Table of Contents

1.1 The Common Core State Standards and History/Social Studies

A notable difference in the CA CCSS for ELA/Literacy, as compared to the 1997 English-Language Arts Content Standards for California Public Schools, is the increased attention given to informational literacy through reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language in the content areas. This instructional shift is based on the knowledge that students are best served when neither literacy skills nor content are taught in isolation, but are taught in an integrated and meaningful way.

Time to Read

Read the following quote from the CA CCSS for ELA/Literacy on the importance of developing content area literacy.

Note on range and content of student reading:

Reading is critical to building knowledge in history/social studies as well as in science and technical subjects. College and career ready reading in these fields requires an appreciation of the norms and conventions of each discipline, such as the kinds of evidence used in history and science; an understanding of domain-specific words and phrases; an attention to precise details; and the capacity to evaluate intricate arguments, synthesize complex information, and follow detailed descriptions of events and concepts. In history/social studies, for example, students need to be able to analyze, evaluate, and differentiate primary and secondary sources. When reading scientific and technical texts, students need to be able to gain knowledge from challenging texts that often make extensive use of elaborate diagrams and data to convey information and illustrate concepts. Students must be able to read complex informational texts in these fields with independence and confidence because the vast majority of reading in college and workforce training programs will be sophisticated nonfiction. It is important to note that these Reading standards are meant to complement the specific content demands of the disciplines, not replace them."

CA CCSS for ELA/Literacy p. 74.

It is critical to note that the primary intent of including history/social studies, science, and technical subjects in the CA CCSS for ELA/Literacy is not to supplant the content, knowledge and skills identified in the History-Social Science Content Standards for California Public Schools and the History-Social Science Framework for California Public Schools (or any of the content area standards and frameworks), but to emphasize the need to utilize the discipline of each content area to provide a meaningful context for students to become proficient readers, writers, and speakers in the 21st century. Literacy skills are strengthened when they are contextualized in content, and content knowledge is strengthened when students can engage literacy skills to comprehend and analyze text and effectively communicate their learning.