Reading, Writing & Social Studies:  The Integration Question

Updated: May 6, 2020

Time for literacy instruction is always a struggle. We want more than we can have. If I could, I would teach Reading and Writing all day long every day. Who needs Math and Science, right? Okay, okay…you know I’m just kidding! Back on topic…

Time is always an issue. We want more time to make sure we can teach our little people to be avid readers and writers. We want to put them on the right path, so that they can continue to develop their literacy growth. BUT, there just never seems to be enough time. I’ve heard many teachers struggling with how to integrate Social Studies.

More about object posters here

Two Struggles of Classroom Teachers Everywhere...

ONE: “I’ve been told that I have to integrate Social Studies into my Literacy block. How can I integrate Social Studies into my Literacy block?”

TWO: “I need more time for Literacy instruction in my classroom. Where can I find the time?”

There is so much literacy that can be taught within the Social Studies block. Let's think about it...

  1. Social Studies is just an extension of the Literacy block.

  2. History is a nonfiction narrative (literary nonfiction).

  3. It’s the STORY of our past.

  4. There are characters, plot lines and resolutions. (Read more about the object poster activity seen here)

The Answer to Both Struggles...

...teach more literacy during Social Studies!

Social Studies can be integrated into many aspects of your Literacy instruction.

However, I would not make one component Social Studies only.

Articles, maps, advertisements and so many other primary and secondary sources of information from the period students are learning about can be used during Shared Reading.

When teaching a minilesson in Reading Workshop, literature can be used from the period about which students are learning.

Interactive Read Aloud could be historical fiction.

The Social Studies block of time could be turned into an Inquiry Workshop where students develop their own questions centered around the period of history which you are teaching.

Whole group inquiry response about spiders

What NOT to do...

Now, I want to be clear.

  1. I wouldn't make my Shared Reading only Social Studies for the rest of the school year.

  2. I wouldn't structure every minilesson around a piece of literature about history.

  3. I wouldn't make my Read Aloud historical fiction all the time.

There must be a variety of genres and text structures throughout all of these literacy sessions.

Be thoughtful and intentional when you integrate social studies into your Literacy block.

Make sure there are a variety of genres and text structures scattered throughout your block.

Now...The Logistics and the Answers!

Each school district has different allotments of time for each subject area. I’ve included a few different schedules using different allotments of time for Literacy Instruction and Social Studies instruction HERE.

Just click on the image below to take you to my FREE product on Teachers Pay Teachers. Included are different suggested schedules for integrating Social Studies within the Literacy Block.

Until next time...

#readersworkshop #Writing


Here at Literacy Treasures, I LOVE to talk about reading and writing and share with teachers all that I've learned about what it takes to build strong readers and writers. I have immersed myself in the research of Lucy Calkins, Jennifer Serravallo, Stephanie Harvey, Debbie Miller, Carl Anderson, Gay Su Pinnell, Irene Fountas and so many others.  Every resource, strategy, tool, minilesson and teaching tip that is shared on Literacy Treasures is rooted in this research