Lesson 1: Introducing the Story

Getting Started

Questions to Explore

  • How are people dependent on their environments?
  • Why were people in the past so dependent on the environment?

Facts and Definitions

  • A historical fiction book is one where the characters or events are fictional, but the setting and other details are based on actual history.
  • The setting of a book is the time and place where the events in the story occur.


  • Interact with the text by making connections, answering questions, and locating information. (LA)
  • Consider the difference between fiction and nonfiction using interpretive, critical, and evaluative processes. (LA)
  • Conduct research (with assistance) for assigned and self-selected projects from a variety of sources. (LA)
  • Use oral and written language to present information in a sequenced, logical manner in order to support the following skills: discuss and sustain conversation on a topic, share information and ideas, recount or narrate, and share written and oral products in a variety of ways. (LA)


  • Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • blank paper
  • colored pencils or markers
  • timeline
  • U.S. map


Ask your child if he knows anything about the pioneers. Let him share what he knows. If your child read Sarah, Plain and Tall in last year's program, discuss the lives and experiences of the characters in the book. Discuss how the pioneers were the first European people to settle in places in the western part of our nation. Explain that the pioneers were dependent on the environment to meet their needs.

NOTE: Little House in the Big Woods was written in the early 1930s and deals with frontier life in the 1870s. Some references may now be considered backwards or even offensive. We encourage you to read this book with your child and discuss or explain problematic elements as needed.