Using Informational Text to Teach To Kill a Mockingbird is designed to make it easy for you to meet the new Common Core standard for reading informational text while enhancing your study of Harper Lee’s classic novel. Instead of seeing the different readings we have included here as an add-on to the study of Mockingbird, we are confident you will come to think of them as an integral part of the way you go about teaching the novel.
• Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s inaugural address
• A Wall Street Journal column on defending unpopular clients
• Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court decision
• Excerpts on lynching, entailment, and gender roles and expectations in the 1930s
Our intention is not for teachers to use each and every one of these informational pieces during a single classroom unit on Mockingbird. Instead, each time you teach the novel, balance your personal taste with the needs of your students when selecting which informational texts you incorporate. As the tastes and needs of you and your students change, you may find yourself selecting different informational texts to include in your unit plan. We have also included a wide range of materials, in terms of reading level, subject matter, and style of writing. Some materials are historical in orientation and offer background information; others are more polemical in nature and offer students a window into controversies about the text; others are simply unusual, dynamic pieces that we think offer students different reading experiences as well as interesting connections with Mockingbird.
Each piece is annotated with reading and discussion strategies and accompanied by a wide variety of CCSS-aligned vocabulary exercises, writing and discussion activities, rubrics, links to multimedia resources, and more. We have secured reproduction permission (when possible) so that you can copy these articles for use with your students. Using copies (rather than a textbook) allows your students to mark up and annotate the readings, as we would like them to (and as they will be allowed to do on any assessment).