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Secondary-level content area teachers face unique challenges in helping their students successfully read, understand, and learn content from complex texts in their discipline. This article provides a set of research-based intstructional practices designed to improve students’ reading and comprehension of text and content. Specific examples of each practice within a social studies unit illustrate how to promote text reading and understanding that is integrated with the content.

Also available in the Downloads section at right are sample materials from the authors' Promoting Adolescents’ Comprehension of Text project, described in the manuscript.


Swanson, E., & Wanzek, J. (2013). Applying research in reading comprehension to social studies instruction for middle and high school students. Intervention in School and Clinic. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/1053451213496157

Related Institute

Related Project

Published Date


Funding Source

U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences


Features of Effective Instruction
Reading Instruction

Type of Resource

Journal Article/Book Chapter


Higher Education Instructor

Grade Level

Middle School
High School