Did you know that we’re spending a whole lot less time on social studies – around 44% less – and we’ve especially cut back at the elementary grades?
And did you know that it’s holding back our reading outcomes? (Really.)
If you want to understand why this is adversely impacting our reading outcomes, I got you! Check out Essential Research No One Knows: Knowledge Matters to Reading Comprehension. It has the research, links for professional learning, and even (my favorite) talk of solutions.
That blog also explains culprit in this issue: we’re taking away time from social studies and giving it to reading instruction. Except… the diminished time on social studies topics hurts reading instruction. (If you’re confused, I promise to explain it over here.)
Civics, social studies, and reading enthusiasts should unite!
They should invite science evangelists to the party, ’cause it’s the same story for science.
Since the quest for reading outcomes has produced this issue, let’s see if the research on background knowledge and reading comprehension can produce a better-informed quest for reading outcomes... and bring back knowledge-building subjects in K–5.
The Elegant Solution Where Everyone Wins
“Given that time is a scarce commodity in most schools, the takeaway for school leaders is to incorporate rich content, organized around conceptually-related topics, into the reading curriculum so that students learn new information about the world while they develop as readers.”
Exemplars help, so here’s one: the EL Education K–5 Language Arts curriculum builds units around text sets on social studies and science topics: