Reading/Language Arts

Teaching in the Elementary School Classroom Contents | Reference Lists

Contents of section:

Creative Writing

78.01.01 A Language Arts Program with a Student-Centered Approach
Unit geared for high school students. However, can be adapted for middle and upper elementary students, 3-5. Gives ideas for conferences, workshops, room setting, materials, etc.

78.01.05 A Course in Basic Skills
Written for high school sophomores. Could be adapted for grade levels, 1-5. This unit presents exciting ideas for creative writing. Especially interesting is the mandatory Christmas present consisting of a personal poem, essay, drawing, etc.

78.01.06 Skill Building for Educational and Vocational Advancement
Planned for eight grade students concerning communication and composition skills for job related careers, (e.g. writing letters, interview skills, job search, etc.). Could be adapted for grades three to five and used with school to career program.

78.01.07 Ninth Grade English: Aims, Skills, and Procedures for Stretching a Student's Capacity to Think
Presented to ninth grade students. Could be adapted for elementary grade levels 1-5. Interesting example where students are given questions from classmates concerning their topics. Students do research and bring answers back to class.

78.01.08 Effective Methods for Teaching Paragraph Development
Geared for high school English classes. Could be useful for elementary teachers. Gives great examples for setting up a writing program. Good examples for helping students develop a paragraph.

78.01.12 The Sequential Teaching of Writing Skills at Grade Eight
Although designed for eight grade students, this unit could easily be adapted for use in grades three through five. This unit contains excellent lessons and activities for reducing grammatical errors in students' writings. It contains an interesting game: scavenger hunt for prepositional phrases.

80.04.02 Flash! Super Heroes Teach Students How to Read and Write
This unit takes advantage of student' interest in comic books to widen their view of the world of print. Contains six weeks of lesson plans. It is adaptable to grades 3-5.

80.04.03 The Building Blocks to Children's Creative Writing
Divided into four sections, this unit aims to develop students' creative writing abilities. Targets middle school, but could be used with fifth graders.

81.04.03 The Sparkplugs: Special Occasion for Writing in the History Classroom
This unit uses current events or major national events as a basis for writing in the classroom. Students select a topic to discuss in class, and then write their views. Part of the unit could be adapted for middle and upper elementary students, grades 3-5.

81.04.04 Enthusiasm is All Write
Many creative writing activities are offered for the classroom teacher. The unit could be adaptive for any grade level, K-5. The unit draws upon the natural creativity and vivid imaginations of the children.

81.04.05 Enhancing Ego-Strengths to Develop Writing Skills
Excellent writing activities aimed to help children improve their self-esteem in the classroom. Activities are easily adaptable for all grade levels, K-5. This unit could easily be adapted into the Project Charlie curriculum.

81.04.06 Sentence - Combining
The unit provides the teacher with a methodology for teaching students to write detailed and expressive sentences. It contains great research for the teacher about the learning experiences of children in sentence building. This unit is most beneficial for middle and upper elementary classrooms.

81.04.09 The Five Steps for Foreign Born Students in Writing Reports
Five steps are integrated into the unit intended to guide students and teachers in report writing. Instructions are clear and straightforward so that students will be able to comprehend their tasks. Beautiful unit that could be useful for both library media specialist and classroom teachers of middle and upper elementary grade level students, 3-5.

81.04.11 Failure - Proof Writing: Assignments for the Student Who Can't/Won't Write
Unit discusses ways in which writing assignments can be formulated especially for the student who, for whatever reason, is reluctant to write. Although designed for developmentally disabled students, many of the activities and games suggested for writing could be adapted for any elementary grade level, K-5. Suggestions are clear and concise.

82.02.06 American Personalities: Autobiographical Sketches
This unit integrates the understanding of personalities from United States history with reading strategies. English, as a Second Language (ESL) and Bilingual instructors are the focus for reading and writing instruction in the unit. The use of autobiographies for reading and writing can be utilized in grades 4 and 5. Audio-visual materials are also listed.

86.04.07 Painless Writing
Contains many interesting suggestions designed to motivate student writings. At least a few, and probably more, are applicable to any elementary grade level.

86.04.13 Joining Hands in Writing and Speaking
This unit presents suggestions designed to help students develop narrative, expository, descriptive, and persuasive paragraphs. Its lessons are adaptable for grades 3-5.

86.04.14 Practical Writing
Suggests a variety of methods for motivating intermediate level students to write. This unit is adaptable for grades 3-5.

86.04.15 Write On! Express and Enjoy Yourself
Uses poetry, expository journal writing, and character sketches suggested by pictures to motivate students to write. Parts of the unit or its general approach could be adapted for grades 3-5.

88.03.05 Writing and Autobiography
General writing instruction is the focus of this unit. Although some of the techniques and examples cannot be used by the youngest of writers, the strategies are easily adapted to students in grades 2 through 5.

88.03.06 All About Me
Journal writing is the thrust of this unit. Discussing the use and value of journals, this unit provides adequate strategies and lessons for the emergent writer. Students from second to fifth grade could find use of this unit.

88.03.07 The Autobiography of … Me
With a Special Education perspective, this unit discusses writing instruction strategies with an emphasis on the autobiography. The techniques and lessons provided are easily adapted to grades 1 through 5.

88.03.11 Finding Yourself through Autobiography
This unit concentrates on journals and journal writing strategies. The lessons and tactics used in this unit are adaptable to second through fifth grade. The instruction techniques are general and useful.

