Skip to contentContribute to ReadWriteThink / RSS / FAQs / Site Demonstrations / Contact Us / About Us



Contribute to ReadWriteThink

ReadWriteThink couldn't publish all of this great content without literacy experts to write and review for us. If you've got lessons plans, videos, activities, or other ideas you'd like to contribute, we'd love to hear from you.



Professional Development

Find the latest in professional publications, learn new techniques and strategies, and find out how you can connect with other literacy professionals.



Did You Know?

Your students can save their work with Student Interactives.

More more

HomeClassroom ResourcesLesson Plans

Lesson Plan

Proverbs: At Home and around the World

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)


Proverbs: At Home and around the World

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

John Paul Walter

John Paul Walter

Washington, Washington DC


National Council of Teachers of English



From Theory to Practice



Proverbs in one culture are frequently similar to proverbs expressed in other cultures. For instance, the French "Qui vole un oeuf vole un boeuf" translates to "He who steals eggs steals cattle," but your students will likely be more familiar with the American proverb "Give him an inch and he'll take a mile." In this lesson, students work with proverbs from home and from around the world, exploring how these maxims are tied to a culture's values and everyday experience. Students first discuss how proverbs convey cultural knowledge and values, as well as how proverbs from other cultures are similar to and different from American proverbs. Next, students share family proverbs and explain their significance. Finally, they select one or two proverbs and use art materials, PowerPoint, or a word processor to create mini-posters that reflect the culture from which the proverbs originated.

back to top



Cruz and Duff argue that working with proverbs in the classroom can improve students' learning experiences, their language skills, and their understanding of themselves and the world. Among several advantages they mention, they maintain that working with proverbs  "acknowledges the learner as an expert...(and) lightheartedly and often humorously exposes common beliefs and traditions among a diverse set of learners," "encourages respect for oneself, for each other, and for shared values of the community," "provides learners with the opportunity for insight," "creates the transition from home culture to school culture," and "enriches thinking and writing skills."

This lesson gives students the opportunity to use proverbs as a vehicle for exploring other cultures, their values, and their experiences, while making comparisons to their own family and cultural identities.

Further Reading

Cruz, Mary Carmen, and Ogle Burks Duff. "New Words, Old Wisdom." English Journal 85.7 (November 1996): 116-118.

back to top