Home      Teacher Materials      Teaching American Literature
 

 
ABOVE:  Tom Walker learns the hard way not to deal with the Devil.

 
TEACHING
AMERICAN LITERATURE
 
Upon its founding America was faced with a quandary--how does a nation made up of so many different nationalities make a new identity for itself? One answer to this question was to begin telling stories. Some of the stories included here are true, some are legendary, and some are a mixture of both. All of them seek to answer the question:  What does it mean to be an American? Welcome to the Literature of America!
 
 
This handout discusses legends of the founding fathers and other heroes of the Revolutionary War and their importance in our cultural consciousness. It asks the question:  Are factual events or legendary ones more important to us?
 

This presentation gives a brief overview of the Puritans and the conditions that prompted the Pilgrims to come to the New World.
 
 
 
This 7-page script-story re-tells the amazing story of the Pilgrim's journey to America, using William Bradford's account as a basis. This version debunks many of the storytelling embellishments concerning the Mayflower's voyage and the first Thanksgiving.
 

This poem highlights Anne Bradstreet's sense of loss after the destruction of her home in 1666. Includes post-reading questions.

 
This worksheet shows some of the now-humorous ways that witches were identified during certain witch trials (including those in Salem).
 
 
This fabricated story about a witch trial was Benjamin Franklin's way of poking fun at the ridiculous ways witches were identified. It was also one of America's first hoaxes, as it was printed as an actual event. 
 
THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE (PDF)
 
This activity asks students to analyze key phrases from the Declaration of Independence.
 

Washington Irving's classic story has its roots in German folklore. This script-story is a retelling of that story that should engage a whole class full of students! Check out other literature script stories in the Mythologteacher.com store.
 

Chatterbox Audio has a great audio-drama version available for free. A teacher guide is also available through their site
 

Click on the link above to be taken to a special page of resources just for teaching one of the Great American Novels, Moby Dick by Herman Melville.
 
 
 
 
Abducted by Native Americans during King Philip's War, Mary Rowlandson's narrative of her captivity was America's first bestseller. It is still an exciting read today! This document includes pre-reading and post-reading questions.
 
"THE GREAT WITCH CRAZE" (PDF)
 
This worksheet charts the superstitions associated with witches to a book called "The Hammer of the Witches."
 
 
This worksheet gives an overview of the witch trials in Salem Village, MA.
 
THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN AND POOR RICHARD'S ALMANACK (PDF)
 
This worksheet provides excerpts from Franklin's Autobiography and Poor Richard's Alamack. Also includes discussion questions.
 
THE SCARLET LETTER: PART I (PDF)

This is a script-story version of the first portion of Nathaniel Hawthorne's moving fable of American conscience. To buy all four script-stories (with reading guide questions), visit the Mythologyteacher.com store.
 
THE DEVIL AND TOM WALKER (PDF)
 
In this script-story retelling of Washington Irving's story, Tom Walker makes a Faustian deal with the Devil--with humorous and predictable results.
 
 
This folktale told among the African slaves in America embodies the hope of a people yearning for freedom.
 
 
This 7-page script-story retells one of Tom Sawyer's best tricks--getting the other children of St. Petersburg to do his chores for him. 
 
 



 
POWERED BY HostBlitz.com