Skip to contentContribute to ReadWriteThink / RSS / FAQs / Site Demonstrations / Contact Us / About Us



What’s Happening This Week

What’s Happening This Week

There is much more to explore in our calendar. Find other important events in literary history, authors' birthdays, and a variety of holidays, each with related lessons and resources.



Book Recommendations

Looking for age-appropriate book recommendations, author interviews, and fun activity ideas? Check out our podcasts.

Chatting About Books: Recommendations for Young Readers

Chatting About Books: Recommendations for Young Readers



Text Messages: Recommendations for Adolescent Readers

Text Messages: Recommendations for Adolescent Readers


HomeClassroom ResourcesCalendar Activities

February 09

Author Alice Walker was born on February 9, 1944.

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)


Author Alice Walker was born on February 9, 1944.

Grades 9 – 12
Calendar Activity Type Author & Text





Alice Walker, best known for her novel The Color Purple, writes about racism and related themes, as well as feminist issues. In 1983, she became the first African American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for her portrayal of a poor black woman's struggles in The Color Purple. Walker is also the author of dozens of books of poetry, novels, short stories, and memoirs.




Have your students explore Walker's use of dialect in The Color Purple and then extend their understanding through experimentation in their own writing. First, have your students read the novel. To start the discussion on dialect, select a passage from the novel and rewrite it using standard or formal English. Share your revision with students and have them compare it with the original. Have students find and discuss additional examples of African American dialect in the novel, and then explore the following questions:

  • How does Walker's use of dialect affect the story?

  • Would the story have the same impact if passages were rewritten in formal English? How would the impact be different?

  • Does the use of dialect challenge the reader? Why or why not?

Invite students to write a short piece of fiction or poetry using the dialect of their peer group. Have them rewrite the piece in formal English, and then ask them to compare the two and select their favorite.



  • Alice Walker in the Classroom

    Read a sample chapter called "Where Life and Art Intersect" from the book Alice Walker in the Classroom: "Living by the Word", published by the National Council of Teachers of English.


  • BBC: Alice Walker

    The BBC offers this collection of audio interviews with Alice Walker. In them, she discusses her life, the Civil Rights movement, her work as an author, and more. Biographical information is also included.


  • Alice Walker

    The Academy of American Poets offers this biography on Walker. Information about her major literary works and links to related information are included.



back to top


Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan

What Did They Say? Dialect in The Color Purple

Y'all set down a spell and learn ‘bout dialects!" In other words, your students will use The Color Purple to explore dialect and how it reveals information about the characters.


Grades   9 – 10  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Teaching Plot Structure through Short Stories

Students use an online graphic organizer to analyze the plot structure of "Jack and the Beanstalk" and three short stories.


Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Exploring Language and Identity: Amy Tan's "Mother Tongue" and Beyond

Students explore the idea of "different Englishes" by reading Amy Tan's "Mother Tongue" and writing literacy narratives about their own use of different language for different audiences and purposes.