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Lesson Plan

Using Picture Books to Explore Identity, Stereotyping, and Discrimination

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Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time Eight 45-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Loraine Woodard

Loraine Woodard

Berkeley, California


International Literacy Association



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From Theory to Practice



Often simple texts can be effective vehicles for complex ideas. In this lesson, three picture books depict characters that are different from others in their communities. Each book deals with questions of identity, stereotyping, and discrimination. Sixth- through eighth-grade students are challenged to analyze these concepts through class discussions and writing. In addition to filling out a chart identifying how these three concepts are dealt with in each book, students summarize each story to analyze basic elements. After students understand some of the causes of discrimination, they discuss concrete actions they can take to stop it.

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Doodle Splash: Your students can use this interactive tool to illustrate and summarize their reading.

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Hinton, K., & Berry, T. (2004). Literacy, literature and diversity. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 48(4), 284288.

  • Teachers can have a significant positive impact on their students by exposing them to multicultural literature.

  • Students can change how they see themselves by reading literature by and about people like themselves. They might also be inspired to write about their own experiences.


Carr, Kathryn S., et al. "Not Just for the Primary Grades: A Bibliography of Picture Books for Secondary Content Teachers." Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy 45.2 (October 2001): 146-153.

  • Picture books can enhance content for learners of any age. They appeal to visual learners, integrate the arts, and provide background and a context to focus on a theme.

  • Picture books also support English-language learners because they have less text and the illustrations carry part of the content and because they focus on a single concept in more depth than textbooks do.

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