Historical Reading and Writing in Secondary School Classrooms

Little of the reading and writing that takes place within traditional secondary school history classrooms mirrors the literate processes of historians. However, Nokes argues in this chapter, historical literacies, such as a consideration of sources and the cross checking of information, are vital for twenty-first century readers. Teachers help students develop historical literacies by exposing them to the texts historians use, to historians’ thinking strategies, and by requiring students to read and write to construct and defend interpretations like historians do. In reconceptualized history classrooms, teachers consider students’ epistemic stance and introduce them into a discourse community of student-historians. Although much research remains to be conducted on the impacts of historical literacy instruction on students’ development, current research supports this important trend in secondary history classrooms.