Primary Source Sets

Compelling primary sources strengthen social studies lessons for students of all grade levels, but finding the right source can be time-consuming. We have collected sets of sources from the Library of Congress, on topics that align with student abilities and standards in multiple grade levels, to save on research time and encourage the use of more primary sources in the classroom.

Early elementary students can analyze photographs, such as the ones in Kids in School and Where People Live, while high school students can dig deeper into more conceptual and complex topics, such as Colonialism and Urbanization. A great place to start for all learners is a basic structure of source analysis: Observe, Think, Wonder. The questions students generate can lead to more questions and authentic conversations about historical topics.

Each set includes a brief paragraph on the sources' historical context and ideas to reflect upon related to culturally relevant pedagogy.


Meghan Davisson (, grant director

Disclaimer: Content created and featured in partnership with the TPS program does not indicate an endorsement by the Library of Congress.