Assassination! - teaching activities for part 1 of the RT script

Robert Walton
Grade Levels
8th - 11th
Resource Type
Formats Included
  • PDF
7 pages
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Robert Walton


Put your students in seats at Ford's Theater on the night Booth shot President Lincoln! Please download the script for free here on TPT. Following are the teaching activities for this unit. This story won first place in the Saturday Writer’s 2020 Anything for Children short fiction contest.

Some of you might recall “You Are There”, Walter Cronkite’s great, long-running TV series. Cronkite served as host and interviewer in historical reenactments of critical events from our shared past. The show brought history to life with unprecedented immediacy. I’ve tried to capture that immediacy in this readers’ theater script that details the events of Lincoln's Assassination

No event in our history was more important or more traumatic than the assassination of President Lincoln. This unit’s goal is to make these crucial events clear and accessible to your students. I’ve based my unit’s narrative on Jim Bishop’s excellent book The Day Lincoln was Shot. By adding several fictional characters and some dialog to the events Bishop detailed, I’ve created a readers’ theater script for you and your students. I’ve also created vocabulary and reading comprehension activities to enhance and accompany The Assassination of President Lincoln. You’ll recognize both the cooperative learning and reciprocal teaching techniques incorporated in the activities.

I’ve found scripted readings to be powerful teaching tools. You may use this one as it’s written, or subdivide it further. I’ve found it quite dramatic to use alternating narrators. Changing voices at an important line can be very effective. Also, some of the parts might be assigned to a chorus of several students or the whole class. Doing this allows challenged readers to participate without pressure. Please DO experiment by subdividing the narration and by adding sound effects.

Also - if you have a group that’s dramatically inclined - you might take them on the road. Have them read for other classes, or take them into the office and read for the principal. The Flesch-Kincaid reading level of this script is 3.3. Its Flesch Reading ease score is 84%.

If you and your students enjoyed this story, you might be interested in my YA Civil War novel Dawn Drums. I taught U.S History for many years and was frustrated by the narrow stories related by texts. There were no women, no freed slaves, no ordinary people of any sort. I found other sources, especially Norman Yetman’s Voices from Slavery, to use with my students. These other stories pushed me into writing about the War’s last year and telling about it through the words and experiences of Almira, Lulu and others. Here’s a Kindle link for Dawn Drums:

Total Pages
7 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
3 days
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.
Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.


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