National Writing Project

Reading, Thinking, and Writing About History

Date: May 12, 2016

Summary: The authors of Reading, Thinking, And Writing About History talk about six historical investigations and disciplinary literacy practices that will improve the historical thinking and argumentative writing of academically diverse students.


Excerpt from Show

Mark Felton —professor of education at San Jose State University:

The book presents an eighth grade US History curriculum that was developed as part of a grant project, sponsored by the Department of Education, and the curriculum comprises six historical investigations. Students answer a question like: "Were African Americans free after the Civil War", and students then read two documents that present opposing viewpoints, which they use to write essays and answer the historical question. These investigations are sequenced in a series of one-week workshops, complete with lesson plans, readings, and tools to scaffold reading and writing processes for each of the units. But the book also is a guide for teachers. It lays out the underlying principles for the curriculum. It offers sample student work to help teachers think about formative assessment and if there is any feedback they can give. And it provides helpful hints along the way to help teachers enact the lessons."

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