Civic literacy through literacy instruction: Using Structured Academic Controversy in a government classroom | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 13, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1751-1917
  • E-ISSN: 1751-1925



We present how working with text in the classroom can promote civic literacy aims by adapting and studying a well-known instructional method in Social Studies classrooms called Structured Academic Controversy (SAC). Not only do SACs give students an opportunity to engage in this form of deliberation, it also requires students to first become well informed on the topic (an important aspect of civic literacy) through close reading of text. Such text-based discussion is even more important in promoting comprehension when the texts are dense and complex (e.g. the US Constitution, SCOTUS decisions). In this paper, we propose that to obtain civic literacy, students need to gain a deeper understanding of crucial civic knowledge and information through texts and to evaluate how the information might best serve a democratic society.


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