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Guided Reading History Challenge! SPEARS


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This is one Guided Reading Activity from a set of 24 that makes up 4 separate guided reading challenges designed for 4 year groups in KS3 and 4. Each extract is from one of the SPEARS topics (Social, Political, Economic, Armed Conflict, Religious and Science).

Guided Reading is an activity in which students are given an extract (2-4 pages-ish) from a real history book. They have to read through it and annotate it, with a ‘subtitle’ and 1-2 bullet points of key details of each paragraph. At the end there is space for students to write a summary of their learning from the extract.


The extracts are as follows:

Year/Grade 7:

  • Social – Women in Roman Society – Mary Beard, SPQR (article)
  • Political – Norman Control of England – Marc Morris, The Norman Conquest
  • Economics – Aksum Empire – Martin Meredith, The Fortunes of Africa (article)
  • Armed Conflict - Battle of Hastings – Marc Morris, Anglo-Saxons
  • Religious – Islamic Medicine – Firas Alkhateeb, Lost Islamic History (article)
  • Science – Black Death Contagion Theories – Benedict Gummer, The Scourging Angel

Year/Grade 8:

  • Social – Poverty & Marriage in Industrial Britain – Emma Griffen, Liberty’s Dawn
  • Political – Peterloo Massacre – E.P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class (article)
  • Economic – The Great Exhibition – Ben Wilson, Heyday
  • Armed Conflict – East Indian Company & Sepoys – William Dalrymple, Anarchy
  • Religious – Christianity in The New World – Mark Steward, Great Expeditions
  • Science – Chicago and the Mid-West – William Cronon, Nature’s Metropolis,

Year/Grade 9:

  • Social – Migration to Britain – Sathnam Sanghera, Empireland
  • Politics – The Rise of Stalin – Frank Dikotter, Dictators
  • Economic – The Rise of Germany – Katja Hoyer, Blood and Iron
  • Armed Conflict – Japan’s invasion of China – Rana Mitter, China’s War with Japan
  • Religious – Indian Partition – Barney White-Spunner, Partition
  • Science – Naval Technology – Robert Masse, Dreadnought.

KS4/Senior School

  • Social – Youth in Nazi Germany – Julia Boyd, A Village in the Third Reich
  • Politics – USA and post war Europe – Odd Arne Westad, The Cold War
  • Economics – Inflation ion Weimar Germany – Richard J Evans, The Coming of the Third Reich
  • Armed Conflict – Rolling Thunder – Max Hastings, Vietnam
  • Religious – USSR and Religion – Simon Sebag Montefiore, Stalin.
  • Science – A Bomb Development – Pap Ndiaye, Nylon and Bombs

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Hope it helps.

Guided Reading History Challenge

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