Abstract 14- Volume 1, Number 3, Summer 2006

Social Studies Research and Practice

Volume 1, Number 3, Winter 2006



A Tale worth Telling: Helping Students Construct Stories of the Past

Kimberly C. Gray
Kennesaw State University

Daryl E. Fridley
Southeast Missouri State University


This article explores the clichéd notion of history as narrative. Within the context of an interesting narrative, events, ideas, and people in the past become plot points instead of detached fragments of data. This re-conception of historical facts as pieces of a story allows students to imbue these details with meaning that renders them more memorable. By identifying an important theme around which a given narrative might be constructed, teachers create criteria for choosing the information, sources, and activities that will be most useful in the classroom. Structuring the study of history around the construction of thematic narratives heightens the potential for engaging student interest, increasing student understanding, and empowering teachers to make the careful decisions required of reflective practitioners.

About the Author(s)…

Dr. Kimberly C. Gray is currently an Associate Professor of Adolescent Development at Kennesaw State University.  Prior to joining the KSU faculty, she was an Associate Professor of Social Studies Education at Southern Illinois University.  She is a former middle school social studies and language arts teacher. Her contact information is as follows: kgray17@kennesaw.edu.

Mr. Daryl E. Fridley is currently a doctoral student at Southern Illinois University who will join the Southeast Missouri State University faculty as an Assistant Professor of History Education in the fall 2005.  He is a former high school history teacher.