"I don't know why they couldn't answer the questions. We covered the subject in our social studies class. Besides, all the answers are in the textbook!"
Has such a thought ever passed through your mind as you looked with dismay at your class' test results? Unfortunately, this kind of reaction is common to the social studies teacher in our nation's classrooms. Difficulties in learning to read in content area subjects tend to baffle the teacher and present obstacles to the learner. All this can be overcome by a strategy which is based on knowledge of how a student learns to read fluently.
One solution to the problem is derived from research findings in the fields of memory processing and reading (Adams, 1967; Smith, 1971, 1975; Wilson, 1966). From memory processing, we will borrow a principle known as chunking and adapt it to the aim of reading, that is, to get meaning from written language.
Valentine, E. P., & Francks, O. R. (1979). To Teach a Social Studies Concept--Chunk It!. Reading Horizons, 20 (1). Retrieved from http://scholarworks.wmich.edu/reading_horizons/vol20/iss1/9