Studies Weekly: America’s New Elementary Social Studies Textbook

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Oklahoma's new 2012 social studies standards rendered all K-5 social studies textbooks obsolete. This same thing has been happening for several years throughout the country. But with budget shortfalls state governments are embracing a new kind of 'textbook' where each 'chapter' is published in the form of a weekly 4-page magazine that's perpetually updated, beloved by teachers, parents and students, and costs a fraction of traditional elementary social studies textbooks.

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Oklahoma becomes the 9th state to officially adopt 'America's New Textbook'

We need to bring to life the ‘Owner’s Manual of Democracy’ (social studies) for elementary age students during their most formative years so that when it’s their turn to govern our country they’ll know how!

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In fall 2013 many Oklahoma kids will have a new elementary social studies ‘textbook’ in their backpacks, but it won’t be as heavy as traditional textbooks. On November 16, 2012 Oklahoma became the ninth state to adopt a new digitally interactive ‘textbook’ that's published in magazine format by Studies Weekly.

Give kids a choice between a textbook and a colorful, kid-friendly magazine and it won’t take them long to choose. Put the two together and make it digitally interactive with smart devices and you’ve got a winning combination – perpetually updated affordable educational material that makes learning fun! CEO, Ed Rickers is at the helm of a company that does just that.

Studies Weekly began in Utah in 1984 when fourth-grade teacher Paul Thompson found no state history textbook to use in his class. He decided to write a state history “textbook” in a weekly magazine format, and Studies Weekly was born. Unlike traditional textbooks, Studies Weekly is perpetually updated as needed to avoid obsolescence. But it's also different than traditional magazines because much of the content remains the same from year to year. This is good for teachers that plan ahead and like to rely on familiar lesson plans. For each year's crop of new students it's 'brand new' content 'fresh off the press' every week. Students can login and read articles online and even scan smart (QR) codes in the magazines with smartphones and tablets to digitally interact with the content.

In 1996, Ed Rickers, Mr. Thompson's son-in-law, founded American Legacy Publishing, Inc. with the goal of sharing the innovative Studies Weekly publishing concept with teachers nationwide. Mr. Rickers began to hire teachers as authors and editors and also hire illustrators, graphic designers and web programmers to help him share the benefits of Mr. Thompson’s innovation.

The Studies Weekly format is particularly well suited for social studies content. Citing empirical evidence from Dr. Benjamin Bloom that students form “80 percent of their adult intelligence by age eight,”* Mr. Rickers stated, “We need to bring to life the ‘Owner’s Manual of Democracy’ (social studies) for elementary age students during their most formative years so that when it’s their turn to govern our country they’ll know how!”

Today Studies Weekly publications are used in all 50 states in more than 15 percent of public and private elementary schools. Now as much as ever the publications provide the advantages Mr. Thompson originally delivered: less preparation for teachers and more fun for students as they learn vital subjects.

  • Dr. Benjamin S. Bloom, University of Chicago, New York: Wiley, 1964, Stability and Change in Human Characteristics. See more here

About Studies Weekly® Publications by American Legacy Publishing
Studies Weekly® publications are like textbooks in magazine format, which are carefully aligned with the Common Core State Standards for Social Studies, English Language Art (ELA), Science and Math. Studies Weekly® publications have been adopted by State Departments of Education with state contracts for both social studies and science instruction in many states. The American Legacy Publishing Company publishes 92 classroom periodicals, which is more than Weekly Reader, Scholastic News, Time For Kids and Highlights Magazine combined. For more information and free samples, visit or call 866-311-8734.

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Terry Burden
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