Native American Voices


This lesson is the first in the Native American Literature unit, the first unit in’s complete, year-long, American Literature course. In this course, students travel through America’s literary periods by reading selected online works or works in Holt's Elements of Literature, Fifth Course. The journey begins with Native American literature and ends with today’s literature. Students improve their reading and writing skills and explore the knowledge acquired by Americans throughout the centuries. All lessons are designed to meet college readiness standards as measured by the ACT and SAT.


This 50 minute lesson engages students by seeking their input to essential questions asked and answered by Native Americans, establishes a purpose for future reading, and introduces new vocabulary.

Needed Materials

 Knowledge Target

  1. Define oral tradition, myth, rhythm, metaphor, and onomatopoeia.


Skills Target

  1. Establish a purpose for reading (e.g. to be informed, to be persuaded, to be taught how to do something, or to be entertained)  


Step 1 (Duration: 30 minutes) – Engage students, Skills Target 1

 (When you look at nature, how do you feel? How are we like other creatures? How are we different? How are we connected to the universe? Would the universe miss humanity if we became extinct?) 

Groups which finish early should discuss their ideas about the following questions as they wait for all groups to finish. Their answers to the following questions will be shared if time permits. Extra credit may be given.

Step 2 (Duration: 20 minutes) – Knowledge Target 1


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