88.04.03 Discovering Hemingway and Myself
Writing instruction as it pertains to short stories is the emphasis of this unit. The strategies and lessons provided are adaptable to the middle-grades. Teachers of grades 3 through 5 are encouraged to use this unit as a classroom resource.

89.05.04 The Modern Newspaper
In this unit language arts skills of writing, reading, comprehending, persuading and analyzing are utilized through the media of newspapers. Students are taught how to distinguish myth for reality and avoid becoming victims of sensationalism. The unit contains an abundance of useful worksheets to be used with a newspaper. It can easily be adapted for middle and upper elementary school students, 3-5.

90.04.07 Portrait of the African American Family
Although written for high school students, activities included in the lesson plans can be adapted for upper elementary students. Throughout the unit, students will watch historical videos, read African American literature, write book reports, write poetry, keep journals, discuss racial issues, critique media portrayal of African Americans, and write stories on the theme of tolerance.

95.04.03 Male Image Building Utilizing the Writing Process
Using African American literature, establishing a system of interrelated responsibility, and utilizing the writing process, this unit attempts to improve self-image in male students. It is suitable for grades 4-5. There are obvious connections to literature and social development.

96.03.08 People, Places, and Pictures
Written for seventh and eighth grade creative writing students, this unit attempts to enhance student awareness of various cultures through the use of film. It attempts to develop an appreciation of diversity and recognition of commonalty. Some activities and films could be adapted to upper elementary students. There are connections to diversity and social development.

98.04.06 Letters to an Unborn Patriot
Although written for eighth grade students, the unit can easily be adapted for grades 4 and 5. Students explore events along a timeline chosen by the teacher. As each event is presented and explored, the student is forced to think compassionately, putting him or herself into the event and becoming part of the action. The writer is encouraged to think about the decisions that people made, doing so from several viewpoints.

99.01.04 My Family: Gender Differences and Similarities
In this unit, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. take an active role in the implementation of the curriculum unit by assisting in the publication of a literary magazine containing student writing and writing by family members. The unit focuses on two areas, "All About Me," and "Family Time." The unit is designed for students in grades K-5.

99.04.02 Teaching Reading Comprehension and Writing Skills with "Whodunits"
In this curriculum unit four popular children’s mystery series will be used: Nate the Great, Meg Mackintosh, Sebastian Super-Sleuth and The Bloodhound Gang. Emphasis is on improving reading comprehension skills and use of a variety of oral and written retelling strategies arrive at the end. Students write a mystery story of their own, going through the writing workshop process of brainstorming, mapping out ideas, writing numerous drafts and conferencing regularly with the teacher. The final product is a classroom published mystery book. The unit is recommended for grade 3 but can be adapted to include grades 1-5.

Detective Fiction

82.01.01 Finding the Key: Detective Fiction for the Developmental Reader
Containing general information relating to detective fiction, this unit supplies the necessary background for a grade 4 or a grade 5 educator who is interested in using detective fiction in the classroom. Information can be adapted to more common middle-grade detective fiction, such as Encyclopedia Brown and Nancy Drew.

82.01.02 Good-bye Magnum PI
The heroes of detective fiction are listed and discussed in this unit. The lesson strategies and the background information found in this unit are easily adapted to the middle-grades, specifically grades 4 and 5. The characteristics of the heroes listed can aid in the composition of detective fiction by students.

89.04.02 The Mystery of the Passive Students
This unit uses two popular mystery series, the Encyclopedia Brown and Tintin to promote active and creative thinking by developing higher level thinking skills and problem solving skills. The activities designed for upper elementary students include individual, small group, and large group experiences and requires students to organize information in chart form or in well-developed paragraphs.

89.04.03 "Murder" They Read
Although written for English classes, grades 5-8, the lessons and activities can easily be adapted for middle elementary students, grade 3. The unit looks at the works of Agatha Christie in helping to wet the appetite of the young reader for reading mysteries.

89.04.04 Sherlock Holmes: Teaching English Through Detective Fiction
The unit contains an interesting short biography of Arthur Conan Doyle that upper elementary students would find fascinating. Equally interesting would be the activities and projects while reading the Sherlock Holmes series.

89.04.06 Challenging Children with Mystery Stories
In this unit, students will improve their vocabulary; learn skills of sequencing, analyzing, and deducting, along with finding enjoyment in reading mysteries. Lesson plans include work sheets for students while analyzing a story. It is easily adaptable for middle and upper elementary students, 3-5.

89.04.09 Plot, Character and Setting: A Study of Mystery and Detective Fiction
Using detective fiction as a motivating force, students will improve their writing skills and analytical reading skills. The lesson plans give a clear overview for writing with a purpose and reading with deeper understanding of plot, setting and character in fiction. The lesson plans can be adapted for middle and upper elementary students, 3-5.

89.04.10 Detective Fiction for Remedial Readers
The unit introduces students to the writings of Edgar Allan Poe and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes). This unit designed for eight grade students begins with condensed biographies of each author. Part two requires students to read some of the works of these famous authors. Work sheets and activities could easily be adapted for upper elementary students, grade 5.

95.01.01 Detective Fiction: Focus of Critical Thinking
Though designed for a sixth grade, this unit, which emphasizes critical thinking through the use of series novels, could be used with some fifth and possibly fourth grade students.

95.01.02 Science and Detection: Making Connections through Einstein Anderson
Integrates the scientific process with reading and language arts through the detective fiction of Seymour Simon. This unit is suitable for grades 4-5. There is an obvious connection to science.

