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Intertextual Reading of Two Primary Documents

Daguerreotype, unidentified African American woman, c. 1850, Flickr Commons

This student think-aloud shows a 99-second video of a student reading a Social Security poster and congressional testimony by a NAACP representative. The student reads the poster out loud, generating a question as she reads. Rather than spending time hypothesizing answers, the student reads the next document, which helps her answer her original question, and raises other questions about the significance of race and class in the fashioning of Social Security legislation.

This example of intertextual reading reveals a student capable of reading documents using and comparing multiple documents to help her answer historical questions. The accompanying text commentary explains what the student is doing and how teachers can support students in intertextual reading. The documents she interprets may be downloaded here.

The student illustrates

The student illustrates beautifully what is meant by active, thoughtful, critical reading. She is interrogating the text and seeking evidence to support her answers. It is what we hope for all of our students and for ourselves as well.
Mary McFarland

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