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What Role Should Fiction Have in the U.S. History Classroom?

Keith Barton
Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, Adjunct Professor of History (Indiana University)

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Historical fiction has a number of important advantages for engaging young people in the study of the past, but it also has some significant drawbacks. Teachers need to be aware of these potential problems so that they can help students bring a more critical and balanced perspective to their study of history.  Read more »

Bárbara C. Cruz
Professor of Social Science Education (University of South Florida)

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Fiction should play a vital role in the U.S. history classroom. Historical fiction in particular can support and foster multicultural and global understanding by including perspectives that are often missing from textbooks.  Read more »

Joanne Brown
English Professor (Retired, Drake University, IA)

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Historical fiction can supplement history courses, offering characters whose emotional responses to actual events give readers a more immediate, human sense of what is being studied.  Read more »

Andrea Hayden
Elementary Teacher, Albany County School District (Laramie, WY)

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While historical fiction has the power to captivate students and draw them in to history, they are best served if teachers partner fiction with nonfiction texts. This enables them to critically think about the stories being presented and to analyze them for historical accuracy and significance.  Read more »

Keith Schoch
Sixth-grade Teacher (Bedminster, NJ)

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The ability of good fiction to transport the reader into another time and place is one factor which makes it such an essential tool for teachers of history.  Read more »

Valerie Tripp

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Historical fiction should serve as a captivator, a way to catch and hold students’ attention and interest. But it must be carefully scrutinized and judiciously used.  Read more »