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Unlocking the Past

Resources to develop students’ enjoyment and appreciation of history while reading and writing.

Author Interviews

Listen to your favorite middle grade and YA authors of historical fiction and non-fiction discuss their writing process, the importance of studying history and more.


Diverse Historical Book Lists

Books are a form of political action. Books are knowledge. Books are a reflection. Books change your mind. ~Toni Morrison

head shot of Toni Morrison
Hand writing with a pen

Themed Booklists

Grateful American Book Prize Winners

The Grateful American Book Prize recognizes authors who create absorbing works of literature for 7th to 9th graders about American events and personalities.

Detail of book cover Our Eleanor: A Scrapbook Look at Eleanor Roosevelt's Remarkable Life

Themed Booklists

The White House and Its Residents

These fiction and nonfiction titles will ignite young people’s interest in the history and function of our presidential mansion, as well as the lives of some of those who have lived or worked there.


Ideas to Tweak Your Instruction

Looking for new ways to engage students in studying history? Be inspired by the creative ideas shared by fellow middle and high school teachers, as well as experts in the field.

immigrant adults and children walking across land a landscape of the American flag.

Content-Area Literacy

Text Set: Immigration

We hope this text set fosters understanding, empathy, and a high level of engagement for your students as they explore the complexities of the immigrant experience through varying perspectives.

Multicultural high school students in Real World History discussion on Selma

Content-Area Literacy

Real World History

Real World History: A DC public school invites students to develop their skills as historians as they study the Great Migration of African-Americans from the rural south to big cities.

word history spelled out with people standing next to historical items

Content-Area Literacy

Content-Area Literacy: History

The ability to read historical documents including contemporary explications about societal, economic and political issues provides a direct link to literacy as preparation for citizenship.

Identifying key ideas and supporting details
These 6th grade students work on their own and with partners to navigate a text about Ancient Egypt. The teacher helps her students to identify key ideas, discuss details, and draw inferences from what they’re read.

Using multiple sources of information
Watch as this 11th grade history teacher orients her students to the vast array of materials on the Civil War, including images, maps, and texts. Next, students use graphic organizers to help navigate the written texts.

Supporting Students' Engagement and Thinking

Anticipation Guide

Comprehension

Anticipation Guides

What do you students think about a topic before reading? Do their ideas change after reading? Learn about how anticipation guides can support your students’ changing opinions and ideas.

Inquiry Chart blank

Comprehension Writing

Inquiry Charts (I-Charts)

Learn about how Inquiry Charts can support your students’ learning and see our *NEW* fillable .pdf to download and use.