Teaching Guide: Scholastic’s Women’s Suffrage Unit

This teaching guide from Scholastic is designed to help elementary and middle school teachers plan and carry out lessons and assessments about women’s suffrage, both in the United States and internationally. It includes tips on everything from how to set up the classroom before lessons to recommendations for essays to assign, and how to grade them.

From the site:

Scholastic’s Women’s Suffrage unit allows your students to learn about the quest by women around the world to win the right to vote. Students will read background information while building their vocabulary skills. Students will also explore and analyze maps and dates as well as have a chance to make a personal connection by reading a firsthand account of a woman who voted for the first time in 1920.

The site has lesson plans tailored to various grade levels, from first grade through eighth.

The lessons on the site meet the following teaching standards: International Reading Association (IRA) standards; National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) standards; National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) standards; and Technology Foundation Standards for Students.

In addition to the site’s Teacher’s Guide section, there is also a page of activities for students to use during lessons. This consists of three main activities, whose descriptions come from the Scholastic site:

With Grolier Encyclopedia online, students read background articles related to the women’s suffrage movement. A list of vocabulary words used in each article accompanies the text. After reading the articles, students take an interactive quiz that tests them on content and vocabulary.

Using a printable chart as a guide, students explore two maps: one of the world and one of the United States. Clicking on different countries and different states, students get information on when women in that area won the right to vote. Filling out their chart, students are asked to draw conclusions about global patterns of women’s suffrage.

Effie Hobby was born in 1897 and was 23 years old in 1920, making her eligible to vote in the first U.S. presidential race. Students can follow Effie’s story and learn what it was like for her to win the right to vote. Students will also learn about events that occurred during Effie’s life.

Interested in other resources for educators? Click here to browse other Teaching Suffrage materials on Women’s Suffrage and the Media.

Useful Encyclopedia and Dictionary Entries

A number of encyclopedias and dictionaries have entries on individuals, organizations, and events related to suffrage. Below are some of these resources. You can check WorldCat to see if there’s a library with access near you.

  • Hasia Diner, ed., Women in American History: An Encyclopedia (Facts on File, 2010)
  • Joseph P. McKerns, ed., Biographical Dictionary of American Journalism (Greenwood Press, 1989)
  • Sam G. Riley, ed., Dictionary of Biography, Volume 79: American Magazine Journalists (Bruccoli Clark Layman, 1989)
  • June HannamMitzi Auchterlonie, and Katherine Holden, eds. International Encyclopedia of Women’s Suffrage (ABC-CLIO, 2000)
  • Peg E. Lamphier and Rosanne Welch, eds. Women in American History: A Social, Political, and Cultural Encyclopedia and Document Collection (ABC-CLIO, 2017)

Eleanor Roosevelt and the Women’s City Club of New York

In this encyclopedia entry, historian Elisabeth Israels Perry summarizes what the Women’s City Club of New York was and how it influenced the life of Eleanor Roosevelt.

The suffrage movement stimulated civic-minded women to form various organizations to promote social improvement. One of them was the Women’s City Club of New York. Founded in 1915 by suffragists, the WCCNY advocated a progressive agenda that appealed to a membership whose ranks included nearly 3,000 people by the time women’s suffrage was won nationwide.

Roosevelt was a prominent member of the WCCNY, and Perry explains how the group “served as an important training ground for Eleanor Roosevelt’s public life.” Roosevelt took on many leadership roles within the club, and it also served as a social network to which she turned when she was in the White House alongside her husband and wanted to drum up political support for New Deal programs. Roosevelt also wrote speeches, reports, and political analysis while a member.

The encyclopedia is accessible through ProQuest’s e-book repository, which is available through many library databases. You can check WorldCat to see if there’s one near you.

Excerpts of the book are available on Google Books, and it is also available for sale on Amazon.