National Endowment for the Arts - The Big Read


by Marilynne Robinson

I have spent my life watching, not to see beyond the world, merely to see, great mystery, what is plainly before my eyes.

Schedule/Lesson Plans

This is a suggested teaching schedule for a 10 class study of Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping. Lesson plans and handouts can be downloaded individually by clicking on the name of the file in the schedule below. Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view these files.

Audio Guide CDs are available only for the communities participating in The Big Read. If your community is participating, contact the lead community organization to receive a free Audio Guide. If your community is not participating, encourage a local organization (such as a library, museum, literary center, arts council, or similar non-profit organization) to apply.

Day One
Focus: Biography
Day One Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Two
Focus: Culture and History
Day Two Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Three
Focus: Narrative and Point of View
Day Three Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Four
Focus: Characters
Day Four Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Five
Focus: Figurative Language
Day Five Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Six
Focus: Symbols
Day Six Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Seven
Focus: Character Development
Day Seven Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Eight
Focus: The Plot Unfolds
Day Eight Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Nine
Focus: Themes of the Novel
Day Nine Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Ten
Focus: What Makes a Book Great?
Day Ten Lesson Plan [PDF]


Handout 1: Construction of the Sandpoint Railroad Bridge [PDF]
Handout 2: First-Person narration in Housekeeping [PDF]
Handout 3: Family Dynamics in Housekeeping [PDF]

Download all ten lesson plans and handouts [.zip]

Page numbers refer to the Picador 2004 edition of Housekeeping.

The Big Read
Get involved with the Big Read!
Learn More

© Arts Midwest