95.01.03 That's Not Fair
Uses both traditional and more innovative approaches, as students read different books selected from science fiction series. This unit is suitable for fifth and possibly some fourth grade students. Interdisciplinary approach.

95.01.04 Solving Mysteries in Stories and throughout the Curriculum
Uses detective fiction to engage elementary students in problem solving. Uses interdisciplinary approach. This unit is suitable for grades 3-5.

95.01.05 Developing Thinking and Reasoning Skills in Primary Learners Using Detective Fiction
Using three series on detective fiction with a reading level ranging from 1.8-3.0, this unit employs an integrated approach to emphasize comprehension and writing. Could be adapted to grades 1-5 and slower readers on a higher-grade level.


87.04.03 Historians are Real People: When Stories are True
Unit utilizes literature and film to capture visual images of Britain in the 1930's. Approaches history through literature from a critical viewpoint with the intention of students being historians and acting as detectives to discover the truth. Can be adapted for upper elementary students.

88.04.04 America in Film and Fiction

This unit discusses American film and integrates the study of film with reading and writing instruction. Although some of the films discussed may not be appropriate for middle-grade students, the strategies for analysis lend itself to grades 4 and 5.


78.03.08 A Unit on American Folklore
This unit could easily be adapted for all elementary levels. One part of the unit seeks to look at folklore from one's own cultural connections, (e.g.. looking through grandma's attic, interviewing the elderly or taking a tour of a local factory). It contains great lessons on Afro-American artists.

79.04.06 Sentence-Combining in Grade Eight
A discussion of fairy tales and fables, this unit concentrates on writing. Fairy tales and fables are supplied as background information. The annotated bibliography is extensive. This unit can be adapted to any grade level, including Kindergarten through grade 5.

82.05.09 Mythology: A Study of Puerto Rican Myths, Legends and Folktales
This unit presents an overview of Puerto Rican folklore. Students utilizing this unit explore Puerto Rican mythology and how it relates to Puerto Rican life and culture. Opportunities to write original folktales based on literary models of Puerto Rican folklore are offered in the lessons. Recommended for grades 3-5.

84.03.04 A Folklore Approach to Teaching Spanish Exploratory Classes
This unit presents a comprehensive overview of folklore in its different manifestations and forms including folksongs, folktales, and proverbs. It includes a history of Panama, aims to increase the student’s reading and writing ability, and has students convert a folktale to a mini drama. Parts could be adapted for elementary grade students, 1-5.

84.04.01 Folklore in the Oral Tradition, Fairytales, Fables and Folk-legend
The unit emphasizes basic skills when looking at traditional fairy tales, fables or folk-legends. Those skills are: recalling sequence of events, separating main ideas from details, recognizing fact from opinion, summarizing, outlining and note-taking. A unique component is having students compose their own tales. It is adaptable for elementary grade levels, 1-5.

84.04.02 The Oral Tradition: Ancient, Modern, Recycled
The unit looks at two writings, "Song of Myself" written by Walt Whitman, and, Go Tell It On The Mountain written by James Baldwin. Students also become involved in the oral tradition by gathering information about their own families through written histories and artifacts. Parts can be easily adapted to all elementary grade levels.

84.04.03 Women in Traditional China and Their Portrayal in Chinese Folktales
The unit acquaints students with the culture and history of China giving them an understanding of the customs, traditions and folklore of the country. The main focus is traditional Chinese attitudes toward women as reflected in ancient folktales. The folktales are for older high school students; however, there is excellent background material for any teacher teaching a unit on China.

84.04.04 Once Upon a Time
Students of this unit will be expected to read and discuss fables and their meanings, and eventually to write fables. One book in particular, Alice In Wonderland, will be used to make comparisons with other folktales and fables. Although written for the fifth grade student, students of elementary grades, 1-5 would enjoy and profit by reading or have someone read to them and compare the stories listed.

84.04.05 Talkin Loud Black Oral Tradition
This unit emphasizes the oral tradition and the purpose it has served for African American people historically, and currently. It deals with African American folktales, African American culture, and African American lifestyle. It is an excellent unit on African American folktales that can easily be adapted for middle and upper elementary students, 3-5.

84.04.06 A Dash of Folk, A Pinch of Fairy Recipes for Playmaking
While examining the oral tradition, this unit seeks to connect theater and folk literature together through the use of creative dramatics. Easily adaptable for any elementary grade level, K-5, the unit contains an interesting twist in drama where an entire class molds an object with one lump of clay.

87.04.05 Connecticut Folklore: Fact or Fiction
Children learn about Connecticut’s history through legends. Children of all grade levels would enjoy this unit, K-5. Stories can easily be read to younger children and activities adapted to any grade level. Good resources in the bibliography.

90.05.08 A Cultural Outlook on the History of Black American Families in the Rural South
The goal of this unit is to teach students the history, customs, and folkways of rural black families through the literature of Zora Neale Hurston. The unit centers on folklore and customs of rural south. It is adaptable for upper elementary students, grade 5.

96.01.03 Multiculturalism through African Folktales and Mayan Myths
Uses African folktales and Mayan myths in an interdisciplinary approach in order to understand cultural variation. Includes ten days of lesson plans, culminating in a weeklong myth writing exercise. Designed for grades 7-8 language arts/reading class, unit could be adapted for use in upper elementary grades (3-5).


