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March 5, 2021

Video Playlist: Four Steps to Get You Reading Like a Historian

“Reading Like a Historian” is a strategy developed by Stanford University in which students approach history by reading primary source documents. Anchored by these texts, students explore different perspectives of historical events and develop opinions based on their reading.

Here are the key videos in this series:

1. Overview: This is a general introduction to the series that lays out how “reading like a historian” works, and its benefits. Professor Sam Wineburg, Director of the Stanford University History Education Group, says, “The first thing that this program does that is very different from a conventional history class, is that it turns history into a series of questions, instead of a series of answers.”

2. Sourcing: One of the first steps in the process is to ask a series of basic questions about the primary sources being examined, such as, who wrote this, and what was their intent?

3. Contextualization: The second step is to bring in additional information from the time period and apply it to the primary texts being read.

4. Corroboration: Every story can be told from multiple points of view. In the third step of reading like a historian, students compare multiple texts and learn to corroborate information from these different perspectives.

5. Philosophical Chairs: After students have thoroughly dissected the primary sources, they are then called upon to discuss some of the questions surrounding the time period.

Also, be sure to check out the uncuts from this wonderful series! Uncuts are a great way to see how a lesson unfolds from start to finish.

Uncut #1, Sourcing

Uncut #2, Contextualization

Uncut #3, Corroboration


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