In the current educational climate of federally mandated assessments of student learning, the survival of the elementary social studies curriculum may depend on interdisciplinary instructional methods to link social studies to the accountability-favored discipline of literacy. The purpose of this content analysis study was to examine and identify social studies content embedded within a second grade and a fifth grade basal reader from the 2008 Houghton Mifflin Reading Series. Each of the basals were read and coded using the Utah State Office of Education Social Studies Standards indicators and the National Council for the Social Studies Standards as a priori categories. Data from both basal readers provided some encouragement that social studies learning opportunities for students are available within the texts. While some of the social studies concepts are explicitly presented, the majority of the learning opportunities are implicit in nature, requiring additional teaching beyond what is included in basal texts. To take advantage of these explicit and implicit social studies learning opportunities, teachers need to be aware of them and be prepared to teach social studies content and standards as part of the daily literacy routine. In spite of opportunities available for teachers to integrate social studies in the literacy curriculum, these opportunities will not replace the independent teaching of social studies content within the elementary curriculum.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Teacher Education



Date Submitted


Document Type





social studies instruction, No Child Left Behind, literacy instruction, basal readers