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Getting critical with disciplinary literacy: a read aloud strategy

Melissa Wrenn (East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA)
Jennifer L. Gallagher (East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA)

Social Studies Research and Practice

ISSN: 1933-5415

Article publication date: 13 April 2021

Issue publication date: 25 May 2021




The purpose of this article is to explain and demonstrate a critical disciplinary read aloud strategy that has both an equity goal and a social studies goal.


The authors begin by explaining background information on read alouds and critical disciplinary literacy. Then, the authors explain the four steps in the critical disciplinary literacy read aloud strategy. As the authors do so, they share important research that supports each of the four steps. Next, the authors offer a sample lesson plan using the informational picture book, Carter Reads the Newspaper.


The lesson plan uses a 5E template to promote critical disciplinary literacy before, during and after reading in such a way that teachers can foster inquiry through the use of social studies read alouds. After reading this article, teachers will understand more about what critical disciplinary literacy means, what it looks like a lesson plan and how to create their own similar plans using the template and resources provided.


The critical disciplinary literacy strategy offers teachers a way to engage elementary students in work that highlights social justice topics and inquiry.



The authors would like to acknowledge Gordon Goodwin for his contributions as a copy editor and graduate assistant for this project.


Wrenn, M. and Gallagher, J.L. (2021), "Getting critical with disciplinary literacy: a read aloud strategy", Social Studies Research and Practice, Vol. 16 No. 1, pp. 1-15.



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