Faculty Members




Bruce VanSledright

Associate Professor

Department of Curriculum and 

Phone: (301) 405-3141

Fax: (301) 314-9055

Email: bv14@umail.umd.edu

Home Page




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), 1-18.

            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.


Recent Grants

Title:                                Combing Through History's Knots: Using Historical and  
                            Investigations to Enhance Thinking of Diverse Fifth Graders

Investigator::                   Bruce VanSledright

Funding Organization:  Spencer Foundation (Chicago, IL) Grant Award 

Dates:                             1999-2000        

Total Amount:                 $31,800


Title:                                Middle-Grades Students Reading Innovative History Text: Challenges and  

Investigator:                   Bruce VanSledright and Peter Afflerbach

Funding Organization:  Elva Knight Research Award (International Reading Association), Project

Dates:                            1996-1998 

Total Amount:                $4,830


Titles:                              A Review of Research on Learning to Read History 
                                        The Role of Literature in History and Science

Investigator:                   Bruce VanSledright

Funding Organization:  National Reading Research Center (UMCP)

Dates:                            1996-1997        

Total Amount:                $19,761


Title:                                Concept Development and Understanding in the History‑Social Studies 
                            Classroom: Comparative Case Studies of Reading Engagement

Investigator:                   Bruce VanSledright

Funding Organization:  National Reading Research Center (UMCP)

Dates:                            1995-1996      

Total Amount:                $17,929


Last modified 18 February, 2001           © 2000 University of Maryland