The importance of historical fiction in teaching history


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This presentation was used at the Tennessee Reading Association Conference in 2013. It works with the historical fiction text type and shows how its use can make history more meaningful and enjoyable for students. It incorporates the authors work on a historical fiction book Sharpshooter: The Life and Times of Tilman Manus and also gives sources for use of hundreds of historical fiction works in the classroom.

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The importance of historical fiction in teaching history

  1. 1. The Importance of Historical Fiction in Teaching History Keith Pruitt, Ed.S
  2. 2. • As we look at the Common Core State Standards, it becomes apparent that it is meant that even in Social Studies there is the need to use different types of text. • Too often, history is taught as a dry set of facts. This happened at that point… completely separated from emotion or reality.
  3. 3. History is more • Than just the actions of leaders. Washington led the Revolution but our ancestors fought it. • Than just dates on a calendar. September 11th is more than just a tragic date in American history. • Than just boring facts to be remembered for a test. • History is the account of how our families came to be….
  4. 4. Historical Fiction Allows • Students to look at history as human interaction • Present history as POV
  8. 8. Discovered Cairo Newspaper Article dated December 29, 1937 • Born in Cannon County in 1835 • He and uncle James had moved Wallace family on foot to Shreveport (or somewhere there about) when he was 19 • Then went to Anna, Illinois • Helped lay the railroad lines • Witnessed Lincoln/Douglas Debate • Served in Civil War as Union soldier • Became a farmer
  9. 9. In 1939, Tilman’s daughter-in-law (Andrew’s wife) Josie recorded various recollections from Tilman reflecting on his life. This was kept in print until recently.
  10. 10. As I began to do research I began to find all types of pictures that existed of Tilman. Some of these were given to me after the book came out.
  11. 11. TRAVELING TO FIND TILMAN During the course of doing research, I’ve traveled to Anna a couple of times, to Lick Creek, Cobden, Jonesboro, Vicksburg and Natchez, Mississippi. I began to work toward creating a story of those years of transition when he went from a teenager in Cannon County to coming home from the War in 1865. Here is a pictorial collage of the journey.
  12. 12. Barringer School where Tilman’s children were educated. Tilman’s farmhouse as it appeared in 1967. He left this house in about 1911. Tilman’s City House today
  13. 13. The final resting place of Uncle James Manus in the National Cemetery in Natchez, Miss.
  14. 14. A Reading From the Book
  15. 15. How Can I Build This In The Classroom? 1. Look for ways to incorporate the reading of good historical fiction into the classroom. 2. Have students look at historical topics through other POVs. 3. Incorporate RESEARCH and Writing of historical fiction in the classroom. t_Children_s_Historical_Fiction
  16. 16. Thank You Keith Pruitt Join us on