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Teaching reading in the social studies is no longer optional

Teaching reading as part of your social studies instruction is no longer optional. It just isn’t. Whether you agree with the Common Core movement or not, doesn’t matter. Good social studies instruction has always required the integration of reading and writing. The Common Core standards are simply confirming what great history teachers have always believed and practiced.

And in Kansas, where I live and breathe, many of the Common Core reading and writing pieces are embedded directly into the new state Social Studies standards document. The state assessment, due out as a pilot this coming spring and in full-blown mode by 2015-2016, will measure discipline-specific reading and writing skills. It’s not about memorizing content anymore.

Asking your kids to read and write as part of the discipline is no longer optional. In my mind, consciously deciding to not integrate reading and writing as part of your instruction is educational malpractice.

But I also understand that because it’s been optional up till now, many teachers who want to integrate reading and writing strategies are unsure about what that sort of instruction looks like. So a few suggestions and resources.

First suggestion?

Head over to Reading Like a Historian. Check out both the Curriculum and Assessment links. Download their stuff. Use it right away. Make your kids smarter.

And you have my permission to stop right there. The Stanford stuff is just that good. But feel free to check out the resources below. Most of it is specific to social studies. Some of it is just solid, research-based reading / writing strategies. But all of it useful.

Provides a free, research-based, and Common Core-aligned reading comprehension curriculum for grades K-6. Has specific lessons as well as novels and reading passages you can align to social studies curriculum.
Children’s Literature with Social Studies
Great resources for K-6 teachers
Literacy in Social Studies
Some useful links and tutorials
ReadingQuest: Making Sense in Social Studies
A website designed for social studies teachers who wish to more effectively engage their students with the content in their classes
Reading Strategies for the Social Studies Classroom
Use these practice activities to help struggling readers with comprehension
Reading, Writing and Researching for History
Written for college kids but could be adapted for MS and HS use
Notable Tradebooks
Yearly list of K-8 tradebooks by the National Council for the Social Studies
Schools of California Online Resources for Education / History & Social Studies
Lessons and extensive book lists by grade
Opening Doors with Childrens Lit
Book titles by topic
Reading Strategies for the Social Studies Classroom (pdf)
Helpful ideas from middle school teachers
Instructional Strategies for Social Studies Teachers
Purpose of these activities is to help teachers effectively engage students with difficult content in their classes using reading and writing strategies

Because it’s not optional. Not anymore.

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3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jill Weber #

    Love, LOve, LOVe, LOVE the Stanford History Ed lesson plans. They are awesome! 🙂

    September 3, 2013
    • glennw #

      So . . . you’re saying that you love the SHEG lesson plans? 😉


      September 4, 2013

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