Literacy in Social Studies

The Tennessee state standards for English Language Arts and math include a subset of literacy standards for teachers of history/social studies, science, and technical subjects. These literacy standards do not change the subject-area content, which will continue to be governed by Tennessee standards for each subject. Rather, the literacy standards provide expectations for how students will read and write in those courses. By incorporating more reading of complex informational text, holding students accountable to that reading through text-based discussion and giving students text-based argumentative and expository writing assignments, teachers will do the following:

  • Support school-wide literacy efforts;
  • Help prepare students for the literacy demands they will face in college and career, including the specialized reading and writing procedures of the relevant discipline; and
  • Reinforce students’ learning of subject-area content.

This section of the website features information and resources to help science, social studies, and career and technical education teachers make this important transition and incorporate the literacy standards in their instruction.

Standards and Shifts
Standards define what students should understand and be able to do in their study of literacy.

Instructional Resources
Resources for teachers to engage students in higher levels of thinking and reasoning called for by the Tennessee state standards for English Language Arts/Literacy.
  • Model units and tasks
  • Resources to support teachers in:
    • choosing complex texts,
    • writing and implementing standards aligned unit plans and close reading tasks, and
    • writing text-dependent questions.
Assessment Resources 
  • Assessment tasks that can be used for formal testing, incorporated into instruction, and/or to help students prepare for assessments
  • Scoring resources for the assessment tasks
  • Additional assessment resources
Assessment Information
  • Information about testing
Special Populations
Educational standards describe what students should know and be able to do in each subject and in each grade. The Tennessee state standards define what students need to learn at each grade level. They provide a chance to improve access to quality content standards for students with disabilities and English Learners.

External Resources
Links to websites, videos, and blogs for more support in understanding and implementing the Tennessee state standards for ELA/Literacy.