78.01.10 Interpreting Ideas in American Literature
Written for high school students about American Literature, specifically Nathaniel Hawthorne. Could easily be adapted for middle and upper elementary students, grades 3-5. Contains beautiful background information on Hawthrone, as well as, good lesson plans, work sheets, and projects.

78.02.03 Harlem Renaissance: Pivotal Period in the Development of Afro-American Culture
Presents a beautiful picture of the Harlem Renaissance period for high school English teachers. Contains Afro-American poetry and literature written during the Harlem Renaissance along with planned lessons and activities for a four-week period. Could be adapted for middle and upper elementary grades, 3-5.

78.02.04 The Black Man in Late Nineteenth-Century Literature: A Comparison of the Short Stories of Page and Cable with Those of Their Black Counterparts, Chesnutt and Dunbar
Written for high school English classes, this unit could be adapted for 5th grade students. Contains lessons and exercises for the analysis of short stories. Note taking is encouraged and individual research projects are suggested.

78.02.07 Parallel Studies in American/Afro-American Literature
Written for high school students, the purpose of this unit is to point out parallels and similarities between writings of white and black Americans that appeared during the latter part of the 19th century. Offers excellent reference material for the upper elementary teacher by introducing Afro-American literature during the 19th century.

78.03.11 Woman emerging in the Twentieth Century
This is an eight-week unit on women writers written for high school students. The unit could be adapted for upper elementary students, grade 5. Main emphasis is to improve the reading skills of students. Beautiful lesson plans. One fine example, after reading "The Frill" by Pearl Buck, children are asked to write a sketch of an American in a foreign country showing how she/he looks to the people of that country.

79.04.02 Myths, Folktales, and Fairy Tales
A unit discussing fables and folklore in literature, this unit can be easily adapted to grades K-5. The background information found in this unit allows the educator to understand the underlying meanings of popular fables and stories. This is a great unit for improving listening and writing skills.

79.05.06 Poems and Translation (from Spanish to English)
A great teacher resource, this unit offers information for the bilingual teacher. Bilingualism in literature is the main discussion of this unit. The teacher resources and annotated bibliography allow this unit to be adapted to grades K-5.

81.01.01 The Janus – Faced Phenomenon of the City
Written for high school students, introducing them to major cities in the United States such as: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Houston, and Baltimore, Washington, D.C. The unit aims to see these cities through literature, poetry, drama, etc. Could be adapted for upper elementary students, grade 5.

82.02.01 The Voice Within
Students will learn different styles of autobiographical writing through the use of a variety of ethnic novels. The students will write autobiographies modeling the styles of the authors they have studied. Teachers in grades 4 and 5 can use the techniques presented.

82.02.02 Who Do You Think You Are?
By using autobiographies, poetry, and related literature, this unit focuses on community, love and family issues as a way to promote writing autobiographies. The unit contains interesting daily motivators. The discussion of Reading instruction strategies is a resource for teachers in grades 4 and 5.

82.02.04 Scribe of Self
With this unit, students will read many autobiographies that discuss various cultures. Step by step procedures are included in the unit to motivate the students to write daily. Best suited for grades 4 and 5.

82.02.05 The I in You
Through the use of this unit, students will become familiar with a variety of writings that describe different cultures. Students will also compare experiences that are described in autobiographies to the experiences in their own lives. Recommended for grades 4 and 5 as a resource.

84.02.04 Hercules: Super Hero
The adventure stories of this unit are a good hook to connect students to a different time and place, as well, as being dramatic. The unit contains a glossary of names and pronunciation, and a synopsis of The Twelve Labors of Hercules. It is adaptable for Grade 5.

84.02.06 Euripides' Alcestis
The unit is an introductory approach to the understanding of Greek tragedy. It contains a synopsis of the Alcestis Euripides’ life and Greek tragedy. There are great activities adaptable for middle and upper elementary students, 3-5.

84.04.07 We Want Our Rites! Folk and Fairy Tales as Initiation
The unit emphasizes the oral tradition as a means of helping those individuals going though "difficult" life situations. Questions are provided so that students can reflect on the relevance of the stories and the new interpretation to their own lives. It contains beautiful games and activities easily adaptable for middle and upper elementary students, grades 3-5.

84.04.08 Visions for Students: A Study of British Ghost Stories
Although based upon a slide show and travels by the author, there is an enormous amount to material surrounding short stories that would interest middle and upper elementary students, grades 3-5. The unit gives beautiful summaries and questions for discussions, along with fun activities for this age group.

85.03.02 Literature and the Special Education Student: A Multi-Media Approach
This unit focuses on the theme of teaching literature in a Special Education setting. The unit offers techniques and lessons for teaching varied types of literature. Recommended for all grade levels, Kindergarten through grade 5.

85.03.03 Autobiography: Maya Angelou
This unit has three objectives: to expose students to autobiography as a genre, to study Maya Angelou’s autobiographical writings and to enhance the oral speaking skills of the students. Students who speak English as a second language could benefit from this unit’s integrated language arts focus. Recommended for grades K-5.

85.04.03 Famous Hispanics
Famous writers in Latin American history are recognized in this unit, with a special emphasis placed on Caribbean writers. Students study models that assist with their own research and writing projects. Recommended for grades 4 and 5.

87.02.04 Science Fiction and the Future
Although written for 7th graders of the Talented and Gifted Program, parts could be adapted for advanced upper elementary students, grade 5. This unit contains excellent lessons with great discussion questions. Good reading selections centered on science fiction.

