Social studies has long been relegated to the sidelines in the elementary grades. Teachers have often used children’s literature to teach social studies (e.g., Hicks, 1996; Hinde, 2005, 2009; Kent & Simpson, 2008) but there are concerns that this integration shortchanges social studies learning (e.g., Alleman & Brophy, 1993, 1994; Brophy, Alleman, & Knighton, 2007). This qualitative study involved teachers in the primary grades, thinking aloud as they read three picture books with social studies content; the emphasis was on the teachers’ planning processes so students were not present during the study. Participants included 27 experienced teachers from grades K-2, recruited from 14 suburban and rural schools located in a large metropolitan area in the upper Midwest.
Verbal analysis (Chi, 1997) indicated that the participants perceived both social studies and literacy aspects related to each book; more attention was often paid to the social studies content than literacy development. This finding is contrary to research which found that elementary teachers (K-6) often focus on developing literacy skills more than social studies understanding when reading texts to teach social studies (Boyle-Baise, Hsu, Johnson, Serriere, & Stewart, 2008). The 27 participants utilized books for multiple purposes in order to address curriculum demands and time constraints: to teach literacy skills, to develop literary appreciation, and to foster content understanding. These findings have implications for publishers, curriculum planners, and teacher educators, as well as the teachers themselves. Given the resources and freedom to explore both literacy and content aspects of the literature they use in their class, teachers in the primary grades would be both willing and able to meaningfully address both.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. December 2012. Major: Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisor: Patricia G. Avery, Ph.D., 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 246 pages, appendices A-Q.
Harrington, Judith Marie.
Teachers think aloud about picture books for teaching social studies in the primary grades.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.