Read.Inquire.Write. prepares students to write arguments that are supported by evidence and disciplinary reasoning. To accomplish this overarching goal, students learn to read and analyze sources, recognize multiple perspectives, assess the reliability of sources, discuss and deliberate sources and ideas, and develop disciplinary language. In working on writing, students also improve their reading, analysis, and speaking skills along with their knowledge of the particular topics under investigation. These goals are consistent with the C3 Framework for Social Studies State Standards and the Common Core State Standards for Literacy.
Read.Inquire.Write. breaks argument writing down into three types - interpretation, critique, and counterargument - to create a progression of increasingly complex writing that builds students' disciplinary literacy skills over time. Students can spend a year working on each type of argument writing, so we share four investigations centered on each. We developed these investigations to create a progression from interpreting sources to critiquing the arguments of others, and finally to developing counterarguments that rebut others' claims. The interpretation investigations were originally developed to be used by 6th grade students, the critique investigations by 7th grade students, and the counterargument investigations by 8th grade students, but you can adjust them for any of these grade levels and the writing focus that you want to support.
Interpretation: Make an argument for an interpretation. Students read sources and interpret them to make claims and reason about the evidence they offer.
Critique: Make an argument against an interpretation. Students read sources and interpret them to critique an argument that someone else has made about an issue.
Counterargument: Make an argument for an interpretation while recognizing and rebutting or responding to other possible interpretations. Students read sources and interpret them to argue for a position and rebut other views to counter the argument someone else might make.
Each type of argument writing calls for students to write claims that are supported by evidence and reasoning. The disciplinary literacy tools support the development of claims, evidence, and reasoning across all of the investigations, with slight variation by type of writing.
Claim: A position in response to a compelling or central question or problem.
Evidence: Use of sources, examples, or details to support a claim and build the argument.
Reasoning: Explanation of how evidence supports the claim and whether and how the evidence is reliable given the question or problem under consideration.