Classical Childrens Books

Roll of Thunder Unit Study

Roll of Thunder Unit Study guides students in 6th - 9th grade with activities correlated to Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor.

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Roll of Thunder Summary

Roll of Thunder Family Chart

Cassie Logan is a happy nine-year old girl living with her loving family in Mississippi in the 1930's. The occasional discrimination she faces, such as being intentionally sprayed with muddy water by the school bus of white children when she walks to her black school with her brothers, is annoying but not enough to mar her happiness. But the growing racial tensions in her community push their way into her thoughts. She visits Mr. Barry, a disfigured and dying man burnt by a lawless mob because he was black. She journeys to the town of Strawberry with her grandmother and experiences the humiliation of discrimination herself when she must give up the side-walk to a white girl and call her Miss Lillian.

Whispered conversations of night riders and burnings are over-heard at home. But the threat of losing their farm land is one of the family's greatest worries, as her grandmother tells the story of how the land was purchased, but the town tycoon wants to force them to give it up so he can own all the land of his ancestors' pre-Civil War plantation.

When Mama is fired from her job teaching at the black school, and the mortgage note on their property is called for full payment before time, it looks like they will lose their land.

Her brother's former friend, TJ, has been getting into trouble. He is set up for a robbery and murder, and a mob comes to his house to lynch him. With the long brewing storm coming and the crashing of thunder and lightening, Cassie runs as fast as she can to her father for help, knowing the mob wants to lynch him too. Will Papa be able to stop the lynching? Is there any hope for their land?

Roll of Thunder Unit Study Guide

Roll of Thunder Unit Study Page Roll of Thunder Family Chart
Student Guide AND Teacher's Answer Key Included
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What is in The Unit Study Guide?

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Chapter by Chapter Activities

The twelve chapters in this book all have corresponding activities in the Roll of Thunder Unit Study. Vocabulary words are listed at the beginning of the chapter. Discussion and reading comprehension questions are included with every chapter. In addition, the other activities listed below are included with the appropriate chapter.

Literary Elements

Students investigate how authors make a story come to life with literary elements. Activities include:

Historical Context

Historical information is given at relevent locations in the book. Information is provided on:

Action, Action

Students can make their study of Roll of Thunder more lively with suggestions for:

Chart of the Logan Land

Roll of Thunder Family Chart

Students will be better able to follow the plot with the visual chart of the Logan family land. They can see how Cassie's grandfather bought 200 acres in 1887 outright and 200 more chapters in 1918 that have a mortgage. Then can compare these 400 acres to the total 6000 acre Granger Plantation pre-Civil War.

Sample Roll of Thunder Lesson Plans for Chapter One

Roll of Thunder Family Chart


Setting: Make A Collage

The setting is extremely important in this story (as it is in all novels.) The setting includes time and place. Pay close attention to setting as the author introduces it in the first few pages. One way to showcase the setting of a book you read is to make a collage. The artwork on the top and bottom of this page provide some clues. Page 3 is blank for you to write information about the setting as it develops. You might like to use different colors and pictures to represent the setting or simply use words.

Character List

You will meet an interesting cast of characters in this story. On page four, we have started a character list for you. Jot a few notes down about each one listed. Those names that come after the line will be introduced after chapter one. You do not need complete sentences for these notes.

Point of View Review

Stories usually have one of the three common points of view: What is the point of view of this book? HINT: Read the first sentence of the second paragraph of Chapter One.

Literary Analysis

The elements listed above (setting, characters, point of view, conflict) are major components of literature. Notice how authors scatter the information about setting and characters in the first chapters of a book. They are like treasures the reader discovers. You will continue to build your information about Setting, Characters, and Conflict as the book progresses. Most of the setting is already established by the end of Chapter One.


Which phrases listed below from this chapter are similies? Similies use “as” or “like” to make comparisons.

Discussion Questions

  1. What sacrifices did the Logans make to keep their land?
  2. Compare the white and black schools as described in this chapter.


Hyperbole is an exageration to make a point. The statement, “I have told you a million times,” is hyperbole.

The author uses hyperbole to indicate the information on the inside of the school books. While schools did list the year, name of student, and condition on the inside of the books, they did not list race.

Why did the author do this? It is a form of hyperbole. She stated that the black schools did not get the books until they were old and the white school was ready to get new books. Everyone might agree that this was not fair; but many might not recognize how humiliating it was to have the school district demonstrate they did not value some of their students as much as others. This point is communicated more effectively by having the race listed as “nigra” in the front of a dilapidated book.

While the chart on the inside of the book might not be as historically accurate, it is more emotionally effective in showing the reaction of Little Man and Cassie. Can you think of other instances when authors have used hyperbole to communicate a point? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using hyperbole in historical fiction?

Roll of Thunder Family Chart

Buy the Roll of Thunder Unit Study Guide

Roll of Thunder Unit Study Page Roll of Thunder Family Chart
Student Guide AND Teacher's Answer Key Included
$2.99 Download - 50 pages
Add to Cart button

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