Target Lessons About Black History

Teach students about important people and events in Black history while helping them practice key comprehension skills with CommonLit’s Target Lessons.

At CommonLit, we are always thinking about new ways to support students and teachers, which is why we are excited to present our Target Lessons about Black History!

CommonLit's Target Lesson page in library
You can find Target Lessons by choosing the “Target Lessons” filter under “Content Type.”

Target Lessons are easy-to-use, highly engaging lessons that teach students key comprehension skills. They include scaffolded Pre-Reading, During Reading, and Post-Reading activities to build students’ engagement and knowledge as they move through the lesson. Check out our primer on Target Lessons here:

Target Lessons are based on high-interest topics that are sure to get your students excited. In this blog post, we’ll look at Target Lessons about Black History. As students learn about these important people and events, they will practice key comprehension skills, including identifying and analyzing Main Idea, Connecting Ideas, and Point of View.

Main Idea

Fastest Woman in the World (5th Grade)

In this Target Lesson, students will learn about Wilma Rudolph, the first woman to win three gold medals at the Olympics, and the challenges she overcame. As students read, they will identify the main idea of each section to build their understanding of Rudolph’s accomplishments and impact.

The 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing (5th Grade)

In 1963, a tragic bombing at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama sparked outrage and drew attention to the issue of racial discrimination. In this important lesson, students will learn about the events that led to the bombing and the impact it had on the Civil Rights Movement.

Target section for "16th Street Baptist Church Bombing" lesson
Each Target Lesson clearly states “Today’s Target” so students know what skill they will focus on while they read.

Louis Armstrong (6th Grade)

This informational lesson will teach students how famous musician Louis Armstrong changed music forever. Students will identify the main idea of each section to build their understanding about Armstrong’s influence on mainstream jazz.

How Jackie Robinson Changed Baseball (7th Grade)

In this Target Lesson, students will read how Jackie Robinson paved the way for Black Americans in sports. As they read, students will practice identifying the main idea of each section to understand how Robinson broke barriers and inspired countless others.

Connecting Ideas

Marian’s Revolution (5th Grade)

During a time when Black Americans, especially Black women, were turned away from the music industry, Marian Anderson fought hard to become an accomplished singer. In this lesson, students will explore how Anderson’s actions influenced the Civil Rights Movement.

Reading and Question section for Marian's Revolution Target Lesson
As students read, they will answer scaffolded comprehension questions to gain mastery of the target skill. 

The Sit-In Movement (8th Grade)

In this inspiring lesson, students will read about protests against racial violence and discrimination in America in the early 1960s. They will explore how the sit-in movements and other types of protests impacted the Civil Rights Movement.

Meet the Fearless Cook who Secretly Fed - and Funded - The Civil Rights Movement (9th Grade)

Many people have heard about famous Civil Rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, but students may not know about Georgia Gilmore, a cook who was responsible for feeding the Civil Rights Movement. In this text, students will learn how Gilmore’s cooking had a significant impact on history.

Assessment section of "Meet the Fearless Cook..." Target Lesson
All Target Lessons include Assessment Questions so teachers get formative data about key comprehension skills.

Next Steps

Looking for more engaging lessons to build knowledge and skills? Explore our library of Target Lessons here, featuring high-interest topics like Courageous Women, Trailblazers, and more!