Supporting Literacy Through Social Studies

TCI’s middle and high school programs have literacy instruction built into the reading, notebook questions, and activities. Each program provides many opportunities for students to develop a strong command of English and build reading and writing skills through social studies.


Reading is an integral part of each program. From well-structured informational text to primary source passages, there are many opportunities to build reading skills.

  • Comprehending Informational Text Text written at grade level invites all students to engage with rich, informative content. Online support tools include text-to-speech, leveled text, and highlighting. The reading also has meaningful visuals, making the text accessible to all learners.
  • Vocabulary Development The programs scaffold the learning of social studies and history vocabulary by presenting the words and phrases in context but offering succinct definitions in the margins and glossary. Students record information based on text structure and historical perspective in their notebooks.
  • Analysis of Primary and Secondary Sources Analysis of both primary and secondary sources takes place throughout lessons, through both written and visual literacy skills.


Students have many opportunities to write throughout the program. Assignments range from answering short-form questions to constructing long-form arguments.

  • Writing from Sources Students write for different purposes, including developing claims supported with evidence. In inquiry activities, students are often asked to construct written arguments to persuade others to accept a conclusion or proposal. They construct their claims using precise language and social studies vocabulary.
  • Toolkits for Skill Building In addition to embedded opportunities to practice writing, skills-based toolkits are offered online to develop literacy skills further.
    Diverse Writing Opportunities There are many writing opportunities, including explaining main ideas and justifying reasoning. Guided writing exercises allow for writing practice in a variety of formats with clear rubrics and guidelines.

Speaking and Listening

Group work and presentations are built into TCI’s middle school programs. Students hold small group and whole class discussions and engage in civil discourse.

  • Collaboration Classroom Activities allow students to collaborate with clearly defined roles and tasks that allow all students to contribute to group projects actively.
  • Civil Discourse Structured prompts and clear guidelines provide opportunities for active listening and participation in evidence-based discussions.
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