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Lesson Plan

In the Style of Ernie Pyle: Reporting on World War II

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Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 60-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Leslie Harper Blatteau

New Haven, Connecticut


International Literacy Association



From Theory to Practice



Enhance your students' study of World War II by encouraging them to write a report in the style of one of that era's great reporters, Ernie Pyle. Students first research Pyle's life and work before analyzing one of his columns. They then write their own work. They practice critical thinking and collaboration by working together to determine the strengths in Pyle's writing and using these criteria to peer review each other's work. By modeling their writing on an existing primary source, students learn about the time period and become more confident in their ability to write descriptively and effectively.

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Bowens, C.P., & Tantillo, S.H. (2002). Applying NCTE/IRA Standards in classroom journalism projects: Activities and scenarios. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.

  • In working with models and sources of information, students read, view, and listen to a wide range of media in their classes. In this lesson, students have the opportunity to both read and listen to quality examples of war reporting by the writer Ernie Pyle.

  • Local, national and international newspapers serve to show students differences in writing styles. They also see how significance, timeliness, and human interest play roles in determining what information they receive.

  • Today's reporters conduct searches on the Internet and evaluate the credibility of the information they get there, whether it's a federal database or a website. In this lesson, students do similar research.


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