Revised on April 28, 2017