Grapes of Wrath
This classic by John Steinbeck tells of the Dust Bowl migration during the Great Depression. While every other chapter gives background and follow the movements of the migrants as a whole, the other chapters chronicle the fictional Joad family's long, discouraging exodus to California after they are driven off of their homestead. They have a handbill from California which reads: "Pea Pickers Wanted in California. Good Wage All Season. 800 Pickers Wanted." This handbill gives the family hope through their hard trip to California, and they read it again and again. But over time, the Joad's lose hope as they see more and more families, all waving similar handbills, all poor and broken down, all headed to California on highway 66. There the Joads begin to understand the hopelessness of their situation - and that of all migrant workers.
If you're looking for a study guide for a specific book, Novel Units probably has it covered! They produce hundreds of literature guides - only a sampling of them are listed here.
Teacher Guides are 30-40 pages - not voluminous, but enough for good coverage of the book. Format of the guides vary somewhat by grade level, but have some common elements. They begin with a synopsis of the book and its author and some pre-reading activities that serve both to provide background for the novel study and initiate student involvement and thinking about the story. Chapter by chapter (in some guides, multiple chapters) lesson plans contain vocabulary words, discussion questions (with answers), and suggested activities. Some guides also include writing ideas. Literature concepts/skills appear here and there. Some guides contain reproducible graphic organizers to aid student analysis. All include some culminating questions and activities. Again, these vary in scope and type by guide. There are no objective or essay tests, but each guide ends with a student assessment page that provides a list of projects or exercises to be completed to help evaluate student understanding.
Student Packets although not available for every book vary somewhat by grade level and book. Student packets may include: activity pages, study guide, graphic organizers, writing and/or listening and speaking prompts, critical thinking challenges, quizzes and unit test. Answers are included in the back, along with an essay evaluation form (i.e. rubric). Student packets are not reproducible.
Really, each of these components can function as a stand-alone product and can be used without the other, but for a more comprehensive study, they are best used in concert. There is very little overlap between the two, even in the chapter-by-chapter questions - but completing the questions in the Student Packet will help prepare your child for the more in-depth questions found in the Teacher Guide. If your child is working independently on a novel, the Student Packet can be used alone (if available). If you want to do little written work and put more emphasis on discussion, the Teacher Guide can be used by itself.
Please note that some guides have been written to correlate with a specific edition of a book. Some of these editions are now out of print, and we do not carry all versions mentioned. Where multiple editions are available, such as Adventures of Tom Sawyer, the page numbers given in the guide may not correlate exactly.
Please note that a brief synopsis of many of the books included here are provided in our Library Builders section. Study guides for the same book are often available from several publishers, so we found it more efficient to give a description of the book only once.