Tracks > Knowledge building in literacy

Teaching Social Studies is Teaching Reading

Natalie Wexler

Natalie Wexler

Education Journalist
Washington, DC

Natalie Wexler is the author of The Knowledge Gap: The Hidden Cause of America’s Broken Education System–and How to Fix it, and co-author of The Writing Revolution: A Guide to Advancing Thinking Through Writing in All Subjects and Grades. She is a senior contributor on education to, and her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other publications.

Video description

Under pressure to boost test scores over the last 20 years, elementary schools have marginalized social studies to focus on reading comprehension skills like “finding the main idea.” But research shows that comprehension primarily depends on how much knowledge and vocabulary the reader has relating to the topic. When students reach high school, they often lack the background knowledge assumed by grade-level texts. The solution? Elementary students should be getting more social studies and other content-rich subjects, not less. And at any grade level, explicit writing instruction grounded in the content of the curriculum can build knowledge and compensate for gaps.

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Additional information

When: 07/17/2020 - 12:00am
Duration: 10:55
Language: English