3:18 read

Reading Skills in Heritage Studies

Social studies courses provide unique opportunities for promoting literacy skills. They introduce students to primary sources, teach visual analysis skills, and rely on informational texts. We have designed our elementary heritage studies products to strengthen and develop reading skills and to help students discern the information they read through a biblical worldview. These skills help students become effective Christian citizens. Here are some recommendations for how to promote literacy using our Heritage Studies 1 and 2 courses!

Comparing and contrasting

Comparing and contrasting is one of the first higher-order reading comprehension skills. Teachers can help students compare and contrast by asking questions such as how is communication different than it was in the past, or what are needs that all people have? Another way to have students practice this skill in social studies is to have them organize things that are similar. Our student activity manuals use activities like Venn diagrams to help students visualize similarities and differences. These activities help students learn to respectfully consider differing ideas by comparing them to the Bible to find areas of agreement and disagreement.

Discerning historical fact from fiction

In an age of easily accessible information on the internet, students should develop the ability to recognize facts from opinions at an early age. Christian teachers help students develop discernment to avoid being misled by false information and to become skilled at discovering truth. Teachers can assign exercises for students to practice recognizing opinions against facts. In our Heritage Studies 1 student activity manual, we provide paragraphs for students to underline the sentences that are facts in one color and sentences that are opinions in another. These activities teach students that sentences that say "I think" or "I feel" are statements of opinion not fact.

Identifying main ideas and supportive details in text

Looking for the main idea in a text helps students understand and retain information better. Teachers can ask guiding questions to help students find the main idea of a text. Before, during, and after reading questions encourage students to decipher the main idea from the details. Once students find the main idea, teachers can help the students identify the details that illustrate the main point in the text. Our activity manual has students identify the main idea from an informational paragraph and then mark the sentences with the supporting details.

Interpreting visual information

When students learn to analyze visual information, they will have a greater context for and understanding of the written information. Our student editions are full of images that support and enhance the informational text. Throughout our student editions and activity manuals, students practice interpreting charts, graphs, maps, and other graphic information. The student activity manuals also focus on interpreting visual information through reading diagrams and on interpreting data. For example, one activity has students study an image of the water cycle with numbers corresponding to each stage of the process. Students then match the numbers on the diagram to a sentence explaining that part of the process.

Writing and listening

Because students first learn language through their auditory senses, supplementing reading practice with writing and listening helps students grow their vocabulary and understanding of grammar constructions. Students will practice their writing skills by filling out short answer questions. Teachers will help students take the appropriate information out of a text to fill in the blanks.. Students will also write from a given prompt to help them refine their ability to turn thoughts into written words.

Teachers can help students develop listening skills by reading the student pages aloud and providing additional information about the text from the teacher editions. The teacher editions also have additional enrichment activities to be given as oral instruction to test students' listening skills.

Using and creating graphic organizers

Turning given information into a visual representation helps students to better understand and interpret what they’ve learned, and it forces them to read thoughtfully to look for the necessary information. Activities to help students practice this ability include creating timelines, matching images to a corresponding category, and compiling a Venn diagram. Our student activities manuals provide activities for students to create many different forms of graphic organizers.

Asking and answering key questions

As students mature in their reading skills, they will begin to ask questions about the text for themselves. When students can ask and answer key questions about a text for themselves, they can begin to master the text by interpreting the main ideas for themselves. Have students answer questions before, during, and after reading a text. These questions will help students learn to self-monitor independent study by knowing what information to look for. Students will also learn to ask questions when reading to discern the meaning of a text.

Determining vocabulary words in context

Part of learning to read is learning to figure out what a word means in its context, without having to look up every unknown word in a dictionary. While students are building their vocabulary, the teacher asks the students what a word means before giving them the definition. Asking students to define the words makes them think about the word and work out what it means based on the sentence it is in or the images around it. Once students have come up with a definition from context, look up the word in a glossary or dictionary to check their answer. Our student editions simplify this process by bolding the words that are new and then listing the bolded terms in the glossary in the back of the book.

As students gain skills and learn strategies to analyze informational texts, they will develop a greater appreciation for social studies. Students will be able to take learning into their own hands and seek out additional information. They will also be prepared to be thoughtful, equipped Christian citizens of their community. A strong foundation of reading skills through a biblical worldview can turn students into lifelong lovers of reading and learning.

Filed Under:
Category: Textbooks