87.02.05 Would You Like to Swing on a Vine?: The Epic Tradition and Edgar Rice Burroughs
Good background information about Burroughs’ works. Burroughs possessed a remarkable genius in creating totally imaginable environments and societies that included the dark jungles of Africa, the Martian landscape, and a point somewhere beneath the Earth’s crust. Selected activities could be used with advances upper elementary students, grade 5.

87.02.11 Glory Road: Epic Romance as an Allegory of 20th Century History: The World Through the Eyes of J.R.R. Tolkien
Stories can be read to children in middle and upper elementary grades, 3-5. Lesson plans can be adapted to this student population. Games, role-playing and discussion questions bring many hands-on activities into the classroom.

87.02.12 The Oxcart and A Raisin in the Sun: Romanticism, Realism, or Idealism
This unit can easily be adapted for middle to upper elementary students, grades 3-5. Great plays contrasting two cultures – African American and Puerto Rican. Work sheets include vocabulary games, writing activities and character studies.

88.04.02 Translation into Reality
American adolescents featured in twentieth-century short stories are the focus of this unit. The stories may be appropriate for middle-grade students. Reading strategies are stressed in the lessons. Recommended for grades 4 and 5.

89.03.05 Creative Reading
The program utilizes fairy tales and tales from around the world to motivate children to read. Family structure will be explored in the tales, especially relationships between adult and child. Student discussion and activities can be adapted for all elementary grade levels K-5.

89.04.01 The Mystery of the Undiscovered Values
Although planned with the 5th grade student in mind, this unit could easily include all elementary age students. The unit capitalizes on the student’s interest in mysteries: the puzzle; the triumph of good over evil; the insistence on fairness. Lesson plans include beautiful games centered on problem solving skills for unraveling mysteries.

90.01.02 Remember
This unit is based on autobiography and poetry using cultural diversity to study Mexican-American literature. There is an extensive bibliography on Chicano literature. Adaptable for upper elementary students, grades 4-5.

90.01.03 Learning through Autobiographical Situations
Although written primarily for Latin American students, this unit could be adapted for students in elementary grade levels, 1-5. The unit lists a series of questions for motivating students to record remembrances of the life of someone in their household.

90.01.04 Latin America "Speaks"
This unit focuses upon the life of a Cuban slave, Juan Francisco Manzano who bought his freedom by writing narrative poems of his life. The unit contains an abundance of worksheets to accompany lesson plans. Adaptable for upper elementary students, grades 4-5.

90.04.03 The Paths of Literature – The Family Today
The unit contains beautiful activities related to the family that can be adapted for middle and upper elementary grade children, 3-5. This unit is based on the premise that if students develop a positive self-concept and make a connection between what they read and real life problems, they will be encouraged to read independently.

90.05.02 Faces of the Family
The unit is suitable for upper elementary grade students. It is developed around real and fictional families. The novels that the students read will focus on families giving opportunities for discussion, writing, and thinking about their own lives and families.

90.05.05 Family Matters: Using Children’s Literature to Explore How Families Function
Activities and work sheets from lesson plans are adaptable for middle and upper elementary grade students, 3-5. Activities include sharing photographs, guided reading and class discussions, brainstorming, role-playing, and producing a puppet show. The main emphasis is to improve reading skills.

90.05.06 The American Family in Literature
The unit suggests literature for students to read along with a beautiful description of the books and activities for each one. The unit can be adapted for upper elementary students, grades 4-5.

95.02.01 Science Fiction Selections: Connecting Film to Literature for First and Second Graders
Finds similar themes in science fiction films and children's literature to develop this unit for young elementary students. It is suitable for grades 1-3.

95.02.05 Using film and Literature in the Elementary Classroom: The Jungle Book
Uses an integrated approach to study The Jungle Book. Material emphasizes the importance of the rain forest. Integrated approach. This unit is suitable for grades 1-5.

95.02.08 Friday Fantastic and Friends: The Art of Story Telling through Film
Uses puppetry, art, three children's films, and an integrated approach to help young children examine film and literature in a more critical manner. This unit places emphasis on critical thinking. It is suitable for grades 1-2.

98.02.01 From Atum-Ra to Horus – Using Egyptian Myths of Gods and Goddesses as Springboards to Increased Literacy
Written for grades K-5, the unit is a literature-based program, which focuses on Egyptian mythology. The unit explores aspects of the ancient Egyptian civilization and the role that the Nile River played in people’s view of life, death, and the afterlife. The unit is interdisciplinary and covers areas such as reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills.

98.02.06 Hercules the Hero: Understanding the Myth
This unit is designed for grades 3-5 and looks at the myth of Hercules as told throughout the ages in literature and art. The unit compares the animated Disney version with a variety of versions from traditional sources. The culmination of this unit displays a visual display of the children’s interpretation of the stories as well as discussion of the characteristics, which constitute heroism.

98.05.02 Multicultural Discovery When Reading Poetry and Stories for the Elementary Grades
The unit was written for grade K-4, but can be easily adapted to include grade 5. Lesson plans are detailed with easy-to-adapt tips and strategies. The unit embraces the reality of multiculturalism in American society by providing a balance between learning the common core of dominant cultural knowledge and knowledge of minority cultures. Children are exposed to poetry and stories connecting learning to the child’s individual world.

