Welcome to The Big Read, a major initiative from the National Endowment for the Arts designed to revitalize the role of literary reading in American culture. The Big Read hopes to unite communities through great literature, as well as inspire students to become life-long readers. This Big Read Teacher’s Guide contains ten lessons to lead you through F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel, The Great Gatsby. Each lesson has four sections: a thematic focus, discussion activities, writing exercises, and homework assignments. In addition, we have provided suggested essay topics and capstone projects, as well as handouts with more background information about the novel, the historical period, and the author. All lessons dovetail with the state language arts standards required in the fiction genre.
The Big Read teaching materials also include an Audio Guide. Packed with interviews, commentaries, and excerpts from the novel, The Big Read Audio Guide presents first-hand accounts of why Fitzgerald’s novel remains so compelling almost a century after its initial publication. Some of America’s most celebrated writers, scholars, and actors have volunteered their time to make Big Read Audio Guides exciting additions to the classroom.
Finally, The Big Read Reader’s Guide deepens your exploration with interviews, booklists, time lines, and historical information. We hope this guide and syllabus allow you to have fun with your students while introducing them to the work of a great American author.
From the NEA, we wish you an exciting and productive school year.
F. Scott Fitzgerald, c. 1925 (American Stock/Getty Images)
The Country Flapper, 1922 (Motion Picture Department of the George Eastman House
First edition cover (Cover painting by Francis Cugat, courtesy of the Matthew J. and Arlyn Bruccoli Collection of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Cooper Library, University of South Carolina)