The Alabama Literacy Test: If you aren't registered, you don't vote! Have you ever taken a voter-literacy test? Passing such tests was required of African-Americans in some states in order to register to vote... until the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This is an engaging and enlightening lesson that puts the student in the shoes of a disenfranchised minority-group member experiencing voter discrimination. At the same time, it provides historical instruction about the use of voting laws to systematically exclude former slaves and their descendants from participating in the democratic process. It also covers the eventual outlawing of such practices with the Voting Rights Act. The activities involved in this lesson exercise cognitive skills such as reading comprehension, answering inferential questions and identifying new vocabulary. I use this lesson every year while covering the Civil Rights Movement, and I always look forward to it because it has such a powerful impact on the students' perspectives. Who would have thought that failing a quiz could be so educational?
The package includes: the Government Literacy Quiz, based on the Alabama Literacy Test; 1-page article, "If you're Not Registered, You Can't Vote: The Alabama Literacy Test"; Worksheet of Reading Questions for the Article; Vocabulary Boxes Worksheet; Teacher's Keys for Government Literacy Quiz and worksheets; Teacher's Guide Sheet