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Lesson Plan

From Little House to My House: Exploring History and Family Roles

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

Grades K – 2
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Two 30- to 40-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Cathy Willis

Frankinton, North Carolina


International Literacy Association


Materials and Technology






  • The Deer in the Wood by Laura Ingalls Wilder (HarperTrophy, 1995)

  • Computer with Internet access and a projector

  • Chart paper and markers

  • Map of the United States

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1. Obtain and familiarize yourself with The Deer in the Wood by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Practice reading the book aloud. Think about your own family stories that the book reminds you of; prepare to share some of these stories with your students.

2. Prepare for a discussion of the book using the following questions that you write on sticky notes and keep in the book pages to prompt you:

[Note: The pages in The Deer in the Wood are not numbered. For the purposes of this lesson, the first few words from each page are used to indicate which page is referred to.]

  • (The page that begins, "Once upon a time...") Why is the house made of logs? What is Laura doing in the picture? Why do you think she is doing it? Do any of you do a chore like this?

  • (The page that begins, "Laura lived in the little house...") What is the family doing? Why do you think they are doing this for fun? Describe the inside of the house.

  • (The page that begins, "It was autumn...") Look carefully at the picture. Why do you think Laura and Mary are working on a patchwork quilt? How do you keep warm when cold weather comes?

  • (The page that begins, "One night Pa said...") Why are the pots and plates empty? What do you think the family will do with a deer? Where does your family get food to eat?

  • (The page that begins, "After supper Pa went...") Why didn't Pa play the fiddle that night? Who is sleeping with Laura? Does any one here share a bed with their brother or sister?

  • (The page that begins, "The next day...") What is Pa doing? Why is he doing that? What do Laura and Mary want to know?

  • (The page that begins, "After supper Pa took Laura...") Describe the feeling you get when you look at these pages. What are the objects hanging on the wall? What do you think they are used for? (Note: you may need to explain to students what a powder horn is and how it is used.)

  • (The page that begins, "Last night I went into the woods...") What is Pa doing on these pages?

  • (The page that begins, "He looked so strong...") Why couldn't Pa shoot the deer?

  • (The page that begins, "Then I remembered that Ma...") Pa had to get meat for the family. Look at his face on this page. Do you think he wants to shoot deer?

  • (The page that begins, "After a long while...") Describe the scene on these pages. Think about the mother deer and her baby. Why do you think Pa is having a hard time getting meat?

  • (The page that begins, "I just sat there looking at them...") Why is Pa going home?

  • (The page that begins, "Laura whispered in his ear...") Why did Laura and Mary say what they did? How do you think that made Pa feel?

  • (The page that begins, "Soon Laura and Mary...") Do you think Laura is lucky? Why or why not?
3. Use chart paper to prepare sample T-charts that compare the family in this story to your own family. Use several different characters. For example:

My Father
Hunts for meat
Shops at the supermarket for meat
Chops wood
Works at Staples
Plays the fiddle
Listens to the radio
Tells stories
Watches TV and reads to me

Carries wood
Set the table
Dances with Mary
Play checkers with my brother
Shares a bed with Mary
Sleep by myself in my own room
Sews a quilt
Play computer games
Sits on Pa's lap
Sit on my father's lap

4. Visit Laura Ingalls Wilder for background information on Wilder that you can share with your students (see Session 1, Step 4). Your students' age should determine the level of detail you want to share; for younger students you might pick only a couple of details, for older students, you might assemble a brief biography. You want students to understand the difference between Wilders' real life and the life depicted in this book to help them grasp the concepts of historical fiction and memoir.

5. Make a copy of the T-Chart for each student in the class.

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