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State Historical Society of Iowa

Read Iowa History

Read Iowa History are free and downloadable lessons for K-5 educators that provide easy-to-follow instruction to integrate Primary Source Sets and the Iowa Core Standards for Social Studies and Literacy. The Read Iowa History lessons were developed by the State Historical Society of Iowa and created with a Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) grant from the Library of Congress.

Read Iowa History utilizes the compelling and one supporting question from the elementary-level Primary Source Sets. Educator materials include:

  • Primary Sources
  • Lessons
  • Worksheets
  • Historical Introduction to the Topic
  • Assessments
  • Vocabulary Lists/Cards
Educators are welcome to interpret the lessons created in Read Iowa History and apply them as best applicable to their classroom. These lessons also can be applied to other supporting questions from the Primary Source Sets or with the use of other primary sources not featured in Read Iowa History. Additional Read Iowa History lessons will be forthcoming with lessons available for each of the K-5 Primary Source Sets.


Children Play "Ring Around the Rosie" in Chicago, Illinois

Children's Lives: Comparing Long Ago to Today

1st Grade

 Lunch Hour at a Country School in Grundy Center, Iowa

Schools: Comparing Long Ago, Today and Other Cultures

2nd Grade

 Western Union Messengers in Des Moines, Iowa, August 1918 (Image)

Transportation in Rural and Urban Spaces

3rd Grade

 Dakota Sioux

American Indians and Westward Expansion

4th Grade

 "Migrant Mother" Florence Thompson with Her Children in Nipomo, California

Great Depression and the Dust Bowl

 Field Workers Harvesting Sweet Corn in Grimes, Iowa, August 1946

Iowa's Corn and Agriculture Industry

5th Grade

 African-American Demonstrators Outside the White House, March 12, 1965 (Image)

Right to Vote: African-American Suffrage

 State of Iowa Constitution

Government, Democracy and Laws

 African refugee children in Iowa

Trade: Responsibility on the World Stage