Little Women Unit Study

Developing a Little Women summary and character sketch is a great way to conclude the study of Louisa May Alcott's best loved book.

Little Women

Four sisters, a father away in the Civil War, and a devoted mother have inspired generations of readers with their story of love and generosity.

While this timeless classic continues to be read, many readers are left staring at the page as they try to write a summary or book report about this story. It does not have the typical "conflict" in the usual sense on reads in a story. There is no bad guy.

Instead, there is a loving family that faces that beauty and pain that life brings as time moves.

Here are some thoughts on how to write about this much-loved classic.

Writing Ideas For Little Women

First and Last Sentence Quotes

Opening Line:

"Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents," grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.

Closing Line:

"Oh my girls, however long you may live, I never can wish you a greater happiness than this."

These two quotes above by Louisa May Alcott provide a very short summary of the book, as well as snapshot of the character development of the main character, Jo. The first sentence above is the opening sentence of the book where the reader first encounters the second-oldest sister and her siblings. The second sentence is the final conclusion. Describe how these two provide statements provide a summary of Little Women as well as a reflection of Jo's story.

Character Sketch

Write a character sketch of each of the four sisters. Describe at least five things about each sister. How are they different from one another?

What do you believe each sister wants most in life? Fears most?

Louisa May Alcott Bio

Look up some information about the author. How is Jo like her? How is she different?

Happiness In Hard Times

Jo learns that happiness does not come from money or fun. What other lessons does Jo learn?

15 years in the Life of a Family

This story takes place over a fifteen year period. Think of all the things that may have happened in your family in the last fifteen years. Make a list of events and changes.

Life changes as the family gets older. Think of how your family's life has changed as you haved grown. There are external changes (the environment you life in) and internal changes (changes of the heart.)

Little Women Summary

Chapter by Chapter

Write a chapter by chapter summary of the book as a diary by Jo. Each chapter should have two to three sentences and include the most important event. Also inclulde the most important thing Jo learned or discovered.

Other Character

Choose another character to write the summary. It could be one of the other sisters or Marmy. Another idea would be to write it from the perspective of someone outside the family, for instance their housekeeper or neighbor.

Diagram the Action Plot

Use our free Action Plot Graphic Organizer to visually summarize the events in each chapter.

Little Women Dolls

Madame Alexander Little Women Dolls

One of the most popular of the Madame Alexander dolls was the Little Women series. While they are no longer being made, collectors continue to find and sell them readily on amazon, ebay, doll stores and other places where collectors dolls are available.

The series came in two sizes: full size dolls and the miniatures. I have owned a set of the full-sized dolls since I was 13 years old, and I won't tell you how long ago that was.

The miniature series has gained in popularity. I never liked it as much since you coulnd't see as much detail. But as the years have worn on and the number of dolls expanded, I see the value of a set that doesn't take up as much shelf space.

Little Women Paper Dolls

For those who would like to play with the dolls, and don't want something sitting in special boxes in their bedroom closets for decades, paperdolls are another way to go. Well, actually, I have vintage collector dolls AND paper dolls taking up space in my bedroom closet (to my husband's chagrine.) Anyway, I hope your youngsters get as much pleasure from their paper dolls as I did from mine. Most likely, they wont' keep them as long.

Little Women Movies

After reading a book, it is often a treat to watch the movie. In this case, you have four diferent movies produced about Marmee and her four "little women." They are listed below left to right from earliest (1933) to the lastest (2012).

If your little women are real "Little Women" fans, they might like to watch all four movies. I recommend watching them in the order released.

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