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Adapting Documents for the Classroom: Equity and Access ( National History Education Clearinghouse)


What Is It?

Preparing and modifying primary source documents so that all students can read and analyze them in their history classrooms.


Although they are useful for engaging students in the past, and teaching them to think historically, primary source documents often use antiquated or complex language. This can pose a challenge even for able readers, let alone those who read below grade level. Adapting a variety of historical documents for use in the classroom will allow students greater access to important reading and thinking opportunities.


Adapting documents for the classroom includes the use of excerpts, helpful head notes, and clear source information. It means adjusting documents for non-expert readers and making them shorter, clearer, and more focused. Adaptations can also include simplifying syntax and vocabulary, conventionalizing punctuation and spelling, cutting nonessential passages, and directing attention to a document's key components.


Curriculum/Instructional Methods History/Social Science Instructional Strategies Literacy