CommonLit Elementary Classrooms 7 Women’s History Month Lesson Plans for Elementary Students

Discover the women’s voices that have shaped the literary world.

Despite making up half the population, women are often underrepresented in classroom resources. Fortunately, our digital library is filled with amazing women authors. Dive into some of our favorite lessons that meet ELA standards, boost reading comprehension, and will engage and inspire your elementary students. These stories by famous women authors are the perfect fit for elementary teachers’ Women’s History Month lesson plans.  

Do What You Can” by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey (3rd Grade)

Bailey was an elementary school principal at the turn of the 20th century. Her stories, including four fables on the CommonLit website, are still widely read today. In this retelling of an old fable, one raindrop wishes to help a farmer water his crops.

Pair “Do What You Can” with “Making Books in Braille” in the Paired Text Tab. Use the two texts to prompt a discussion about helping others. How can one raindrop, or one book in braille, make a difference?

The Race of Friends” by Jane Yolen (3rd Grade)

Yolen has written over 400 children’s books, many focused on themes like nature and friendship. Find two more dinosaur themed Jane Yolen poems on CommonLit. In this poem, a child runs a baton relay race with their friend. The speaker of the poem believes the children’s collective effort is extraordinary.

Watch the video “Relay Race Technique” in the Related Media Tab for a team-building lesson. Does seeing a relay race help students understand the poem differently? To create a more dynamic lesson, ask students to try a relay race. After the race, ask them if their perception of the poem has changed.

A screenshot of the lesson paired with a poem by Jane Yolen

Amazing Auntie Anne” by Cynthia Leitich Smith (4th Grade)

Smith is a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation and children’s book author, with short stories, poems, and a book pairing in the CommonLit library. In this poem, a child learns that their legendary Great Aunt will be visiting. When the two meet, the child is excited to realize their aunt is curious about them too.

As students read this poem, ask them to pay attention to repetition, capitalization, and alliteration. How does Smith use these tools to convey a message?

Shells” by Cynthia Rylant (4th Grade)

Rylant is a children’s book author who has written over one hundred books. One of three texts on CommonLit by Rylant, this short story follows the life of a young boy named Michael who moves in with his aunt and has to adjust to new people and places.

Assessment Question 5 addresses character growth. Ask students to annotate the text when they find evidence of character growth. Then, have students write a response to the question, “How does Michael's attitude towards his Aunt Esther change throughout the story?”

La Vista” by Margarita Engle (5th Grade)

Try using “La Vista” in a Women’s History Lesson plan. This poem is one of four texts in our library by Margarita Engle, a Cuban-American poet, novelist, and journalist. In this poem, a young girl recounts a visit from her grandmother.

This poem creates an opportunity for your class to think about word choice and figurative language. Ask students to find examples of metaphors in this work. Focus the class discussion on the metaphor of embroidery that holds relationships together.

Salvador Late or Early” by Sandra Cisneros (5th Grade)

Sandra Cisneros is an American poet, novelist, and essay writer known for her eloquent writing style. With nine lessons and a book pairing for The House on Mango Street, Cisneros is one of our favorite authors at CommonLit! In this short story, Cisneros writes about a boy named Salvador who goes unnoticed by his classmates, teachers, and community. Despite this, Salvador takes care of his little brother in the face of life's daily challenges.  

Use the discussion section of this lesson to prompt a class conversation on evidence. Ask students the Discussion Question 1, “The author gives many details about Salvador throughout the story. Which do you think is the most important detail about Salvador?” Have students use the annotation tool to support their responses.

A screenshot of the first paragraph of Sandra Cisneros's short story "Salvador Late or Early."

Her Hands That Held the Stars” by Rebecca Birch (5th Grade)

Rebecca Birch is a science fiction and fantasy writer with two texts on CommonLit. Her work combines themes of bravery and environmental conscientiousness. In this short story, a young girl wants to see the stars. However, the girl lives in a future where the air is too polluted to see the sky.

Pair this short story with the video “Air Pollution” from the Related Media tab. This video will help students visualize and understand smog. Ask the class about the effects of smog in our environment compared to the environment in the story? What can we do to help ensure a future where our air is clean?

Next Steps:

Interested in finding more Women’s History Month lesson plans? Join one of our upcoming webinars!

Additionally, explore our Women’s Rights Text Set which includes 54 texts, with 14 texts specifically for elementary students.