Dr. VanSledright does research on the teaching and
learning of history in public schools.
Much of his research has been case-based, detailed studies of how
teachers go about teaching the subject.
His reports on how students learn history have focused on the ways
in which those students read history texts.
In 1999, with support from the Spencer Foundation, he taught American history to fifth graders in a local elementary school for four months. This researcher-practitioner study was designed to test reform recommendations that call for teaching young children to study history with greater fidelity to what goes on within the discipline. Specifically, this involves inviting students to read, analyze, interpret and evaluate primary and secondary historical sources with an eye toward building a better understanding of past events by “doing history” themselves. Such practice involves teaching these young students to read inter-textually, a difficult effort for fifth graders not previously taught to do so. He currently is under contract with Teachers College Press to produce a book that describes the parameters and details of this study.
Selected Recent Publications
VanSledright, B.A. (August, 2000). Can 10-year-olds learn to
investigate history as historians do? Organization of American
Historians Newsletter, 28. Also available at: www.oah.org/pubs/nl/2000aug/vansledright.html.
VanSledright, B.A., & Frankes,
L. (2000). Concept- and strategic-knowledge development in historical
study: A comparative exploration in two fourth-grade classrooms. Cognition
and Instruction, 18, 237-281.
VanSledright, B.A., & Afflerbach, P. (2000). Reconstructing
Andrew Jackson: An exploratory study of two prospective elementary
teachers’ readings of revisionist history texts. Theory and Research
in Social Education, 28, 411-444.
VanSledright, B.A. (1998).
On the importance of historical positionality to thinking about and
teaching history. International Journal of Social Education, 12 (2),
VanSledright, B.A., & Kelly, C. (1998). Reading American
history: The influence of using multiple sources on six fifth graders. The
Elementary School Journal, 98, 239-265.
VanSledright, B.A., & Frankes, L. (1998). Literature’s place
in learning history and science. In C. Hynd (Ed.), Learning from text:
Views across conceptual domains
(pp. 117-138). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
VanSledright, B.A. (1997). And Santayana lives on: Students’
views on the purposes for studying American history. Journal of
Curriculum Studies, 29, 529-557.
Brophy, J., & VanSledright, B.A. (1997). Teaching and
learning history in elementary schools.
New York: Teachers College Press.
Combing Through History's Knots: Using Historical and
Foundation (Chicago, IL) Grant Award
Middle-Grades Students Reading Innovative History Text: Challenges
Bruce VanSledright and Peter Afflerbach
Organization: Elva Knight
Research Award (International Reading Association), Project
A Review of Research on Learning to Read History
Reading Research Center (UMCP)
Concept Development and Understanding in the History‑Social
Reading Research Center (UMCP)
Total Amount: $17,929
Last modified 18 February, 2001 © 2000 University of Maryland