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Reading Like a Historian

In March of 2014, The Los Angeles Unified School District entered into a partnership with the Stanford History Education Group (SHEG) to bring the groundbreaking curriculum, Reading Like a Historian (RLH) to every Secondary History/Social Science classroom with in LAUSD. 


The Reading Like a Historian (RLH) curriculum embodies the instructional shifts required by the Common Core State Standards. RLH makes disciplinary, historical inquiry accessible to diverse groups of learners. A disciplinary approach to history instruction engages students in the creation of historical knowledge. With this approach, students read closely, evaluate, and interpret historical sources in order to use text based evidence to reach a conclusion. 


The RLH curriculum includes four primary components of historical inquiry: 1) the introduction and application of relevant background knowledge; 2) investigation of central historical questions; 3) analysis of multiple documents and artifacts; and, 4) development of evidence-based claims through writing and discussion. The RLH approach represents a significant departure from typical history instruction. In order to be accessible to diverse groups of learners, particularly second language learners and struggling readers, the curriculum focuses on the following instructional strategies: primary and secondary source documents; using targeted guiding questions and graphic organizers; implementing explicit strategy instruction; supporting group discussions; and, engaging in formative assessment of student learning.

Please see below for links to the materials needed to implement Reading Like a Historian in Grades 6, 7, and 8.  Note that each lesson is preceded by a standards alignment page. The standards alignment contain two primary focus standards: one for reading and one for writing. These standards are indicated in bold. While the standards do not function in isolation, teachers should emphasize the standards bolded in each instructional component.


The writing emphasis for the first instructional component is expository and for the second is argument, at each grade level.

Additional information on assisting low-achieving students, high-achieving students, students with disabilities, and English learners.  


Instructional Materials

Please click below to access instructional materials:


Grade 6 

Grade 6 Curricular Map
Grade 6 Essential Questions

Grade 6 Citizenship in the Roman Republic CCSS lesson

Grade 6 Citizenship in the Roman Republic CCSS lesson handout 

Grade 6 River System Cross-curricular unit CCSS lesson


Grade 7 

Grade 7 Curricular Map
Grade 7 Essential Questions

Grade 7 Instructional Guide (created prior to CCSS implementation) 

Grade 7 Student Workbook (created prior to CCSS implementation) 

Grade 7 Ghana and Mali CCSS lesson


Grade 8

Grade 8 Curricular Map

Grade 8 Essential Questions

Grade 8 Instructional Guide (created prior to CCSS implementation) 

Grade 8 Student Workbook (created prior to CCSS implementation) 

Grade 8 The Origin of Political Parties in America CCSS lesson

Assessment Schedule







October 2016





December 2016





March 2017


Silk Road



May 2017









October 2016


Mansa Musa



December 2016





March 2017


Black Death



May 2017









October 2016


Great Awakening



December 2016


Fed vs. Anti-Feds



March 2017


Indian Removal



May 2017







Interim Assessments

History and Social Science Content Standards K-12th

History/Social Science Framework

American Flags

California Common Core Standards