Read Stephanie Macceca’s Reading Strategies for Social Studies

Reading Strategies for Social Studies

 Read the following excerpts from Stephanie Macceca’s Reading Strategies for Social Studies Second Edition.

Everyone Should Teach Reading

The saying “Every teacher is a teacher of reading” is well known but not always true. It is usually regarded as the task of the English or language arts teacher to guide students through the effective use of comprehension strategies as they read. Although students read in almost every subject area they study, content-area teachers typically overlook the need for guiding students through their textbook-based and trade book-based reading tasks. Comprehension strategies best serve students when they are employed across the curricula and in the context of their actual learning. It is only then that students can independently use the strategy successfully when reading. Students typically read literature or fictional stories for Enlight or language arts, but they will spend the majority of their adulthood reading informational texts, expository writing. The strategies that students learn to comprehend literature are different from those they use for informational (nonfictional) text. It is important to note that around fourth and fifth grade, educators see a drop in reaching achievement. At this time, students seem to lose interest in reading independently, spend less time reading for pleasure, and struggle more to read the materials required of them at school. It is for this reason that all teachers at all levels must actively pursue watts to greatly enhance their students’ ability to understand reading material, and this can be accomplished by working directly with racing comprehension strategies.











Social Studies Reading

The goal of literacy in social studies is to develop in students a curiosity about the people and the world around them to promote effective citizenry in a culturally diverse world. Studying relationships among people and between people and the environment should help students make better sense of the people and cultures in the world in which they live. To accomplish this, students must learn how to investigate and reflect on various social, economic, cultural, religious, and geographical topics. Students usually look to their textbooks, often the only books they have for social studies instruction, to find the answers to their questions, but this confines them to a realm that is often too abstract to understand. Harms and Yager (1981, as cited by Lapp, Flood, and Farnan 1996) point out that “surveys of what goes on in science and social studies programs at the elementary and secondary levels reveal that the textbook is most often a major, if not the only, component of instruction” (31). Furthermore, teachers often use the textbook in a passive manner.

Students read the book, answer questions, listen to a lecture, take notes, and take a test on the reading material. These students typically do not learn how to read the text effectively or independently to future their interest in and learning about any given subject. However, there is a tremendous jump in achievement when students are actively engaged in activities that go beyond the textbook. By introducing a wide variety of social studies-based reading related to their studies, students learn that not all social studies information comes from one textbook. Many people are interested in social studies topics, and the available reading material reflects this. Expanding learning beyond the textbook both empowers students to become independent learners and exposes them to perspectives and topics they might otherwise overlook.