Using History to Hook Readers

Posted by Teresa M. on Sep 11, 2015 7:32:00 PM

Learning about historical events can be a fun way to introduce and review higher level reading skills. Finding relevant and engaging resources can help you hook your students on history. Here are some examples of skills that could be taught while using history books.

Perspective/Point of View Primary vs. Secondary Sources
Copyright date Critical Thinking Skills


Learning about point of view can help the reader discover the author's purpose. Knowing the author's frame of reference can also help students see opposing views.

Sample Book on Big Universe

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 10.26.45 PM The Queen in King's Clothing

Steve Provost (author), Nicholas Jackson (illustrator) ISBN: 9781620461884

From the Publisher : Beautiful illustrations engage struggling readers as they learn about an Egyptian pharaoh and identify sequences of events. This history book contains informational text and an alternate perspective from the pharaoh's close adviser.

Copyright Date

Knowing historical events and placing that in relation to the copyright date can help determine the relevancy of the book. If the book was printed prior to a major historical event, it changes the accuracy of the book.

Sample Book on Big Universe

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 10.04.34 PM Between the Wars

Christine Dugan ISBN: 9780743906661

From the publisher: The years between World War I and World War II were years of change and reform. The role of women changed and the social status of African Americans began the slow process of reform. Industry continued to grow as the demand for cars increased. When the Great Depression occurred in 1929, life in America changed drastically as many people found themselves poor and homeless.

Primary vs. Secondary Sources

This can be a tough concept to teach. Most history text books are secondary resources. Journals, however, are primary resources. Primary sources provide first hand information.

Book found on Big Universe.

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 10.11.26 PMAmerican Immigrants Yesterday and Today

Tony Losongco (author), Paul Klepac (illustrator)

From the publisher: Readers learn to compare and contrast the experiences of new Americans during two historical periods of immigration. Students use maps, illustrations, photographs, and a fictional diary entry to interpret information.

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 10.18.47 PM Irish Potato Famine

Joseph R. O'neill (author) ISBN: 9781617851773

From the publisher: This title examines an important historic event, the Irish Potato Famine. Readers will learn the history of Ireland leading up to the famine, key players and happenings during the famine, and the event's effect on society. Color photos and informative sidebars accompany easy-to-read, compelling text. Features include a timeline, facts, additional resources, web sites, a glossary, a bibliography, and an index.

Critical Thinking Skills

Students can be taught valuable critical thinking skills when they learn basic historical events. They can put things in chronological order and discuss various attitudes and perspectives.

Sample Book

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 10.23.43 PM American History 1 & 2

ISBN: 9781612476759

This two-part book program offers activities to supplement standard U.S. history classroom textbooks. Lessons can stand-alone or coordinate with any text. Activity pages include basic concepts, graphs, maps, vocabulary comprehension, and nonfiction informational excerpts that help make meaningful connections with historical concepts, facts, and ideas. Reproducible Books include table of contents and answer keys.

Introduce the genre: Historical Fiction

Sample Book on Big Universe

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 10.45.26 PM The Soldier

From the Publisher: When Leyla draws, shes in another world, not in this war-ravaged country. Her school has been destroyed. There are occupying forces in her village. Americans. Each trip to the water pump must be taken with care. She wont even look at the soldiers. But then she sees a woman, a soldier. And she does something unexpected, then courageous.





Topics: Classroom Ideas, Common Core, Reviews, Publisher Preview, Reading Lists, Literacy

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