Discussing the Value of Primary Sources [21:49]

I have long been intrigued by primary sources, probably stemming from seeing a newsreel documentary film on the Holocaust in high school. Although I have never had a history course that enabled me to focus on the human side of history as opposed to battles, trends, and timelines, I have conducted personal inquiry by reading both primary and secondary sources on the Holocaust and World War II for most of my life.

Female riveter during World War II
It's no wonder, then, that I connected with the Library of Congress (LOC) as I began exploring the concept of inquiry and the use of primary sources to provoke and motivate my students to ask questions and follow their own curiosity. I have watched the almost exponential growth of digitized sources in diverse formats available through the LOC. I have been elated by the support for teachers on the LOC website (https://www.loc.gov/) and the emphasis on teaching students to analyze and ask questions.

The value of using primary sources goes beyond the sources and their analysis to how they are used by teachers and librarians to engage and challenge students to inquire. I reached out to my colleague, Kathy McGuigan, who is an educational specialist at the LOC, to get a picture of the breadth and depth of LOC's digitized sources and to be connected to practicing teachers and librarians who could give me insight into authentic and effective teaching with primary sources. I know you will enjoy this interview with Jen Reidel, a social studies teacher at an alternative public high school in Bellingham, Washington, and Tom Bober, an elementary school librarian in St. Louis, Missouri.

0:00 Introduction
2:21 Inside the Library of Congress
6:48 Using Primary Sources to Teach Critical Thinking
13:19 Using Primary Sources to Teach Empathy

Additional Resources

To help you explore the LOC resources effectively, Kathy has created a guided tour and slideshow: "Shortcuts to Sources from the Library of Congress."

Beyond the wealth of materials at the Library of Congress, the number of repositories of primary sources can be almost overwhelming. Kathy Schrock has produced and updated a very useful guide to collections of primary sources on her website, Kathy Schrock's Guide to Everything (https://www.schrockguide.net/primary-sources.html).

Barbara K. Stripling, Kathy McGuigan, Jen Reidel and Tom Bober

MLA Citation

Stripling, Barbara K., Kathy McGuigan, Jen Reidel, and Tom Bober. "Discussing the Value of Primary Sources [21:49]." ABC-CLIO Solutions, ABC-CLIO, 2023, educatorsupport.abc-clio.com/TopicCenter/Display/2255391?productId=2002&topicCenterId=2257524&subId=2259801. Accessed 28 Jan. 2023.

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