To Kill a Mockingbird: Chapters 1-4

Contributor: Melissa Kowalski. Lesson ID: 12731

When you think of famous locations, you usually think of big cities or historical attractions. But a small, made-up Southern town became famous and remains the basis of a classic American novel!


Literary Studies

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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The author pictured below has an unusual name and had an unusual life. Who is she?

Harper Lee

Image by Eric Draper, via Wikimedia Commons, is in the public domain.

Harper Lee is one of the most iconic and enigmatic writers in the American literary canon.

Her novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, was published to wide acclaim in 1960. It was the only novel she published until a second novel, Go Set A Watchman, surfaced under mysterious and contentious circumstances in 2011. The second novel was published in 2015, just a year before Lee's death, and renewed interest in the author and her perennially popular novel. After the success of Mockingbird, Lee shied away from publicity and spent much of her life living out of the spotlight. To learn more about Harper Lee, read the following article and watch the video clip. As you read and watch the video, answer the following questions. Keep your answers in a notebook or journal that you will use throughout this series to collect all your notes about the novel and related readings:

  • What was Lee's father's profession?
  • Which famous writer was Lee's childhood friend?
  • What career did Lee initially pursue prior to becoming an author?
  • Where did Lee live most of her life?
  • Why does Allan Gurganus believe Lee became reclusive after publishing Mockingbird?
  • How does Allan Gurganus think the publication of Go Set a Watchman affected Lee's legacy?
  • What is the most enduring achievement of Mockingbird, according to Allan Gurganus?

Read Harper Lee, from Famous Authors, and watch Remembering the life and legacy of Harper Lee, courtesy of Public Broadcasting Service (PBS; requires Adobe Flash Player):

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When you have responsed to the questions, read Chapters One through Four in To Kill a Mockingbird. You will need to obtain a copy of the novel for this series. You can find one in your local library or bookstore, and there are many inexpensive used copies that can be purchased online. Another option is to purchase a digital copy and download it to a device of your choice. As you read the first four chapters, take notes on the main characters that you encounter.

  • How would you describe these characters' physical traits?
  • What are their personalities like?

Keep these notes in your notebook or journal.

When you have finished taking notes, move on to the Got It? section to check your knowledge of the novel.

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