At a Glance


Help middle school students improve their skills in writing arguments through source-based reasoning and social study inquiry.

Chauncey Monte-Sano, Mary Schleppegrell, University of Michigan


Read.Inquire.Write. offers a free curriculum for middle school students to improve their ability to write arguments on social and historical issues using sources and evidence. Aligning with the C3 Framework for Social Studies State Standards and the Common Core Standards for Literacy, this curriculum builds students’ skills in reasoning, source analysis, reading, speaking, and knowledge in social and historical issues. The materials are downloadable and the only requirement is to create a free login.

The Read.Inquire.Write. curriculum focuses on three main types of writing arguments. In the Interpretation section, students analyze different sources and make a claim using the evidence. For the Critique section, students write a critique of another’s argument using sources. Finally, in the Counterargument section, students learn to write an argument about an issue and respond to other interpretations. The entire curriculum focuses on the literacy tools of making claims, using evidence, and reasoning.

Each of these sections of argument writing contains literacy tools, investigations, and writing assessments. The Literacy Tools include The Bookmark to annotate sources, a Weigh the Evidence chart, Mentor Texts models, Useful Language lists, a Planning Graphic Organizer, and a Reflection Guide. The Investigations focuses on contemporary social studies issues, such as “Why does Mexico City have unequal access to water?” and “Was democracy in Athens a good form of government?” and more historical investigations, such as “Was there a common experience for women in colonial North America?” and “Was Reconstruction primary a story of triumph or tragedy?” In addition, these investigations include a student packet, slides for instruction, and a teacher guide. The website also includes teaching videos (2-9 min) on example investigations, student thinking, and sample student work.