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The Power and Potential of Primary Sources


  • Denise N. Morgan,

  • Timothy V. Rasinski


Using primary sources with students has untapped potential for expanding and deepening the reading experiences of elementary and middle grade students. Primary sources expands teachers’ palette of reading materials, allows students to connect more closely to topics for learning, and deepens their understanding of the past. This article argues for the inclusion of more primary sources as a way to expand students’ world knowledge and develop their critical thinking skills. In addition, using primary sources is one way to support teachers in meeting the new common core state standards. Benefits of using primary sources and how to analyze primary documents are highlighted. Ideas for primary source collections and working with students are shared.