Increasing literacy through Social Studies

graphic showing image of African American woman and the words 'South Carolina African American History Calendar 2024'

Frederick Douglass believed that “once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” Students must be free to succeed. 

A current initiative of the South Carolina Department of Education is the “science of reading,” evidence-based practices that teach the foundations of reading. It has been reported that state testing data shows that only 48% of third graders are reading on grade level. This trend undoubtedly affects the literacy of both middle and high school students. To ensure future generations of literate and liberated South Carolina graduates, students must learn the foundations of reading in elementary school.

The National Council for the Social Studies, in their Social Education journal, published a peer reviewed article on the analysis of literacy instruction in the classroom. It was determined that there were gains in literacy when students spent more time in social studies. It was found that an increase in ELA instruction and a primary focus on reading comprehension was not effective. It is recommended that elementary students get at least 45 minutes of instruction each day to increase their literacy and prepare them for the transition to middle school. In addition, social studies and other content rich subjects should permeate ELA curriculum and instruction.

Together with the help of SCETV,, and the South Carolina Department of Education, educators can join in the effort to close achievement gaps in the state. Resources and lessons, aligned to state standards are updated, created, and released perpetually to aid in this statewide initiative. Teachers are encouraged to employ the site to teach, share, and provide feedback.

Featured lessons from the South Carolina African American History Calendar:

Tra’Neisha LaRoche is a Subject Matter Expert in Social Studies for Her love for history and teaching led her to SCETV after completing nine years in the classroom. She has taught both middle and high school social studies in South Carolina for public and charter schools.