Edgar Allen Poe was an American author and poet, and a master of the scary tale. Around Halloween, Poe’s stories are a great way to introduce older students to writing techniques like tone, perspective, and setting. Keep in mind that many of Poe’s stories might be too scary for younger children.
- “The Tell Tale Heart”
- “The Raven”
- “The Masque of the Red Death”
- “The Cask of Amontillado”
- “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”
- “The Fall of the House of Usher”
- “The Pit and the Pendulum”
- Choose one Edgar Allen Poe story for your class to read.
- Read about Edgar Allen Poe’s life to learn about what motivated him to write scary stories. The Poe Museum has a great history of Poe. Talk about impetus, how authors decide to write stories, and how their lives affect their work.
- Read one of Edgar Allen Poe’s stories out loud and call on students to read different parts of the story. Ask students to have pencil and paper ready. As they listen, have them note the creepy parts of the story. Do the stories start out spooky, or do they gradually become scary?
- After reading a story, ask students to identify different parts of the story and the plot. Have students identify the narrator and the narrative time throughout the story, including any changes and what they mean.
- Talk about literary techniques like hyperbole, repetition, irony, and foreshadowing, all of which often appear in Poe’s stories. The Poe Museum has teacher resources for identifying techniques used in two tales.
- Ask students to analyze the tone of the story by pointing out specific words in the story that appear often or have similar meanings. Write the words on sentence strips and add them to your word wall.
- Ask students to identify the emotions in the story and create their own artwork about those emotions.