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Accessing Inquiry

Man holds up a color print of an 19th c. cartoon as he gestures with his free hand.
A Pennsylvania teacher analyzes immigration data and primary sources in Emerging America graduate course, Accessing Inquiry for English Learners through Primary Sources.

Social studies and the humanities present unique challenges to struggling learners: complex stories, abstract concepts such as “citizenship,” a huge disciplinary vocabulary and need for background knowledge.

View a graphic layout of the sections of the Accessing Inquiry Clearinghouse

What is Accessing Inquiry? What does it offer?
Do Not Patronize Me Credo Screen Grab

Accessing Inquiry offers strategies to teach History, Social Science, and the Humanities to ALL learners.

Examine the framework, Universal Design for Learning–supporting excellence for all by offering multiple paths to understanding. Integrate the histories of people with disabilities and of immigrant and foreign language communities into your curriculum–often through topics that you already teach! Gain strategies to know and support diverse students, to empower them to ask good questions, to engage them in deep thinking, and to assess what they are learning.

How can I find curriculum and teaching strategies?
A room with at least 5 iron beds with patients lying or sitting up, other convalescing soldiers have crutches, a wheelchair, and a wheeled bed, and 3 white-capped uniformed female nurses and 3 men in soldiers uniforms stand in the background , France,1917 or 1918

Browse through all the Accessing Inquiry pages to discover a wealth of tools and activities to make instruction accessible for all learners. 

Search our library of Teaching Resources for accessible Lesson Plans and Primary Source Sets, including many that feature Disability History or Immigrant History. All build on the rich resources of the Library of Congress, the Disability History Museum, and our many other partners. Or search for classroom Teaching Strategies, featuring diverse approaches to inquiry, engagement, and assessment.

How do I find out about workshops and courses?
Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Consortium Member logo

Gain understanding of Emerging America's approach to Professional Development, including summaries of its varied programs. Learn about and register for current workshops and courses, both in-person and online–all emphasizing inquiry-based use of primary sources, in-depth content from top scholars, practical classroom strategies, sharing with engaged colleagues, and much more! Sign up for our weekly History eNews digest, including our events and many others. Read the Emerging America blog, including a search through back issues. 

Since 1974, the Collaborative has supported good teaching of ALL learners. Emerging America brought this focus to history education in 2006. Now Accessing Inquiry advances that work through the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Program at the Collaborative for Educational Services.

Framework for Inclusion: Physical, Pedagogical, and Narrative Accessibility
Overlapping circles of the Framework for Inclusion are for Physical Accessibility, Pedagogical Accessibility, and Narrative Accessibility.
A Comprehensive Approach to Full Inclusion
Effective implementation for all learners, especially the 7.5 million Special Education students in the United States, requires careful consideration of Physical Accessibility, Pedagogical Accessibility, and Narrative Accessibility. Consider implications of this framework and find links to resources in each area. 

Upcoming Workshops


Inclusion at the 2024 National Council for History Education Conference March 7-9, 2024 - Cleveland - Register Breakout session: Friday 10-10:50am - Rm Veter…
Social Studies and Humanities pose distinct challenges for struggling learners. Extensive discipline-specific vocabulary, difficult informational texts –includi…
April 9, 2024 - Sponsored by the Learning Disabilities Association of America  This one-hour workshop empowers Special Education teachers to foster supportive…