Your time as a classroom teacher is limited. You want your students to learn everything they possibly can in your social studies curriculum, but you want them to be able to read and apply their knowledge as well. Reading comprehension skills are necessary in every subject area including social studies. These ways to teach reading in social studies will not only maximize your time in class but also help your learners apply reading skills in all content areas!
Ways to Teach Reading in Social Studies
What is a Comprehension Quest? Students read and examine comprehension passages multiple times in order to complete six tasks and "race" to the finish! A little bit of competition helps your students learn and grow as readers and historians!
Each quest includes the following:
Go on a Comprehension Quest
- Fill in the Blank Reading Passage
- Vocabulary Practice
- Crossword Puzzle
- Text Marking
- True or False Word Scramble
- Summary and Supporting Details Graphic Organizer
- Student Completion Sheet
- Teacher Answer Key (when applicable)
- Teacher Directions
Have your students choose books on a Social Studies topic of their choice. Silent, free reading is proven to increase comprehension! Sometimes you don't even have to have a task involved. Just explore the school library or give your students a list of books to choose from. Here are some American and World History categories for your learners to explore!
Nonfiction Book Reading
One of my favorite ways to reinforce and teach reading in Social Studies is with Escape Rooms! What are escape rooms? Escape rooms are a series of puzzles and codes that students must solve after reading reading passages. When they solve the puzzles, they "escape" the room.
Each Escape Room requires students to read the comprehension passages in order to solve the puzzle. Passages are differentiated to make sure all learners can participate!
Four activities come with each escape room, each including a reading passage and quiz.
Even if you are using a required social studies textbook in your classroom, you can help students increase their reading and comprehension skills by encouraging them to interact with the text. Since most schools don't allow students to write in textbooks, give your learners some sticky notes and have them mark up the sections as they read.
- ! = Surprising
- * = important
- Circle = words I don't know
- X = contradicts something I thought I knew
- ? = a question I have
- ?? = I don't understand this!