About the Program

The UCI History Project, in association with its partner California History-Social Science Project sites, has spent the past nine years developing a nationally-recognized program in historical literacy. The discipline-specific literacy program is the product of the cooperative research of historians, linguists, and teachers who have identified and developed strategies for teaching students how to read and write analytically for the history classroom. Set in a scholarly, supportive environment, the training provides teachers with the insight and strategies to improve their own practice and tackle site-based and district-wide challenges. Teachers will learn about reading, writing, and oral language development with classroom-tested materials and proven literacy strategies through implementation of model lessons and analysis of student work.

School and District Pofessional Development

Our research-based and standards-aligned curriculum, Teaching Writing: Planning and Implementing a Standards-Based Program, has been developed by teachers and scholars to provide educators a way to meet the demands outlined by the Common Core Standards. Most importantly, it supports teachers to develop an effective writing program for their classrooms with lessons that have been tested in a variety of classroom settings. This curriculum, along with our other offerings, such as professional development workshops, coaching, and curriculum development and review, are specifically designed to meet the professional development needs of California history and English teachers as they begin implementing the Common Core Standards and the Standards for English Language Development.

Evaluation of the Literacy Program

Qualitative analysis of research data from the participating teachers demonstrates that the professional development improved their academic literacy expertise in the content area of history as well as improved their efficacy toward their personal ability to improve student literacy. These teachers increased explicit instruction in writing and in return noticed increased achievement in their classrooms. One teacher reported, “I have seen a tremendous growth of writing in my class.” Another teacher reflecting on his students’ growth commented, “I can already see a positive difference in my students’ writing this year as opposed to last year.” Evaluation results of middle and high school students support teacher observations. Students’ scores showed an improvement in reading comprehension. Writing also improved; both the seventh and tenth grade students from the experimental group demonstrated more skill than comparison group students in the area of historical analysis using primary source evidence.

Getting the Program

Schools and districts can contract with the UCI History Project to develop an academic literacy program specifically tailored to the language demands of students. Teachers will receive training in academic literacy strategies for history classrooms as well as a copy of Teaching Writing: Planning and Implementing a Standards-Based Program curriculum (see sample below). For more information contact Nicole Gilbertson at gilbertn@uci.edu.