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ERIC Number: EJ936550
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-May
Pages: 26
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2745
Recognizing and Addressing the Barriers to Adolescents' "Reading Like Historians"
Nokes, Jeffery D.
History Teacher, v44 n3 p379-404 May 2011
In recent years, there has been a growing body of research investigating how historians read, how children and adolescents read historical materials, and how teachers attempt to help adolescents read like historians. This research suggests that historians, unlike students, are unusually skillful readers employing several heuristics to construct meaning with multiple sources. A synthesis of the research on students' efforts to read like historians reveals patterns that are consistent across upper elementary through advanced high school and undergraduate students. These patterns suggest that there are at least four barriers to students' ability to read like historians: (1) analyzing historical documents taxes students' cognitive resources beyond their bounds; (2) students have limited historical background knowledge and misapply the background knowledge they have; (3) students tend to hold unsophisticated views of the world; and (4) students have a false sense of what it means to study history. In this paper, the author reviews the barriers to adolescents' reading like historians and introduces research-supported interventions that nurture historical literacy. These barriers extend beyond students' failure to use historians' heuristics, and include fundamental differences between historians and students in the way they view historical inquiry, the reading process, and the texts they read. The author discusses each of these barriers along with instructional interventions that may help students overcome each barrier. (Contains 1 figure and 121 notes.)
Society for History Education. California State University, Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Boulevard, Long Beach, CA 90840-1601. Tel: 562-985-2573; Fax: 562-985-5431; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A