at Eastern Illinois University 

L. Potter at EIU

Lee Ann Potter, Director of Education Outreach for the Library of Congress at EIU.

More than 130 attendees at the EIU History and Social Sciences Teachers Conference on Friday, October 10th had to opportunity to attend Ms. Potter's engaging keynote address, "Deep Admiration, Communication and the Power of Primary Sources". The diverse audience learned about a variety of primary sources found in the collections of the Library of Congress which apply to different disciplines and support the development of core literacy skills that are valuable throughout life.  We thank Lee Ann for visiting our EIU campus and enhancing the conference with her presentation, attendance and participation in sessions and conversations.

ICSS at TPS EIUNEW!  Illinois Council for the Social Studies  
2015 Spring Conference at EIU. 

Be sure to make a note on Friday, March 6, 2015 on your calendar now! For the first time, EIU will host the ICSS conference for teachers.  

Our "working theme" is Developing Literacy in K-12 History, Social Sciences and Language Arts: Content Knowledge and Strategies for Teachers to Support Learning Standards for Students.  As teachers we consciously (and instinctively) develop and implement strategies that develop literacy skills while engaging students in the subject matter content that we love and they need. 

This is a great time for TPS EIU alumni, friends and colleagues to present the amazing things they do in their classroom to other educators.  We will add a page to our site for information about submitting proposals soon! Check back often. For info email Cindy at


Content in the center of each page will change, but the side navigation bars  remain the same throughout the site.  On this index page you will find

What is
Teaching with
Primary Sources?
& Opportunities

News, Announcements and Opportunities


NEW! TPS EIU Professional Development information! Check out our new page to learn about all of the options we offer. I'm sure we can fit into your busy schedule!






Resource Spotlight



Facilitating Students’ Historical Scrutiny of Credibility within Slave Narratives

The Councilor: A Journal of the Social Studies

History education researchers encourage teachers to intentionally integrate content, methods, and assessment in discipline-specific and age-appropriate ways.  State and national initiatives prescribe such integration across curricula and within all areas of the social studies from early elementary through high school.  The stipulation, however, does not provide a map for interested yet overwhelmed educators.  This is especially true for elementary and middle level teachers as the majority of historical thinking research and methodological guides targets older students.  To address this concern, we propose teachers fuse the content, methods, and assessment with specific historical thinking skills, or heuristics.  We model our theoretical approach with concrete examples.  We target middle level educators in an effort to facilitate historical thinking for this oft-neglected age group.

Trade books’ Historical Representation of Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, and Helen Keller

Social Studies Research and Practice

Common Core State Standards Initiative mandates increased readings of informational texts within English Language Arts starting in elementary school.  Accurate, age-appropriate, and engaging content is at the center of effective social studies teaching.  Textbooks and children’s literature—both literary and informational—are prominent in elementary classrooms because of the esoteric nature of primary source material.  Many research projects have investigated historical accuracy and representation within textbooks, but few have done so with children’s trade books.  We examined children’s trade books centered on three historical figures frequently incorporated within elementary school curricula:  Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, and Helen Keller.  Findings revealed various forms of historical misrepresentation and differing levels of historicity.  Reporting such lacunae is important for those involved in curricular decisions.  We believe children’s books, even those with historical omissions and misrepresentations, provide an unique opportunity for students to incorporate and scrutinize diverse perspectives as they actively assemble historical understandings.  All secondary narratives, even historically representative children’s books, can benefit from primary source supplementation.  We guide teachers interested in employing relevant and rich primary source material.

Examining the Representation of Slavery within Children’s Literature

Social Studies Research and Practice[Online], v9 n1 Spring 2014

Middle level teachers, at times, link historical content with relevant English literature in interdisciplinary units.  Elementary teachers periodically employ history-themed literature during reading time.  Interconnections between language arts and history are formed with developmentally appropriate literature for students.  Historical misrepresentations, however, proliferate in children’s literature and are concealed behind engaging narratives.  Since literacy and historical thinking are essential skills, children’s literature should be balanced within, not banished from, the classroom.  Using America’s peculiar institution of slavery as a reference point, this article examines children’s literature, identifies almost a dozen areas of historical misrepresentation, and proffers rich primary source material to balance the various misrepresentations.  We provide teachers with reason for caution when including such literature; but also model how to locate, use, and, at times, abridge primary source material within an elementary or middle level classroom. Such curricular supplements provide balance to engaging but historically-blemished children’s literature and enable educators to attain the rigorous prescriptions of Common Core.
Podcast - Join Cindy for TechTalk4Teacher podcasts with EIU colleagues, Dr. Tom Grissom, Instructional Technology Center Director and Mike Gioia, Asst. Dir. of Information Security. Casts cover a variety of education technology topics and each host brings unique perspective and expertise.

What is Teaching with Primary Sources?

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, is the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Founded in 1800, the Library seeks to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, which bring to bear the world’s knowledge in almost all of the world’s languages and America’s private sector intellectual and cultural creativity in almost all formats. The Library seeks to spark the public’s imagination and celebrate human achievement through its programs and exhibits.

In doing so, the Library helps foster the informed and involved citizenry upon which American democracy depends. Today, the Library serves the public, scholars, Members of Congress and their staff—all of whom seek information, understanding and inspiration. Many of the Library’s rich resources and treasures may also be accessed through the Library’s award-winning Web site

The mission of the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) program is to: build awareness of the Library’s educational initiatives; provide content that promotes the effective educational use of the Library’s resources; and offer access to and promote sustained use of the Library’s educational resources.

The Library achieves this mission through collaborations between the Library and the K-12 educational community across the United States. The program contributes to the quality of education by helping teachers use the Library’s digitized primary sources to engage students, develop their critical thinking skills and construct knowledge.  Learn more about the Library’s TPS program and other resources available to teachers at

Members of the TPS Educational Consortium assist in the design of the TPS program and offer TPS professional development on an ongoing basis, year round. Visit to view a list of current Consortium members and their respective states.

Funded by a grant from the Library of Congress, the Teaching with Primary Sources program at Eastern Illinois University has been actively collaborating with Central Illinois K-12 educators since the program inception in January 2004.  We are proud to support the goals and mission of the national TPS program through workshops and presentations at no cost. TPS was brought to the EIU campus thanks to the efforts of Senator Dick Durbin.

We welcome your comments and ideas about our site. Please email us if you would like to see something new or have an idea for a theme.
Updated 10.16.14


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Contact Information

Teaching with Primary Sources
Eastern Illinois University
600 Lincoln Ave.
Charleston, IL 61920

Director: Cindy Rich, Ph.D.  



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