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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding resource for helping all students become independent readers, thinkers and writers!, November 23, 2011
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This review is from: Reading Like a Historian: Teaching Literacy in Middle and High School History Classrooms (0) (Paperback)
As a middle and high school history teacher, I want my students to learn to think like historians -- to read primary sources deeply and critically, to weigh different accounts, and to develop and defend their own interpretations of the past. I also want to help them become stronger, more independent readers of a variety of texts. And, of course, I want them to develop content knowledge that includes not just who, what and when, but a good understanding of the themes and concepts that give meaning to the facts.

I have spent years teaching and providing instructional coaching in classrooms where students range in reading level from primary through college. And I have spent hours combing through primary sources in search of ones that will be compelling and accessible to my students, and hours more doing my own background reading to determine the major issues for a given event. There have been plenty of times when I've run classes that only do part of what I want to do, or only do what I want to do for some of my students.

If this sounds familiar, this book is for you. Reading Like A Historian is easy to use, but not in the "follow this script" way. The authors assume that teachers are knowledgeable in their content area and about their students, and provides tools teachers can use flexibly to meet the needs of their classrooms. Reading Like a Historian also assumes that, as a teacher, your goal is not one or two interesting activities but rather a course that engages students consistently and supports them in becoming independent readers, writers and thinkers.

Each unit includes all of the pieces you need -- an essay that provides an overview of the historiography of the event, and situates the sources provided within that historiography; suggestions about the disciplinary questions that drive a unit; several lesson "plans" for how you might use the resources; primary source documents -- both an adapted version suitable for middle school readers and the original for stronger readers; and tools that support students as they read the documents (graphic organizers, focus questions, writing prompts, etc.). The units can be used alone, but using them together will help students develop proficiency with the tools of a historian - analyzing images, corroborating sources, citing evidence, etc. The tools and lessons would also be easy to adapt for use with other topics and materials, and the authors suggest this as a way to further build students' abilities to think like historians. Each chapter provides a list of skills developed by the activities and documents in that unit.
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Reviewer

J. Clark
(REAL NAME)   

Location: Washington, DC

Top Reviewer Ranking: 23,799,776