Why Take History with Miss Holly?

My social studies and history classes aren’t just about learning fascinating stories from history through engaging books.  They are also focused on literacy, and learning the important skill of reading nonfiction text for information—the skill of reading to learn.

No Boring, Traditional Textbooks

Have you ever noticed how traditional textbooks just suck the life out of a subject?  They can take the most interesting topic and turn it into a boring chore.

Interactive Notebooks and Engaging Books

Students learn so much better, and have more fun doing it, when learning is interactive.  And one of the best ways in enhance student involvement in the learning process is through the use of interactive notebooks.

I use interactive notebooks in my social studies and history classes, and students really enjoy the process.  I also teach these subjects using engaging consumer books (easily found in bookstores or the library) that bring history to life, instead of drying it out like a textbook does.  

What is an Interactive Notebook?

What is an interactive notebook?  Interactive notebooks are inexpensive and easy!  I like to use the composition notebooks that you can find at Target or even dollar stores.  They are a simple notebook that students add information to throughout the year, creating a fun, organized journal of their learning.  

In my classes, I provide students with short, nonfiction articles to glue into their notebooks.  We then practice close reading (close reading is an important skill in which students interact with the text to gain a deeper understanding of what they read.  This is especially important when reading nonfiction text for information.)  In addition, for each topic, we have activities and graphic organizers that go into the notebook to allow students to interact more with the topic and remember what they learned later.  

Backed by Research

According to Studies Weekly, “Interactive notebooks are extremely effective because they are multi-sensory and help students take ownership of their learning. Students are reading and writing, while also thinking and creating and doing. This helps students learn more deeply.”

According to Creative Classroom Core, “Providing students with information and then asking them to use thinking strategies to actively interact with it in some way helps the information to stick in their brains. This is much more effective than simply listening to a lecture or taking notes from the board.  Creating the foldables and activities within the Interactive Notebooks is effective in increasing student abilities to organize materials. They also help students to connect to class content.” 

And according to Classroom Instruction that Works, “taking notes and summarizing information is a proven thinking strategy that helps to increase student achievement and retain new information.”

Reading to Learn

Most people know me as a literature and writing teacher.  But reading and writing are not just subjects in and of themselves; they are the most integral part of the learning process for our entire lives.  Reading to learn, and learning to organize and assimilate information needs to be taught and practiced.  And reading nonfiction requires different skills than reading fiction and literature.

According to The Institute of Reading Development, “Reading nonfiction is quite different from reading fiction. It’s denser and more complex, so students need a different kind of approach—one that’s active and analytical.”  They need to learn and practice skills that make them effective readers of nonfiction.  These skills include identifying key concepts, monitoring comprehension, and summarizing.  “It’s so important for your child to master these strategies. Being a skilled, confident reader of nonfiction is at the core of your child’s academic success.”

Once children learn to read, the next important step is reading to learn.  They will be expected to read to learn about history, science, and every other subject they will encounter in life.  My history classes offer a fun, interactive, approachable way to practice this incredibly important skill.  

I invite your students to join me in reading to learn about history!

My 2024-2025 Social Studies/History Classes 

Dive into Social Studies, grades 2-3

Exploring American History through Literature, grades 4-6

Exploring Ancient Civilizations through Literature, grades 5-7


Please reach out with any questions: Holly.Dodson@verizon.net

More information about these and other classes can be found on my website: TutorWithHolly.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *