Thesis Title

A Story Well Told: rich Narrative Engages California Fifth Grade Students in American History

Graduation Date

Spring 2008

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Program Name


Program Director

Madalienne Peters, EdD


The educational publisher Pearson/Scott-Foresman in 2006 introduced curriculum to address California History/Social Studies standards. Fifth grade students have difficulty comprehending non-fiction text that is informative enough to have historical accuracy. The publisher promotes a program that features a standard in every lesson, and promises no extraneous content. An examination is conducted as to how this program approaches the required California History/Social Studies elements of providing “A story well told” which should include, according to specifications by the California State Department of Education, “forceful personalities, controversies, issues of the time, and primary sources.”(CDE, 2003) Literature on the topic of history education contains strategies for deconstructing academic language and clarification on historical literature which “should [capture] historical events with dramatic immediacy, engaging students’ interests, and [foster] deeper understanding of the times...” (Crabtree, Nash, 1994). Scott-Foresman History/Social Studies text for fifth grade is examined for its effectiveness in helping students comprehend history through a written narrative, and for enabling teachers to convey the depth and breadth of this span of American history. The adaptations the classroom teacher can make to enhance the written text are detailed in this paper.

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