Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Teacher Education and Leadership

Department name when degree awarded

Teacher Education and Leadership

Committee Chair(s)

Sylvia Read


Sylvia Read


Marla Robertson


Eric Mohr


Amy Piotrowski


Genevieve Ford


The purpose of this feasibility study is to provide evidence of how integrating reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills into eighth-grade social studies instruction facilitates student understanding of content material and ability to write about social studies content. In this within-subjects paired-samples research study, 197 eighth-grade participants received instruction in a social studies content area and in argumentative writing. Data from a criterion-referenced social studies pre and posttest and data from pre and post instruction writing samples were analyzed to evaluate the influence of the integration of literacy tasks in middle school social studies classrooms on content area knowledge acquisition and argumentative writing quality. Analysis of the Criterion Referenced Test (CRT) data using regression analysis showed that there was a statistically significant increase in the students’ performance on the CRT after the students engaged in literacy tasks emphasizing reading, writing, speaking, and listening during the social studies instruction. Analysis of the writing rubric scores using Cohen’s d showed statistically significant differences exist between the students pre and post essay scores. These results suggest that having students engage in reading, writing, speaking, and listening tasks and in explicit writing instruction and production during a social studies unit facilitates their content knowledge acquisition, improves the overall quality of students’ argumentative writing, and more specifically, improves the organization and development of that writing. It is recommended that further research be conducted to determine the best way to group students for collaboration when incorporating reading, writing, speaking, and listening tasks within content area instruction.