Teaching Social Studies is Teaching Reading - Natalie Wexler

Under pressure to boost test scores over the last 20 years, elementary schools have marginalized social studies to focus on reading comprehension skills like “finding the main idea.” But research shows that comprehension primarily depends on how much knowledge and vocabulary the reader has relating to the topic. When students reach high school, they often lack the background knowledge assumed by grade-level texts. The solution? Elementary students should be getting more social studies and other content-rich subjects, not less. And at any grade level, explicit writing instruction grounded in the content of the curriculum can build knowledge and compensate for gaps.