NEA Big Read
To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

Writing is a process of self-discipline you must learn before you can call yourself a writer. There are people who write, but I think they’re quite different from people who must write.

  1. Visual Art: Invite your visual arts specialist to assist students. Draw a portrait of a favorite character in To Kill a Mockingbird. Other students can draw maps of Maycomb or illustrations of prominent buildings. Still others can draw something that we are never allowed to see in the novel: the inside of Boo Radley’s house. Team with a local bookstore to display the visual art.
  2. Parents’ Night: Have students choose a dramatic scene from the novel and draft a script using Harper Lee’s dialogue. Memorize the lines. Before each presentation, have a narrator explain the context of the scene. Then, have students act out the scene. After each scene, have a commentator explain why the students chose that particular scene.
  3. Public Speaking: Ask students to prepare a speech by Boo Radley. They should imagine what Boo might want to say about the town where he was raised—a subject on which he has been completely silent. They should use their imaginations, but also references to the novel. Have students give their speeches at a local bookstore or library.
  4. Courtroom Drama: Ask students to produce a scene in which they put one of the characters of To Kill a Mockingbird on trial. They can choose anyone they like whom they think is guilty. They should write the dialogue including characters who testify. The scene can be produced at a student assembly and include a discussion session afterward.
  5. Retrospective: Explore the historical period of the 1930s by creating posters that provide in-depth information on what is happening in the following artistic communities: music and jazz, theater, visual arts, photography, and dance. Display these posters in the school or classroom.
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