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Searching for America, Volume Three: The American Imagination (Digital Download)

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Searching for America:  How do you teach classic American literature and great moments in American history in a meaningful and impactful way? Searching for America takes some of America's greatest works of fiction and non-fiction and adapts them into Reader's Theater script-stories. Let your students live the excitement of classic texts like Moby Dick, "The Fall of the House of Usher," "The Masque of the Red Death," and "Rappaccini's Daughter." Then put them into the action of Moby DIck with a tactical battle game, which pits Captain Ahab's Pequod against the monstrous whale.

Each script-story in this collection is approximately 30-50 minutes and intended for use with students from 6th-12th grade. A 2-page teacher guide complete with background information, summary, recall questions, teachable terms, and discussion questions accompanies each script.

Volume Three:  The American Imagination  Volume Three of Searching for America contains 12 script-stories which dramatize fiction and non-fiction selections:

  • Moby Dick: Part I
  • Moby Dick: Part II
  • Moby Dick: Part IIII
  • Moby Dick: Part IV
  • Moby Dick: Part V
  • Moby Dick: Part VI
  • "The Masque of the Red Death"
  • "The Fall of the House of Usher"
  • "The Raven"
  • "Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment"
  • "Rappaccini's Daughter"
  • "The Transcendentalists"
  • Bonus Activity:  Moby Dick Battle Game

Details:  169-page PDF download 

For a DIGITAL CLASS SET version that breaks each individual script-story into its own file and gives teachers permission to use the files digitally, click here.

Samples:  To view free materials that supplement this textbook as a well as a sample script-story "Moby Dick: Part I" click here.

Free Reading Guides:  Free reading guides are also available for Moby Dick: Parts I-VI. Click here to find out more.


  • Moby Dick Have you ever wanted to teach Moby Dick but couldn't find the time? While preserving the author's literary style, this text adapts Herman Melville's classic novel into six 45-minute Reader's Theater script-stories. Allowing the students to inhabit classic characters like Captain Ahab, Ishmael, and Queequeg the harpooneer brings literature to life! The majority of my own American Literature students cite Moby Dick as their favorite unit of the year! If you are unsure whether or not the script-story teaching technique would work in your classroom.
  • The Works of Edgar Allan Poe The master of the creepy and the spooky, Edgar Allan Poe continues to fascinate teenage readers. "The Fall of the House of Usher," "The Raven," and "The Masque of the Red Death" are included in this textbook.
  • Short Stories of Nathaniel Hawthorne In addition to his masterpiece The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne helped develop the short story into an artform. Two of his best, "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment" and "Rappaccini's Daughter" are included in this textbooks.
  • The Transcendentalists What if some of the most famous American Romantic authors faced off against the Transcendentalists in a no-holds-barred insult-fest? This humorous script-story makes light work of deep philosophy by pitting Poe and Hawthorne against Emerson and Thoreau (with a few other guest appearances). This is the perfect way to make the Transcendentalists engaging for your students!

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