Jay Tope's Social Studies Literacy Resource Center

Social Studies Literacy Resources: Conclusion
We all have learned in schools where content literacy skills are taught in isolation. Yes, we learned about literacy, but our teachers failed in using literacy in order to learn. In fact, literacy should be a tool for learning in every classroom (MacPhee, 264). The strategies that I've shown help prove the connection between social studies and literacy. Research has shown as much, and I have witnessed this in some of the classes that I've observed over the past few years. 

This is not without its challenges. Literacy content needs to take into account the increase of English language learners in the classroom, as well as the inclusion of students with special needs (Taboada, 78). This is one reason that content literacy strategies such as the ones I have suggested need to be implemented as early as feasible in each student's academic career. But while others see these challenges as roadblocks, we as educators should see these new challenges as amazing possibilities to spread content literacy farther than anyone could have imagined in the past.

Many similarities exist in how students learn social studies and how they learn literacy. The key is to have the students think, partake in the lessons, use critical thinking skills, prior knowledge activation, and a reminder to all of us that the social studies lessons need to be interactive, interesting, and fun. Use what you've learned on this website, from your classmates, and from Professor Pozos, and let's be the change that is needed in our schools, whatever discipline you have decided to make a positive difference in.


Harvey, Stephanie, and Goudvis, Anne. Strategies That Work : Teaching Comprehension for Understanding and Engagement. York, Maine: Stenhouse Publishers, 2007.

Irvin, Judith L., Lunstrum, John P., Lynch-Brown, Carol, and Shepard, Mary Friend. Enhancing Social Studies Through Literacy Strategies (Bulletin 91). Florida State University College of Education, 1995. accessed on 7/3/19 at https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED414209.pdf

MacPhee, Deborah A., and Whitecotton, Emily J. “Bringing the ‘Social’ Back to Social Studies: Literacy Strategies as Tools for Understanding History.” The Social Studies 102, no. 6 (November 1, 2011): 263–267.

Taboada Barber, Ana, Buehl, Michelle M., Kidd, Julie K., Sturtevant, Elizabeth G., Richey Nuland, Leila, and Beck, Jori. “Reading Engagement in Social Studies: Exploring the Role of a Social Studies Literacy Intervention on Reading Comprehension, Reading Self-Efficacy, and Engagement in Middle School Students with Different Language Backgrounds.” Reading Psychology 36, no. 1 (January 2, 2015): 31–85.

Vacca, Richard T., and Vacca, Jo Anne L. Content Area Reading: Literacy and Learning Across the Curriculum. 7th ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2002. 

Yell, Michael M., Scheurman, Geoffrey, and Reynolds, Keith. “Rethinking Immigration as a Controversy.” Social Education 68, no. 5 (September 1, 2014): 361-363.