Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass

Recommended Grades: 3-5

A young Frederick Douglass would not allow slavery to stop him from learning, so he asked his master’s wife to teach him to read. Once he learned how to read, those words would set him free.  This picture book is based on Frederick Douglass’ s own Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.      

Lesson Idea:  


Mentor Text: Biography: Read aloud Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass as a biography mentor text or as part of a unit on slavery or the Civil War.  Discuss Frederick Douglass’s amazing life and all of his accomplishments as a result of his persistence.  Pair this book with other books about Douglass such as Lincoln and Douglass: An American Friendship or Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass: The Story Behind an American Friendship or with other picture books related to the Civil War and slavery such as Henry’s Freedom Box, Freedom Song: The Story of Henry “Box” Brown, and Just in Time, Abraham Lincoln.

©2012 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

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One Response to “Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass”

  1. Light in the Darkness: A Story about How Slaves Learned in Secret by Lesa Cline-Ransome | Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books Says:

    […] Content Connections/Inquiry Study: Read aloud Light in the Darkness: A Story about How Slaves Learned in Secret.  Use this book if working on an inquiry unit on slavery or the Civil War. Students could use this as a resource to understand how schooling was not a norm for slaves.  Ask how slaves went about learning how to read when they weren’t allowed.  Pair this book with Words Set Me Free. […]


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