Teaching with Primary Sources

The River Between Us - Enhancing Novel Study with Primary Sources


Student Lesson One: The Model T Ford Touring Car - 1916

Background: When writing the novel The River Between Us, Richard Peck used a literary device known as framing to create what is essentially a "story within a story." The novel begins in 1916 with fifteen-year-old Howard Leland Hutchings traveling from St. Louis, Missouri, to Grand Tower, Illinois, with his father and two brothers to visit his father's side of the family. These characters and the events they experience form the frame for the bulk of the story - a story that Howard's Grandma Tilly relates of the Civil War, two mysterious women, and a ghost story.

You will be using this beginning portion of the novel as the basis for exploring and evaluating primary source materials.

1. Follow your teacher's directions for the completion of Part A of the Chapter One Discussion Questions.

2. Print Primary Source Analysis Worksheet.

3. As a class study Primary Source #1. Complete the Primary Source Analysis sheet together as a class.

4. Study Primary Source #2 individually. Now complete a Primary Source Analysis sheet on your own.

5. Complete Part B of the Chapter One Discussion Questions. Think carefully abou what you read in chapter one of The River Between Us, as well as what you observed in Primary Sources 1 and 2 before completing Part B.


Governors State University - Teaching with Primary Sources Partner
Amanda M. Kuzminski, Library Media Specialist
Orland Junior High School, Orland School District 135
Last Updated on January 13, 2009