Integrate Read.Inquire.Write. Disciplinary Literacy Tools with Other Primary Sources to Support Inquiry & Argument Writing

Note: The first 4 steps are iterative. Revise as needed to align central question, sources, assignment, standards, and knowledge of or considerations about students .

Consider students & standards.

  • Think about your students, and the resources, knowledge, and experiences they bring to this historical or social issue under investigation.
  • Identify investigation learning goals and align with relevant content and skill standards.

Identify a central or compelling question that will guide students’ thinking and argument writing.

  • Identify relevant dominant narratives and open up the content to counternarratives or critique.
  • Consider who benefits from asking or answering the question.
  • Narrow the focus and scope of the content.
  • Select debatable questions with multiple plausible responses.

Design writing assignment.

  • Consider any compelling/supporting questions & Read.Inquire.Write. assignment examples.
  • Search the news for recent events related to topic and consider connecting to local issues.
  • Identify an authentic audience & purpose.

Select sources from the source set: Which sources present different perspectives? Which sources support different plausible arguments in response to the CQ? Whose voices are heard and excluded?

  • Consider how a student could use each source to identify and support possible claims in response to CQ.
  • Create a Source Selection Chart that identifies possible responses to the central question, sources and excerpts from them that support each possible response, and considerations about the reliability of different sources used to support each response. Such a chart helps you check if multiple responses to the central question can be reasonably supported by the sources.

Prepare sources.

  • Use existing process for “Tampering” with sources to adapt/modify sources. See: Sam Wineburg & Daisy Martin (2008), “Tampering with history” article in Social Education.
  • Add headnote to each source to support reasoning and writing. Share info. about where sources come from, who created them & why/for whom, where they appeared. See examples at Read.Inquire.Write.
  • Identify one Bookmark question about the source to support comprehension. See Bookmark Teacher Guide (bottom right).
  • Make decisions to support vocabulary development.

Integrate Read.Inquire.Write. Disciplinary Literacy Tools.

  • Make topic-specific adjustments to the Weigh the Evidence, Planning Graphic Organizer, Useful Language, and Reflection Tools.
  • Decide how many days you’d like to give the writing and inquiry process; integrate the tools to support students in this timeline.

Include activities & materials to connect to students’ incoming knowledge and resources and extend background knowledge.

  • Connect general themes to local issues.
  • Consider students’ strengths, interests, prior experiences, and prior background knowledge.

Examples of Integrating Read.Inquire.Write. Tools with Other Primary Sources

Library of Congress - Jim Crow Example

The Library of Congress leads the Teaching with Primary Sources program and has a trove of primary sources, in addition to sources grouped by theme into sets.  These resources can easily be integrated with Read.Inquire.Write. tools to create investigations on a wide range of topics that also support inquiry and argument writing. 

Here we present one example of how we integrated the Library of Congress’ Jim Crow Primary Source Set with our disciplinary literacy tools. You can access the Library’s many other Primary Source Sets and Other Classroom Materials directly at their site.

Stanford History Education Group - Settlement House example

The Stanford History Education Group (SHEG), a Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources partner, has a rich collection of U.S. and world history lessons that support students’ historical thinking and reading. These Reading Like a Historian one-day lessons can easily be integrated with Read.Inquire.Write. tools to support students in learning to write arguments as they work on historical thinking and reading. 

Here we present one example of how we integrated the Reading Like a Historian Settlement House lesson with our disciplinary literacy tools to support students’ argument writing. You can access many other Reading Like a Historian lessons at SHEG’s site.

State Historical Society of Iowa - Underground Railroad Example

The State Historical Society of Iowa (SHSI), a Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources partner, has an extensive series of primary source sets that can easily be integrated with Read.Inquire.Write. tools to create investigations on a wide range of topics that also support inquiry and argument writing. 

Here we present one example of how we integrated SHSI’s Underground Railroad Primary Source Set with our disciplinary literacy tools. You can access SHSI’s many other Primary Source Sets directly at their site.

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