98.05.03 Travel through Children’s Literature into the Lives of the People of Our Nation
This unit uses children’s literature as the catalyst with which to explore the Inuit, African American, Hispanic, and Chinese cultures. The unit uses an interdisciplinary approach for third graders. However, this unit can easily be adapted to include grades 1-5. Various non-fiction children’s books and computer research supply the information base for children to successfully accomplish the objectives set forth in this unit. Each study includes activities for building background, developing vocabulary strategies and key words, previewing and predicting, setting a purpose, and the actual guided reading of each text.

98.05.05 Literature for Every Child
Although targeted for grade 4, this unit can be adapted to include grade 5. Students work cooperatively as well as independently to investigate cultural differences among America’s diverse ethnic populations. The unit’s feature novel is a story about a Vietnamese family who find that they are able to make the adjustments necessary to remain in America. The story features twelve-year-old boys who, despite their cultural differences, form a working friendship.

98.05.06 Learning to Respect Differences through Cultural Diversity in Literature
This unit written for grades 5-8 is a multicultural literature-based thematic unit. Books such as Sounder, Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, The Hiding Place, and Poems Across the Pavement are used to establish an appreciation and pride in cultures and a respect for people of other cultures with which they are not familiar.

98.05.07 The Clock Tower on Grand Avenue: A Cultural Reading Adventure
Written for grades 5-8, the unit outlines the use of three culturally different novels to review reading comprehension skills – setting; characterization; cause and effect; time, order, theme; and conflict. Novels used in the unit are: Forged by Fire, …and now Miguel and Red Scarf Girl: Memoirs of A Cultural Revolution.

99.01.06 Louisa May Alcott: Her Life, Her Times and Her Literature
The subject in this unit is on Louisa May Alcott, emphasizing how her background shaped her writing and the similarities between her life and her best-known novel: Little Women. The unit provides strategies and ideas for bringing this author and her book alive to twentieth century students. The unit is designed for students in grades 3-5.

99.01.09 Wednesday and Friends: Looking at the Chinese Family Through the Eyes of Women Authors
In this unit children use literature as a means for gathering information and appreciating a culture vastly different from their own and at the same time enhance their own reading skills at the first grade level. Wednesday Delight (a puppet) assists the children in gathering information about the values and traditions found in the Chinese family. Though the eyes of women authors and their written works and pictures, children get a glimpse of China and its people, and learn from their roots and traditions. The unit is recommended for grade 1 but can easily be adapted for grades K-5.

99.01.10 Examining the African American Family through the Eyes of Women Authors
This unit recommended for grades 3-5 presents students with a variety of literature by women authors who focus on some aspect of the African American family as it has survived its experience in the United States. The unit emphasizes the strength and sustaining force, which this institution has exerted and continues to exert upon African American life. The unit contains excellent background information, student worksheet activities, and hands-on activities for the classroom teacher.

99.01.11 Women Writers and the Contemporary Short Story
This unit offers suggestions on how to approach teaching the components of the short story such as plot, setting, and characters, and it offers approaches to ongoing assessment. Although designed for grades 6-10 parts of the unit could be adapted for grades 4-5. If the stories are too difficult, parts could be read to the class. Maud Martha, The House on Mango Street, and The Yellow Wallpaper are just a few of the stories listed in the unit.

99.04.03 Wrapped in Mystery
This unit focuses on reading comprehension and strategies to improve student performance. It also fosters independent reading. Two classic pieces of literature are used, The Invisible Man and Murders in the Rue Morgue. Two contemporary pieces are also used, The Chicken-Coop Monster and The Case of the Stolen Ring. This unit is recommended for grades 5-8.

99.04.05 Chocolate and Ice Cream Across the Curriculum
This beautiful interdisciplinary unit would appeal to children in all grade levels K-5. The unit focuses on literature and other resources such as hands on projects and experiments to provide students the opportunity to both construct meaning and knowledge by building connections between subjects. The unit is divided into five sections. In the first section a synopsis of the story The Chocolate Ice Cream Sundae Mystery is provided. Section two tells the story of chocolate. Section three looks at the story of ice cream. Section four provides the objectives for the unit. Lesson plans along with work sheets are provided in section five. The unit contains a beautiful worksheet for predicting and recording candy calculations, and an interesting teacher resource sheet on the inventions and innovations in the history of ice cream.

99.04.06 Arousing a Child’s Curiosity – What Is It?
The purpose of this unit is to familiarize third through fifth graders with the key elements in detective fiction stories and to solve an unsolved mystery song. Students use story mapping, semantic mapping, make a relief map, have fun with coordinate geometry, and discover or create an activity called "What is in the Wooden Box." The unit contains excellent student work sheets and teacher resource sheets.

99.04.08 Who Did Steal the Cookie From the Cookie Jar?
This beautiful unit is targeted for kindergarten students; however, students in grades 1-3 would enjoy the unit as well. The unit uses an interdisciplinary approach to motivate students to read and listen for detail, pleasure, and develop the skills necessary to become critical thinkers and analyzers. The song, "Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar?" is used as the plot for the mystery to be developed and solved by the students in class. Staff is involved in helping to give rhyming clues for solving the mystery. Lesson plans are detailed and well organized.


83.02.04 Mythology in the Classroom
A good introduction to Greek and Roman mythology, this unit provides an alternative to basal series. Connects to general objectives of reading program. Many suggested stories could be read orally. It is adaptable for grades 3-5.

83.02.05 Reading and Writing Via the Myths
Uses Greek and Roman myths to motivate readers. Outlines material needed to understand early Greek and Roman history. Long list of possible myths included. This unit is suitable for grades 3-5.

