Content-Area Literacy Teacher Inquiry

Historical Fiction in English and Social Studies Classrooms: Is It a Natural Marriage?



We also found that when using historical fiction in their classrooms, teachers of both subject matters wish to promote another key habit of mind: historical empathy, which needs to be built upon contextualizing the historical period. In English, it has been suggested that young adult fiction ‘can offer a connection to alienated students, mirror the lives of young adults and provide a forum for adolescents to discuss what it means to come of age, including navigating difficult problems, accessing tools needed to become problem solvers, and fostering empathy’ (Bucher and Hinton 10; Stallworth). More specifically, historical details build empathy and help students understand why characters in historical novels make certain decisions, thus humanizing historical periods and events (Bucher and Hinton; Nawrot).