Social Studies Research and Practice
Volume 5, Number 3, Winter 2010
Literacy strategies that promote democratic skills, attitudes, and behaviors in the social studies classroom
Katherine A. Sudol
Monclair State University
We contend that a major purpose of education is to prepare students to be active and critical participants in our democracy. To facilitate this goal, students should acquire a repertoire of literacy skills that enable them to think critically about text and make judgments about what they read, skills that are transferable to their roles as citizens in a democracy. This topic is particularly relevant to social studies educators because they expect students to learn a great deal of content through reading. In this article, we present our view of the essential elements of democracy, along with a list of criteria and questions closely related to these elements. The list provides a framework for teachers to use in analyzing and modifying content area literacy strategies. The article also illustrates the democratic and theoretical underpinnings of several literacy strategies that can be used in the social studies classroom.
Key Words: Attitudes, Behaviors, Content area, Critical thinking, Democratic pedagogy, Democratic practice, Literacy strategies, Social studies