83.02.06 Teaching Mythology: Gods and Heroes
Encourages reading of myths for enjoyment, learning, and developing writing skills. An understanding of the history behind myths, their heroes, and some literary devices are goals. Background and summary information included. Can be adapted for grades 3-5.

83.02.08 Mythical Connections
Uses African and Greek myths to develop reading, writing, and comprehension skills of below level high school readers. Contains considerable background information. This unit is adaptable to grades 4-5.

83.02.09 Mythology in the ESL Classroom
Using classical myths in the ESL classroom, this unit aims to improve English vocabulary, reading and writing skills, and a better understanding of ancient peoples. Contains interesting information. Elementary ESL and regular classroom, grades 3-5.

83.02.12 Dolphins and Whales in Mythology Part One of a Multidisciplinary Unit
Examines role of dolphins and whales in mythology. Multidisciplinary: science, art, and literature. Though most material is appropriate for high school, there is much an upper elementary, 3-5, could pull from the considerable information included.

Native Americans

98.02.02 Native American Myths: Creation to Death
Designed for grade 4, the unit can easily be adapted for grades 3-5. The myths in the unit deal with creation, earth, the moon, corn, the first man and woman, the first horses, death. The lesson plans target listening and reading comprehension, organizational skills, expository writing, and poetry. Lesson plans are detailed and contain many interesting activities for elementary children.


78.02.01 A Middle School Approach to Black Literature: An Introduction to Dunbar, Johnson, Hughes, and Angelou
This unit could be adapted for use in the middle and upper elementary grades, 3-5. It contains excellent reviews and information of Afro-American poetry, and poets, as well as practical lesson plans.

79.01.03 The Stranger Redeemed: A Portrait of a Black Poet
This unit focuses on the poetry and prose of Langston Hughes and a study of the black "stranger" in the literature of the United States. Langston Hughes’ African American characters are contrasted to those created by white authors like Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe. There is some biographical information provided in the unit. This unit can be adapted for use in grades 4 and 5.

79.05.03 Poems that Work!
This unit concerns itself with the reading and writing of poetry. Some poems sited in this unit can be used by grades 4 and 5, however the understanding of poetry and poetry writing techniques can be adapted for grades as low as second or third.

81.04.08 Teaching Poetry in New Formats: To Intermediate Grade Students
The unit has been designed for providing classroom teachers with many specific ideas and resources for teaching poetry to intermediate students. Strong emphasis on skills needed by students in order to write poetry. It has many hands-on experiences that could be adapted for elementary students, grades 1-5.

84.02.01 Looking North of the Greek World: The Slavic Folk Poetry of the Balkans
This unit is an introduction of Yugoslav epic folk poetry, showing some of its connections with the Greek classical traditions. The unit examines the historical background of the south Slavic (Yugoslav) epic poetry. The unit is recommended for elementary school storytelling, grades 1-5.

85.01.01 The Room 20 School of Poetry
The rules and techniques of writing poetry are discussed in this unit. Although the main thrust for this unit centers on the higher grades, it can be adapted to grades 2-5. The lessons on writing poetry and the information surrounding those lessons are an adequate resource for the elementary school teacher.

85.01.03 The Voices within Theirs and Mine
Techniques and guidelines for writing specific types of poetry are outlined in this unit. The lesson plans and the background information provided in this unit make it easily utilized by teachers in grades 2-5.

85.01.06 Working with Poetry: An Actor’s Approach
This unit employs theater games and exercises along with other innovative techniques to help students gain an appreciation for poetry. Although older students study the poets mentioned in this unit, the unique methods of poetry appreciation can be applied to grades 4 and 5.

85.01.07 A History of Poetry of Various Cultures in America
Students experience a number of writing activities as this unit compares the poetry of three cultures: African American, Spanish American and European American. The cultural connection lends this unit to integration in Social Studies projects and geography projects. This unit is recommended for grades 4 and 5.

86.02.05 Improving Reading and Language Arts Skills in Learning Disabled Spanish Students through the Study of Latin American Poetry
Designed for learning disabled bilingual middle school students, this unit focuses on six holidays around which to feature Latin American poetry. A fifth grade bilingual teacher should be able to adapt some of the considerable amount of material included. Poems are written in Spanish.

87.03.01 Black Birds of Promise Who Defy the Odds of Gods and Sing their Songs
The unit is based on poets of African American descent. Students become familiar with some aspects of each poet’s life and selected works by each poet. In addition, students will examine the historical time frame in which their writing took place and how this may have influenced the content of the material produced. Excellent background information and lesson plans adaptable for grade levels, 1-5.

87.03.04 Understanding and Appreciating Poetry: Afro-Americans and Their Poetry
Students learn poetic vocabulary that relates to the basic elements and forms of poetry; participate in listening activities that relate music to poetry, and practice reading and recording poetry on tape. Creative writing activities are also incorporated into the unit. It contains a wealth of information for teachers of grades 1-5.

88.03.03 Reading and Writing the Autobiography with a Study of Zora Neale Hurston
This unit discusses African American poetry as it pertains to autobiographical images and stories. The background information is sufficient for the middle-grade classroom. The imagery of some of the recommended poems may be too difficult for elementary students. Teachers of grades 3, 4, and 5 may choose to use this unit as a resource.

89.02.01 A Journey of Poetry
Although written for high school students, this unit of poetry could be adapted for upper elementary students, grade 5. Especially useful are the lesson plans, suggesting various themes and ideas for students writing their own poetry and analyzing poetry that they have read.

