It is not a good practice to teach social studies in isolation, or to neglect the content instruction altogether. As Amigos Por Vida educators, we continue to support social studies by integrating the subject into reading. It is important to keep a balance between content instruction and reading strategies instruction. Social studies texts are used to teach students how to comprehend non-fiction reading.
For example, our third-grade students use captions, photos, graphs, charts, maps, and so on to aid their reading apprehension. Ms. Gutierrez teaches her students not only how to identify non-fiction text features, but also how to use them to interpret the information. Social studies is embedded into literacy routines. Students use current events to discuss relevant news. Read alouds are used as a supplement for the social studies curriculum. Writing happens as a response to the non-fiction reading, creating a deeper content knowledge.
Social studies and reading become more rigorous and relevant to students as they are able to make connections and relate to the non-fiction passages. They are also able to grasp a strong understanding of author’s purpose for writing social studies texts. Integration facilitates deeper understanding, which in turn enables students to apply the new acquired concepts across any content area and beyond.