Using Word to Understand Primary Documents


Teach students the power that computers can give them for asking and answering important questions. There is a great deal of primary data online that can be easily used for inquiry-based lessons.

There are many sources of primary documents that students can easily copy and paste and then manipulate to learn more. One example is:

  • Use the highlight function to highlight important ideas in the document.
  • Highlight different types of ideas using different colors.
  • Use the Primary document as a source for students to go backwards and create an outline.
  • Double or triple space the document and print it providing students with space to write their own comments and questions between the lines.
  • Use the "find" feature to search the document for specific words of interest. Highlight those words or change the text to a different color to help it to stand out.
  • Students highlight words that they do not understand and use the Insert Comment feature to put in the definition. When the cursor is rolled over the highlighted text the comment will appear with the definition that the student wrote.

This can also be used for students who have a kinesthetic approach to learning who are struggling with reading. A teacher can highlight, copy and paste text from a story OR even type it into a Word Processing document. The text can be highlighted and the text enlarged or put into a different font.

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