National Endowment of the Arts - The Big Read
Old School

Old School

by Tobias Wolff

There is a need in us for exactly what literature can give, which is a sense of who we areā€¦ a sense of the workings of what we used to call the soul.


Welcome to The Big Read, a program from the National Endowment for the Arts. Designed to revitalize the role of literary reading in American culture, The Big Read hopes to unite communities through great literature, as well as inspire students to become lifelong readers.

This Big Read Teacher's Guide contains ten lessons to lead you through Tobias Wolff's classic novel, Old School. Each lesson has four sections: a focus topic, discussion activities, writing exercises, and homework assignments. In addition, we have provided capstone projects and suggested essay topics, as well as handouts with more background information about the novel, the historical period, and the author. All lessons dovetail with the state language arts standards required in the fiction genre.

Finally, The Big Read Reader's Guide deepens your exploration with interviews, booklists, timelines, and historical information. We hope this guide and syllabus allow you to have fun with your students while introducing them to the work of a great American author.

From the NEA, we wish you an exciting and productive school year.

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