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Lesson Plan

Giving Voice to Child Laborers Through Monologues

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Giving Voice to Child Laborers Through Monologues

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time Eight 45-minute sessions, plus time for research and presentations
Lesson Author

Mary E. Shea, Ph.D.

Mary E. Shea, Ph.D.

Buffalo, New York


International Literacy Association



From Theory to Practice



Students learn about child labor, as it occurred in England and the United States during the Industrial Revolution and as it continues around the world today. Selected websites describe the conditions under which children worked during the Industrial Revolution. Each student gathers information at these websites and prepares and presents a monologue in the "voice" of someone involved in the debate over child labor in England. After dramatically assuming that person's point of view on the issue, he or she responds to audience members' questions. Students then explore and discuss the conditions of contemporary child laborers and compare them to those of the past.

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Smith, C. (1997). Using student monologues to integrate language arts and social studies. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 40(7), 563564.

  • Activities in this plan allow students to make personal connections with social issues.

  • By preparing cue cards to guide their monologues, students learn to maintain focus on critical facts that reveal their characters' viewpoints.

  • Monologues provide the grist for discourse as students defend their characters' views, responding to audience questions with specific information they have gathered.

  • Students are engaged in sharing opinions and working with peers to make sense of their world.

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