You are here: arrow Home arrow Resources arrow Literature Connections arrow Where the Red Fern Grows

Literature Connections

6-8 Core Literature Themes and Connections

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
The story is about Billy Colman who lives in the Ozark hills of Oklahoma and longs to have his own pups to hunt racoons with. After he works and saves to buy them, he experiences many fun and exciting hunting trips. This story teaches the importance of working hard for what you want, respect for family members and elders, and the love a boy has for his pets.

6th grade Core Literature

Key Concepts and Vocabulary Words
mischievous, canine, Dust Bowl, Native Americans, Cherokees, 1930’s, determination, legends, Ozarks, Oklahoma

Native Americans, Great Depression, Legends and Myths


English/Language Arts

Theme Questions


Extensions/ Activities

What are the different characteristics of legends?

When you work very hard for something, do you think that you appreciate it more?

Score CyberGuide on Where the Red Fern Grows redfern/redferntg.html
This CyberGuide created by Margaret Simonsen provides activities about the Depression Era, the legends of Native Americans, the types of hunting dogs and the ownership and care of pets.

Review the Legend Of The Red Fern in the last chapter of the novel. What are the characteristics of that legend?

Have students write on if they think that working hard affected the way Billy felt about his dogs. Then ask them to write about something they worked hard for or would work for.

Language Arts Content Standards
2,0 Writing Applications
2.4 Write responses to literature:
a. Develop an interpretation exhibiting careful reading, understanding, and insight.
b. Organize the interpretation around several clear ideas, premises, or images.
c. Develop and justify the interpretation through sustained use of examples and textual evidence.


History/Social Science

Theme Questions


Extensions/ Activities

What political decisions led to the Depression and the Dust Bowl?

What is the history and geography of the Ozark mountains?

Surviving the Dust Bowl
This PBS series of the American Experience and teacher’s guide is based on the film “Surviving the Dust Bowl.”
The Dust Bowl
This site is an exhibit in collabgoration with the Smithsonian Institute.

Students create a timeline of the Dust Bowl and then write what they believe led to the Great Depression.
Students can write from a first person point of view on what it is like living in the Ozarks during the 1930’s.
Students create a map or diorama of the geography of the Ozark mountains of the 1920’s.

3.0 Literary Response and Analysis
Students read and respond to historically or culturally significant works of literature that reflect and enhance their studies of history and social science.
Narrative Analysis of Grade-Level-Appropriate Text
3.5 Identify the speaker and recognize the difference between first-and third-person narration (e.g., autobiography compared with biography).

11th Grade History/Social Science
11.6 Students analyze the different explanations for the Great Depression and how the New Deal fundamentally changed the role of the federal government.



Theme Questions


Extensions/ Activities

What dog is the best for different jobs?

What dog makes the best pet?

Dog Lover’s Page
This Australian site provides information on how to take care of your dog and how to select the best breed of dog.

Dogs with Jobs
A fun site with animations that provides dog jobs, ideas about different breeds, and training tips.

Students research different dogs and the types of jobs working dogs have.

Students work in small groups to develop a project on dogs: training video, website on working dogs, a presentation on why certain dogs make the best pets.

6th Grade English/Language Arts
2.0 Writing Applications
2.3 Write research reports:
a. Pose relevant questions with a scope narrow enough to be thoroughly covered.
b. Support the main idea or ideas with facts, details, examples, and explanations from multiple authoritative sources (e.g., speakers, periodicals, online information searches).
c. Include a bibliography.





Back to Literature Connections