Guided Reading Activities for 8th Grade Social Studies

Instructor: Laura McNeice

Laura has a masters in Curriculum and Instruction in Social Studies Education and has been teaching for 7 years in North Carolina.

Primary sources are a crucial part of social studies courses, and these activities can help create support and guidance for your students as they begin to dig deeper into primary sources that make social studies unique.

Guided Reading For Social Studies

Guided reading is the practice of teachers either reading with students in smaller groups or providing their students with support activities and problem-solving strategies as they read through a text. While the methods used by teachers can be different as the grade levels change, the main principle of providing that added support to the learner through the activity should remain at the core of every activity a teacher chooses to use in their classroom.

These guided reading activities, intended to be used by eighth grade students who are proficient readers, are designed to help support students as they encounter more primary source readings in a social studies course as well as the increase in content specific vocabulary they are encountering as they move into higher grade level social studies courses.

Silent Reading Activity

Materials: short readings (informational or primary), large pieces of white or colored paper (can be poster size, bulletin board paper is the best), colored markers or pens (enough for whole class)

  • Prior to class, attach the short readings to each of the poster papers and hang them around the room. (Your primary sources should total half the number of students in your class).
  • If you are using a primary source for this activity, discuss with students what a primary source is and what makes it unique.
    • Complete a sample unrelated topic reading on the board as a class to ensure that students have a better understanding of how to complete the activity and leave it up during the movement so they can refer back to it if need be.
  • Give each student a different color or style of writing utensil, such a pen or marker and ensure you keep a record of which students or pairs are assigned what color.
  • Either individually or in pairs, have students move around the room in silence reading and commenting on each of the posters. You can choose to create a predetermined pattern or let them randomly move around. They can either circle words they don't understand, leave a question they have about it, write a comment on how it fits into the current topic of study, or underline facts they believe are central to the reading with a short explanation as to why.
  • Once they are done, collect the papers and review each one with the class, addressing vocabulary, questions, and comments on each one.

Pre-reading Image Analysis

Materials: article with images, PowerPoint, projector

  • Begin by showing a PowerPoint presentation of the images from the article the students will be reading. Do not explain anything about the topic of the article outside of telling them the title of it. This is a time for them to purely speculate based on the images alone.
  • For each image the student should write down:
    • How it relates to the title?
    • Question(s) it generates?
  • Once students have written their questions, distribute an article to every student.
  • Have students read the article and see if any of their questions were answered. Have them write their responses next to their questions.

Sourcing Your Primary Source

Materials: primary source, highlighter, notebook paper

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