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Explore North America

April 16, 2014 by Nóra Wünsch-Nagy

From New York to L.A. and Miami up to Alaska, your students are most likely fascinated by North America. American novels talk about exciting adventures, the vast landscape and the diverse cultures of North America. Exploring this great continent is a dream of many of our students, and a great way to introduce them to this land is by reading the wealth of stories set there. When we look for paths leading into and across America, we look for paths leading into and across these novels. There’s a path for every student and at least one exciting book that will show them something about American life, history and culture, something more than the images they see on TV, film and advertisements. 

tom sawyer
Illustration from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. © Helbling Languages

Finding exciting paths into these novels can be an entertaining challenge and exploration, and we have collected some materials to help you on your journey.

Map the novels

Use this map of North America to show your students where these books are set. Talk about these places, look at pictures and discuss how people live there, what they can do and if your students would like to visit them.

Do some quizzes

Here is a sheet you can download and print. Cut out the two tables, fold them in the middle, and then ask your students to choose a place they would like to visit. Then they can see which books are set in these places.

Build projects around the books

You can build film, geography, art or role play projects around any reader. Here are some questions to consider, and we have also prepared a sample project sheet based on Anne of Green Gables.

  • Explore the theme, spend time discussing the questions in the stories.
  • Focus on the language of the story. Are there any expressions that are typical of the era or the place?
  • What kind of art projects could you base on the story?
  • Is there a film adaptation of the story?
  • Explore cross-curricular links: geography, history, music, art, dance,  science.

Would you like some lesson plans?

Read our posts and download our lesson plans about White Fang and The Call of the Wild, and The Great Gatsby:

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