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Summer Reading: Primary Source Teaching Ideas for the Teacher and Librarian

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This post is by Rebecca Newland, the Library of Congress 2013-14 Teacher in Residence.

Washington, D.C. public schools, 5th Div. – teacher showing dog. Frances Benjamin Johnston, 1899?

In many areas of the United States, schools still have an extended break in the summer time. For teachers, this time is often an opportunity to rejuvenate, attend workshops, and catch up on professional reading.

I have compiled an overview of great blog posts from Teaching with the Library of Congress about using primary sources in the classroom and library. These posts cover a wide range of topics from kindergarten historians to Huckleberry Finn, and many  include strategies that can be adapted to various grade level and subject areas.

  • If you are thinking of incorporating primary sources into your classroom, a great place to start is this post about the many tools the Library’s Teacher’s page offers to support your lessons and planning.
  • As this summer marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, take a look at our series of posts related to various titles of that law.
  • Of interest to those in an elementary setting, Kindergarten Historians discusses how to engage even your youngest students with primary sources.
  • The school librarian can reach into classrooms by collaborating with teachers on research experiences. Inspiring Research Questions with Library of Congress Primary Sources offers suggestions for ways to include primary sources in the process.
  • Think about using primary sources to connect with literature as outlined in Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn: Controversy at the Heart of a Classic.
  • Perhaps a new way of thinking about primary sources is in the science classroom. The Library’s Carl Sagan collection offers a wealth of resources to engage young scientists.
  • And in case during your summer reading time you are listening to the music in your heart, take a look at another recent addition to the collections, The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America, with connections to historical topics and musical movements.
Pupil, Teachers of the Steamer Class in the Washington School. Location: Boston, Massachusetts. Lewis Hine, 1909

Whatever your subject area, grade level, or personal interest, Teaching with the Library of Congress has ideas for you.  If you already read the blog regularly and use primary sources with your students, consider passing this post along to colleagues to get them started with primary sources.

Which ideas from one of our blog posts shaped your work this year?




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