Check out these 10 ideas for incorporating literacy skills into Black History Month. There is something here for every grade level.

  1. Thank You Notes:  Have students design and write thank you letters to various African American leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and Frederick Douglass that fought for equality and justice. (Writing) (All Grades)
  2. Commercial: Gather information about African-American inventors such as George T. Sampson, Nathaniel Alexander, and Madame CJ Walker for your students to look through. Many of these people invented items we use all the time. Have the students write and perform a commercial for the different inventions. (Writing, Fluency) (Grades 3-8)
  3. Interview: Have students work in pairs and research various African-American figures such as Barack Obama, Colin Powell, and Jerome A. Holmes. One will be the interviewer and one the interviewee. Have them think of questions and answers then conduct the interview for the class. (Writing, Fluency) (Grades 3-8)
  4. Newspaper Article: Provide students information about important events in black history or have them research these events. Examples are: Brown vs. Board of Education, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, or the assassination of Dr. King. Have them create newspaper articles that describe these events as if they are breaking news. (Writing) (Grades 3-8)
  5. Reading Circles: Put students in groups of 3. Based on their strengths, give each of them one of the following “jobs”– reader, summarizer, writer. If you have to have a group of 4, have 2 readers. Give each group a short book or report about a famous black history figure. The reader will read a paragraph. Then, the summarizer will summarize what was read out loud to the group. The writer will jot down important words and phrases that are mentioned. This will continue until the reading is finished. Then, students will use these words and phrases to do a “quick write” on what they read and share with the class. (Reading, Writing) (Grades 3-8)
  6. Speech: Have students imagine they were leaders in the Civil Rights Movement and write motivational speeches to influence changes in society. Give them excerpts of speeches such as “I Have a Dream” for guidance. Then, have them give the speech to the class. (Writing, Fluency) (Grades 3-8)
  7. Skit: Provide students with reading materials about important events from Black History such as: Rosa Parks’s story or stories from the Underground Railroad. Have them write and perform skits about these events. (Writing, Fluency) (Grades 3-8)
  8. Read a Book: Here are some great titles of books that educate students about black history: 
    Goin’ Someplace Special by Patricia C. McKissack and Jerry Pinkney (Grades K-3)
    The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson (Grades K-4)
    Through my Eyes by Ruby Bridges (Grades 3-6)
    The Watsons Go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis (Grades 6-8)
  9. Bulletin Board/Door Decoration: Have students help you create a bulletin board or door decoration called “What Black History Month Means to Me.”  Have students choose 10 words that summarize what it means to them. You might want to give them an example such as “unity,” “equality,” or “harmony.” Students can write their words on the bulletin board or door, write them on a sheet of construction paper, or cut the letters out. (Writing) (Grades K-3)
  10. “This Makes me Feel…”: Print out various Jim Crow laws and also some motivational quotes from various African American leaders. Give each student one. Have them write down the feelings they get when reading them. Students can rotate these until they have had about 10. Then, go through some or all of these with the class and have students share their feelings about them. (Writing, Fluency) (Grades 3-8)