BaCuLit Project

BaCuLit Project

Coordination: Institute for German Language and Literature II, University of Cologne (Germany)
Participation: Ten institutions from seven European countries and two US-experts
Project’s duration: January 2011 – December 2012

"This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein."

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Background and Project Objectives

The BaCuLit project is an answer to the reading difficulties of adolescents which have been revealed by the PISA studies and which the educational policy of the EU Commission aims to reduce. The European “Strategic Framework for Education and Training 2020” defined as one major goal: The proportion of 15-year-olds with insufficient abilities in reading, mathematics and science should be less than 15%.”


One reason for these deficits of adolescents is seen in the lack of a systematical reading instruction across the curriculum, which means: not only in the mother tongue lessons but in all subjects in secondary schools. International reading research found that understanding content-related texts should be taught systematically in all subjects and all grades. The term “content area literacy” refers to teachers’ expertise to deal with reading/writing/learning instruction not only on the elementary level in the language arts classes, but in all subjects and all school levels. However, in most European countries, content area teachers are not prepared to fulfill this task. This is where the BaCuLit project intervenes.


Project Information

BaCuLit defines the first overall European minimal standard as well as research-based principles of Professional Development (= PD) for in-service teacher training in content area literacy. The BaCuLit Project offers a PD course containing six modules which include a complete teaching material set of PPTs, worksheets, a Teacher Workbook and a Trainer Handbook with workplans for every course unit and theoretical background information. These Modules contain ´essential´ and ´optional´ content and can be taught flexibly, according to national conditions and the needs of diverse schools, teaching staff or single teachers.

The BaCuLit Consortium was composed by researchers and teacher trainers from 7 European countries (Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania and Sweden) and two American experts (Prof. William G. Brozo and PhD Carol M. Santa) and worked from January 2011 until December 2012. Find more information about the partners and the workplan of the project in the PPT “Basic Information on BaCuLit” in the download-area. In summer 2012, the BaCuLit consortium founded an International BaCuLit Association (open for new members) which will be in charge of further developing the BaCuLit curriculum and defining and controlling quality standards of BaCuLit teachers and BaCuLit trainers via certification. (Statute of the BaCuLit Association and Membership Application can be found in the download area on this homepage.)

BaCuLit offers:

The first draft of the “Basic Curriculum in Content Area Literacy” has been implemented and evaluated in six European countries in pilot courses with the target group, i.e. secondary school teachers of all subjects. After analysing the evaluation results the BaCuLit consortium modified the concept and materials which are now available in their final version:


Module 1: BaCuLit Principles of Lesson Planning

Why reading matters in the content areas

Introduction of the BaCuLit core concepts

BaCuLit lesson planning framework


Module 2: Text Structure & Text Diversity

Students’ text worlds and text diversity in the classroom; what are “authentic texts” and how to use them in content area instruction?

Structures of content area texts & text complexity


Module 3: Vocabulary Instruction

How is vocabulary related to reading competence?

How to teach essential academic vocabulary?


Module 4: Teaching Cognitive and Metacognitive Reading Strategies

What are reading strategies and how to teach them?

Getting to know and to judge different reading strategy programmes


Module 5: Formative Assessment for Content Literacy and Learning

What should be assessed in content area classrooms?

Formative assessment strategies to guide content area instruction


Module 6: BaCuLit Practice of Lesson Planning

Presentation and reflection of teachers‘ own BaCuLit lesson plans

Reflection by teachers on their own professional development


Optional Blocks:

Learning Platform “Moodle”

School-related Reading Activities & Implementation Perspectives

Evaluation Tools and Strategies


On average, the modules´ content covers 6 hours of course work, divided into 3 hour-units, although single modules are longer (e.g. the basic module no. 1) or shorter (e.g. module 3). The BaCuLit framework for lesson planning and the Basic Module No. 1 (containing the conceptual foundations for the whole course) are downloadable on the project website in English. The complete materials (PPTs, Teacher Workbook, Trainer Handbook) will only be available (in the national languages) when attending a BaCuLit course.


Whom BaCuLit addresses:

The BaCuLit project addresses all decision makers in educational policy and in schools who are responsible for the training of secondary school teachers. However, the main target group are the content area teachers participating in the BaCuLit course in order to improve subject specific literacy instruction in their classrooms or to become future BaCuLit trainers (multiplier approach). Finally, the students will benefit from the increased expertise of their teachers as teachers will learn how to support their students by providing guided text comprehension. Furthermore, the project offers teacher training institutions and decision makers in educational policy an evaluated core curriculum for the education and training of teachers which allows reducing the striking deficits of adolescents in reading literacy.