89.02.03 Character Portrayal in Reading and Writing Poetry
Although written for advanced 11th and 12th grade students, the lesson plans contain useful suggestions for helping middle and upper elementary teachers, grades 3-5, to present poetry in their classrooms. The unit contains beautiful background information about American poets, most of them being African American.

89.02.04 It Doesn’t Have to Rhyme
This unit introduces students to writing their own poems. The unit is written for grades K-12. It draws upon the student’s knowledge that they already have, their life, and simply refocuses this knowledge. Students are encouraged to write on a daily basis and learn the making of sonnets, sestinas, limericks, and other poem forms.

89.02.05 Poetry for "Special" Students
The unit presents an interesting overview for guiding children to write their own poetry. Some of the works reviewed in the unit are: Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, Robert Frost, Jack Prelutsky, and Stephen Benet. The unit would be most helpful and adaptable for teaching middle to upper elementary students, grades 3-5.

89.02.06 Putting Poetry on its Feet
This unit was developed for 6th, 7th, and 8th graders who are students in theater. The unit can easily be adapted for grades 2-5. Activities are used to teach students through discussion and improvisation. Students explore the poems’ themes, characters, central conflict, and relationships.

89.02.07 Reading, Writing and Reciting
Written for upper elementary and middle school students, grades 3-5, this unit is designed for a full school year. The unit emphasizes reading poetry aloud as an aid to the improvement in oral reading skills, and writing and publishing poetry. Monthly memorizations are recommended with recitals for other classes and parents.

89.02.08 Poetry: A Mirror in which to see Myself
This unit presents a beautiful overview of African American history in American as well as emphasizing personal themes about self found in poetry. Lessons emphasize students reading, interpreting, and relating poetry to themselves and events in history. Written for 5th grade students, the unit can easily be adapted to include lower and middle elementary students, 1-4.

89.02.09 Rap: Reading in the Arts and Poetry
Numerous literary works of gifted African American poets of the 20th century are addressed in this unit. Cooperative/collaborative reading and writing poetry work group sessions are demonstrated. The unit is easily adaptable for elementary grade levels, 1-5.

91.04.03 In Search of Afro-American Poets in Modern Times
This unit is adaptable for upper elementary students, grades 4-5. It takes a look at biographical sketches of several famous African American poets such as: Paul Laurence Dunbar, Langston Hughes, Nikki Giovanni, etc. Through the experience of learning how to listen, read and write poetry, students will be able to let go and be creative.

91.04.04 African American Poets Past and Present: A Historical View
This unit was written for students in grades 2 through 5. The unit teaches children about poets such: Nikki Giovanni, Langston Hughes, Paul Laurence Dunbar, etc. and their written expressions of feelings within their poems. In addition, children are taught how to analyze and write poetry.

91.04.05 Steps Towards Writing Poetry
This unit is adaptable for lower elementary children, grades 1-2. The unit gives guidelines and steps towards writing poetry in the classroom. It stresses reading aloud to children.

91.04.06 Poetry for the Elementary Classroom
The unit was written for lower and middle elementary grades, but is adaptable to upper grades as well. Short poems and tongue twisters are used to motivate students. The poetry centers on themes such as: science, transportation, communication, and physical education.

91.04.07 Seeing with the Heart: Poetry in the Classroom
Although written for seventh grade students, the unit is adaptable for middle and upper elementary grades, 3-5. The unit centers on Native American, African American, and Hispanic poets. Reading and writing poetry are stressed in the unit.

91.04.08 The Use of Puppetry to Increase Self-Worth through the Windows of Poetry
Although written for lower elementary grades, K-2, middle and upper grade students, 3-5, would profit by the unit. The unit integrates puppetry and ventriloquism into teaching children about poetry. Children make their own puppets, learn voice variations for their puppets, and write their own poems.

Reading Strategies

79.05.08 Slide-Tape Dramatization as a Way of Teaching Literature
This unit provides the details necessary to enhance reading instruction for grade levels 2-5. Heavy concentration is placed on the use of audio-visual materials during reading instruction. This unit is a strong source for lesson plans and bibliographic information.

80.04.04 Divide and Conquer: Breaking Down Skills for Slow learners
Uses basic phonics to improve basic reading skills. Goes through various rules of phonics. Though written for older students, material is suitable for grades K-5.

80.04.06 Motivational Techniques for Improving Reading Comprehension Among Inner-city High School Students
Contains general recommendations to motivate readers. Though aimed at high school students, most techniques presented in this unit could be used with elementary students in grades K-5.

82.01.06 Very Good Fare
Through the use of mystery fiction, strategies for Reading instruction are outlined and implemented. English as a Second Language (ESL) approaches are highlighted in this unit. This unit is a resource for both classroom teachers and ESL instructors in grades 4 and 5.

97.02.11 Beyond R.L. Stine: Read Aloud Books and Group Activities for Fifth Graders
Using a variety of books, children will be read to each day. Interactive strategies will highlight elements such as characters, object lessons, and subplots. Suitable for grades 4-5.

97.03.03 Daughter Dear You'll Always Be
Designed to help prepare students for the fourth grade Mastery Test, this unit contains a list of books accompanied by spelling words, chapter question, and writing prompts. Emphasis placed on practicing narrative writing and daily oral language exercises. The theme of mother-daughter relationships is also discussed. It is suitable for grades 3-5.

© 2002 by the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute