Table of Contents

1.6 Informational Texts in History/Social Studies: Primary and Secondary Sources

In history/social studies, for example, students need to be able to analyze, evaluate, and differentiate primary and secondary sources."

CA CCSS for ELA/Literacy p. 74

Common Core Shifts #1 and #2 require that students read and analyze the evidence of content-rich informational texts. As noted by the CA CCSS, the informational texts in history/social studies can be separated into two broad categories: primary and secondary sources. Additionally, the Reading Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies references both types of sources in several places, as do the Historical and Social Sciences Analysis Skill standards.

Time to Read

Select the links below to read the following definitions and examples of historical sources by Mary Lynn Rampolla (2012).

Primary Sources

Secondary Sources

Primary or Secondary? The Changing Status of a Source

Time to Try

In the activity that follows, decide if the source is primary or secondary.