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Out of the Dust Novel Study

Grade Levels
6th - 8th
Formats Included
  • Zip
25 pages
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This is a novel study for the book Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse.  It contains 24 pages of deep literary analysis for grades 6-8 to help students delve into the book and learn more about character, plot, symbolism and theme. This resource puts the story at the forefront, while learning critical literacy skills meant to encourage discussion and inquiry.  Even better, this resource also includes a cross curricular activity for history.

I understand the importance of creating engaging, classroom materials.  My hope is that after completing this novel study, students continue to love the story and in turn foster a love and curiosity for reading.


*Literary Analysis: Exploration of Hesse's complex prose writing and the message she conveys throughout the story.

*Symbolism: An activity looking at three significant themes in the story.

*Characterization (direct and indirect): A handout and activity which explores the character traits of of Billie Jo.

*Simile: A look at simile usage in the story and its literal meaning as well as the author’s purpose.

*Text Connections: A text connections hand out

*Reading Log: Students log their reading and create a short 1-2 sentence summary, define one new word, make a text connection and a prediction for the next chapter. A connecting with text handout is also included.  

*History Connection: A brief background on the Great Depression, which explores famous era photographs, a creative writing connection and short research activity.

*Guided Essay: Brainstorming, outlining and drafting a thematic essay.

*Plot Chart: A blank plot chart to fill in story and plot elements which also includes an completed example

*Answers/Guide: Helpful answers and guided writing throughout the unit

Like my Novel Study? Check out my other Novel Study for the book Turtle in Paradise.

Total Pages
25 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
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