Lesson 1: Steinbeck


Activity 1: John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck is among the most famous American authors. He won a Pulitzer Prize for his novel, The Grapes of Wrath. The Pulitzer Prize is one of the highest honors presented in literature.
Today you will research the life of John Steinbeck on the websites listed below. You will learn more about the life of this American legend and how his novels have influenced our culture. Many of his books are assigned reading in schools around the country. As you learn about the author, answer the questions on the page, "John Steinbeck."
Web Link
Web Link
Web Link
Student Activity Page
Answer Key:
  • Where did Steinbeck grow up? (Salinas, California)
  • Where did Steinbeck go to college? (Stanford) What year did he graduate? (He didn't graduate.)
  • What are some common themes in Steinbeck's novels? (poverty, rural labor issues)
  • How do some of the themes in his literature reflect his own life experiences? (He spent a lot of time working on farms with farm labor and migrant workers, and many of his novels reflect this experience. He was a war correspondent in World War II, and some of his books are about wartime.)
  • When Steinbeck was a teenager what was his summer job? (working on ranches with migrant workers.)
  • How did Steinbeck develop a love of books? (from his mother who was a teacher)
  • Are there any similarities between Steinbeck's life and your own? (Answers will vary.)

Activity 2: Vocabulary

Today you will learn some of the more challenging vocabulary words found in the story. You will find the definitions for the words on the "Vocabulary" page. You will also find the sentence from the book that has the word. Your job is to write your own sentence that uses the word correctly. Pay careful attention to the word's part of speech and use them correctly in your sentences. Continue to review the words a few minutes each day; many of the words will be on the end-of-unit test.
Student Activity Page
Student Activity Page
Review your child's sentences for the vocabulary words. Check to see that the vocabulary words are used correctly in the sentences he developed.