upper waypoint

Summer Explorer Series: Sizzlin’ Summer of Reading

Save ArticleSave Article
Failed to save article

Please try again

PBS LearningMedia showcases a wide range of literacy resources. This selected list of content focuses on reading, writing, and notable authors. Find more resources for sizzlin’ summer reading by signing up for a free account at PBS LearningMedia.

Rosemary Wells | Videos and Booklist | Grades 2-7
Rosemary Wells is the author and illustrator of delightful books for youngsters. In this interview, Wells talks about creating books for children and their adult readers that will stand up to being read over and over again. Watch the interview, view the interview transcript, read a short biography on Rosemary Wells, or see a selected list of her children’s books.

Brian Selznick | Videos and Booklist | Grades 4-7
Brian Selznick feels that his illustrations are more authentic when he immerses himself in his subject matter. For the picture book “Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride”, Selznick spent six months in Washington, DC conducting research at libraries and museums. For his Caldecott-Honor-winning illustrations in “The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins”, he traveled to London to sketch, photograph, and climb inside the famous dinosaur replicas. For his best-selling 533-page illustrated novel, “The Invention of Hugo Cabret”, Selznick watched old French films, interviewed experts, and traveled to Paris three times. That book won the 2008 Caldecott Medal for it’s groundbreaking “cinematic” illustrations. Learn about his research methods, how he ended up as a children’s illustrator, and his childhood inspirations in this series of Meet the Author videos.

Meet a Comic Book Artist | Videos and Lesson Plan | Grades 5-8
Meet writer and comic book artist Phil Jimenez, who has worked for DC and Marvel Comics. Jimenez describes his early inspiration, gives tips for good storytelling, and discusses the unique way comics approach sequential narrative. Use the student assignment handout to review Jimenez’s advice, and an assignment on making a visual story about an “everyday adventure,” and the teacher handout for reflection prompts and discussion questions about visual storytelling that focus on Common Core State Standards for Writing: Text Types and Purposes, for students in grades 6, 7, and 8.

Middle School Literacy Collection | Self-Paced Lessons | Grades 5-8
These online self-paced lessons for blended learning, funded by the Walmart Foundation, are designed to enhance the literacy skills of struggling readers in grades 5–8. Each uses videos, interactive activities, note taking, reading, and writing to present students with an engaging science, social studies, mathematics, or English language arts topic.


Using Symbolism | Lesson Plan and Video | Grades 6-8
After watching a video segment, students identify the literary devices, symbolism and first-person narration in the poem “A Negro Speaks of Rivers.” Then, by answering critical thinking questions and writing a paragraph, students propose their ideas regarding Hughes’ message by interpreting his use of symbolism in the poem.

A Raisin in the Sun Revisited | Video | Grades 6-12
In this clip from A Raisin in the Sun Revisited, learn about Lorraine Hansberry’s life and the inspiration she drew from it to write A Raisin in the Sun. Hansberry’s parents bought a home in Chicago in the late 1930s with racially restricted covenants, and brought a legal case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court that declared the covenant contestable. Hansberry’s memories inspired her to write the play A Raisin in the Sun, which was produced on Broadway in 1959. In this clip, students can see the actual house where the Hansberry family lived and sense its profound role in America’s racial history.

The Great Gatsby Curve Lesson Plan | Lesson Plan and Video | Grades 7-12
This lesson introduces a new economic theory to students through the classic novel (and recent film) “The Great Gatsby”. Additionally it provides a simulation where resources are not equally distributed and students have an authentic opportunity to experience inequality.

The Hollow Crown |  Videos & Games | Grades 9-12
The Hollow Crown is a Great Performances series showcasing four filmed adaptations of Shakespeare’s most gripping history plays: Richard II, Henry IV, Part 1,Henry IV, Part 2, and Henry V.   The interactive and video resources in this collection are designed to aid teachers in exploring these complex plays with their students. Use the viewing guide, supplemental teaching tips, discussion questions, background essays, and activities to analyze and compare the films with Shakespeare’s original text, discover major themes, and delve deeper into the stories’ historical backgrounds.

James Baldwin: The Price of a Ticket | Videos | Grades 9-12
American Masters, public television’s award-winning biography series, brings unique originality and perspective to exploring the lives and illuminating the creative journeys of our most enduring writers, musicians, visual and performing artists, dramatists and filmmakers – those who have left an indelible impression on our nation’s cultural landscape. This collection offers you access to classroom-ready videos and articles drawn from the Series broadcasts and website.

Jane Eyre: First Impressions | Video | Grades 9-13+
In this video segment from the 2007 MASTERPIECE adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, we get a glimpse of Jane’s remarkable ability to stand up for herself and against injustice.

Great Expectations: Setting the Scene | Video and Teaching Tips | Grades 9-13+
This video excerpt is the opening scene from the 2012 MASTERPIECE adaptation of Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations. For more about how to use MASTERPIECE to help you teach Charles Dickens, see the MASTERPIECE Teacher’s Guides, which contain discussion questions, activities, and background information. Teaching Dickens explores Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, Little Dorrit, and The Old Curiosity Shop. An individual guide is provided for A Tale of Two Cities. You may also wish to use the resources in the Charles Dickens Book and Film Club.

Sense & Sensibility | Video | Grades 9-13+
Within the first 10 minutes of this 2008 MASTERPIECE adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, we learn much about the plot, characters, and meaning of the novel.


Macbeth w/ Ethan Hawke | Video | Grades 10-13+
In this episode from Shakespeare Uncovered, Ethan Hawke takes you along as he researches the part of Shakespeare’s murderous Macbeth. This is a compelling and accessible journey through Macbeth guided by plain-spoken experts. Use the viewing guide for teaching tips.

lower waypoint
next waypoint