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CCSS Strategies: New Developments on Combining Reading and Social Studies
posted by: Cindy Omlin | September 14, 2013, 02:13 PM   

Calling all social studies teachers out there – I know you’re struggling to incorporate the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) into your curriculum.  Don’t you wish that there was a program out there that did just that and promoted student collaboration all while increasing both content area and reading skills and had scientific data to back its methods up?

Such a program may just be on its way.  Researchers at The Meadows Center have been working to pinpoint that special sauce that will combine teaching social studies and reading as mandated by CCSS.  Unlike previous programs, this new teaching method, which is being called the PACT intervention, is entirely research based.  The PACT method was built through a series of research studies, with the results of each then integrated into a single intervention.


The intervention was designed to promote reading comprehension, and now they are looking at how to apply it in content heavy subjects such as social studies.  Their research on the area has been published in several journal articles, which shows that using the PACT method in social studies classrooms led to both greater reading comprehension and greater social studies content knowledge.  Their research was reviewed by What Works Clearinghouse and the Clearinghouse, which rarely gives the green-light to research, approved the study “without reservation.”


The intervention itself focuses on teaching social studies by pairing reading subject – area content paired with open, meaning-based questions and has five components:

  1. A comprehension canopy that contains a motivational springboard and an overarching issue or question
  2. Essential words or key vocabulary related to the unit
  3. Knowledge acquisition (appropriate text-based instruction and reading)
  4. Team-based learning (TBL) comprehension checks
  5. TBL knowledge application


Currently, the project appears to still be in the research phase, but it holds promises for helping social studies and other content based subjects manage new CCSS guidelines in the future, along with being a shining example of what can occur when education is combined with quality research.

Originally posted by Melissa at AAE .  

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