Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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History/Social Studies

Reading and Analyzing Texts

Interrogating Sources

The previous unit focused on creating class investigations as a way of teaching history and social studies based on disciplinary literacy. This unit looks at the practices for reading and analyzing texts within class investigations. Here, the key stance toward sources is to interrogate them, ask questions, and consider what’s to be learned from them. Since people create sources in another time and place, students need to interrogate such sources in order to more fully understand them. This kind of reading moves beyond basic comprehension of what the text actually says and considers what the author is trying to accomplish with the text.

Video and Reflection: Revisit Reading and Responding Like a Historian as an example of interrogating sources in the classroom. You may want to take notes on the questions below.

  • Before you watch: How do you and your students use texts in your classroom? To what extent do you and your students interrogate texts, and to what extent do you use them for information?
  • Watch the video: As you watch, consider how Mr. Votto is using historical texts in his classroom.


Reading and Responding Like a Historian

LeRoy Votto’s students discuss their thoughts on Wendell Phillips’s speech “The Philosophy of the Abolitionist Movement.”

Teacher: LeRoy Votto

School: The Urban School of San Francisco (Private), San Francisco, CA

Grade: 10

Discipline: History (the Civil War)

Lesson Topic: The abolitionist movement and its message

Lesson Month: January

Number of Students: 14

  • Reflect: How might the ideas about interrogating texts from this video be incorporated into your own teaching? What changes might you need to make in your classroom to shift toward interrogating texts?