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When Marian Sang: Using Portraiture for Pre-reading and Post-reading Activities

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Language Arts And English +2 Age Levels Elementary (9 to 12 years old), Middle School (13 to 15 years old)

In this collection, portraits are used for both pre-reading and post-reading activities in connection with reading a biography of Marian Anderson. The pre-reading activity uses Betsy Graves Reyneau's oil on canvas portrait, Marian Anderson, to begin to reveal Anderson to students. Post-reading activities include the use of photographs, video and William H. Johnson's oil on paperboard Marian Anderson to enhance understanding of Anderson's 1939 concert and to informally access student learning.  

When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson: The Voice of a Century is a picture book written by Pam Munoz Ryan and illustrated by Brian Selznick. This biography shares the story of opera star Marian Anderson's historic concert of 1939 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to an integrated crowd of over 75,000 people. The book recounts Marian's life as a she trains to become an opera singer and as she struggles with the obstacles she faces in pre-Civil Rights America. This picture book is an excellent choice to use in the upper elementary classroom in the context of a unit that focuses on "challenges and obstacles."

This collection was created in conjunction with the National Portrait Gallery's 2019 Learning to Look Summer Teacher Institute. 

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