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Jenn Rose Professor Terpstra and Professor Westbrook Education 302 10 September, 2018

Professional Literature Summary

Using Children’s Books as a Social Studies Curriculum Strategy is a journal article that

suggests the use of children’s books as a means to address social and cultural issues and ideas

to younger children. The article lays out reasons why this is a wise curricular choice as well as

how it should be implemented. She addresses topics of social justice and fairness and then goes

on to explain how intentional the process of choosing books needs to be. The author argues

that the curricular benefits of using children’s books in a social studies context is that they

“offer windows into worlds that may reflect children’s experiences and insights about people

and places around the globe (Meléndez, 2015, p.49). She explains that because of a child’s

maturity level at this age, children’s books are best suited for helping them develop personal

connections with important social studies topics.

The author’s intended audience are likely preschool-3 rd grade social studies teachers.

How to go about teaching sensitive subjects with young children is a tough question that I

hadn’t given much thought to yet. Going into the field of elementary education requires facing

questions like this, and this article did a very good job at clearly addressing the issue and

providing tangible steps on how it can be implemented. Obviously shoving a social studies

textbook in the face of a 2 nd grader is not the wisest curricular choice. One important thing that

I learned from Education 340 is that children connect with literature, and if I can apply that to

every single subject field in my classroom, I think I will see results in children’s understanding

level and emotional response. In response to Meléndez’s approach to choosing the literature, I

would have never thought it would be such an intentional process. I am not much of a detail

oriented person, but that will have to change in this case. This literary decision affects the

values that I will be instilling in my students and their own self-identity.

I found a great content article by Cheryse Hooste. It is a lesson planned designed for first graders and teaches about families. The lesson is titled “Different Types of Families.” The entire unit of study is guided by the book All Kinds of Families” by Norma Simon. A summary of the book written by Hooste goes, “this is a great book that talks about and has pictures of what a family is, different kinds of families around the world, families without a dad or a mom, traditional families, families of people who may not be biologically related, but who live with you, feelings families that many families have, old, young or extended families. It includes the many different family types that your own students may have” (Hooste). Along with this book, students will also be asked to illustrate their own family and discuss what is important to them about them. Then in response to their classmates’ illustrations and the book that they read they should be able to identify ways in which their family is different from others. The purpose of this lesson plan is to provide a clear vision and plan for a first grade teacher, teaching on the topic of family. Hooste, just like Meléndez, is an advocate for using literature in the classroom to support class discussion. This lesson plan has definitely cleared up my understanding of the expectations for this grade of learners. I appreciate the simplicity and repetition in this lesson plan. The same material is reinforced over and over again by means of a book, a discussion, and an activity. I especially think that a book as a reference point for discussion and learning is very wise pedagogical tool. Looking at this lesson plan alongside the summary of the book, I can see how useful it would be in engaging students and deepening their understanding. Instead of just laying out facts and information to a student, a book allows for interactive learning through discussion and questions.

References Meléndez, L. (2015). Preschool Through Grade 3: Using Children's Books as a Social Studies Curriculum Strategy. YC Young Children, 70(3), 48-53.

Hooste, C. (n.d.). Lesson Plan - Opening Doors To Social Studies With

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