Warrior’s Don’t Cry helps young people relate to the Civil Rights Movement on a personal level. Start with one or more Warriors Don’t Cry pre-reading activities to prime students for the content and themes. The Warriors Don’t Cry Anticipation Guide that follows is a practical and meaningful introduction to key themes.
Warriors Don’t Cry Pre-reading
Addressing sensitive content
Although the reading level of Warriors Don’t Cry (abridged version) is quite low, the subject matter requires some maturity. There are sensitive subjects regarding race, many frightening acts of violence, a description of a sexual assault, racial slurs, and harsh language.
Set expectations for discourse from the start. Answer important questions about how you will navigate sensitive issues.
- What are the rules for listening to others and being respectful?
- How can students express discomfort or anger appropriately?
- How do you want the class to handle the presence of the n-word in the memoir?
- What should students and parents know about your choice to include the text?
Contextualizing the memoir
Your students may not have a clear picture of the historical context. Here are some resources that may help with your Warriors Don’t Cry pre-reading:
- Media and Strategies for Teaching Warriors Don’t Cry from Facing History and Ourselves
- Teaching Warriors Don’t Cry PDF from Facing History and Ourselves
- The Civil Rights Movement from History.com
- The Civil Rights Movement: 1919-1960s from TeacherServe
- Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site from National Park Service
- Who Was Jim Crow? from National Geographic
- Lesson plan: Brown v. Board of Education and the story of Prince Edward County Schools from PBS Newshour
Introducing key themes
Beyond setting expectations for discourse and establishing historical context, your Warriors Don’t Cry pre-reading should introduce key theme subjects. This will increase engagement and foster critical thinking.
Key theme subjects of the Warriors Don’t Cry Anticipation Guide
What are the key theme subjects that students will explore through the memoir? Identifying the key theme subjects at the start of the unit establishes purpose and gets students thinking.
- Social change
- Growing up
- Freedom and rights
Warriors Don’t Cry Anticipation Guide
Click here for the Warriors Don’t Cry Anticipation Guide (Printable PDF)
Starting the exploration of a text with the students’ own perspectives and opinions is a powerful technique. Nothing helps young people buy-in more than the chance to be heard on important issues. They will think critically and make predictions about the text.
- “I would be willing to give up things that are important to me in order to stand up for what is right.”
- “I see examples of prejudice in my day-to-day life.” (Prejudice means pre-judging someone before you get to know them.)
- “There are many different types of courage.”
- “I try hard to understand points of view that are different from my own.”
- “When life is hard, it is important to stand alone. Looking for support from others is pointless.”
- “In some instances, using violence is an appropriate option.”
- “It is important to look back on your life and think about it.”
- “You can tell a lot about someone just by looking at them.”
- “It is not important to think about history. What is important is the here and now.”
- “America truly is a free country.”
- “Adolescence is different from both childhood and adulthood in important ways.”
Implementing the Warriors Don’t Cry Anticipation Guide
To incorporate this Warriors Don’t Cry anticipation guide into a lesson, move the class from individual reflection to whole-group discussion.
- Introduce the anticipation guide and emphasize that there are no right or wrong answers.
- Ask students to respond in writing on their own.
- Have the students share their ideas in small groups. Give reminders about being fair and respectful. Everyone’s perspective is valuable.
- Have the groups share with the class. They might share one topic that sparked a lively conversation.
- Identify the the main theme subjects and asks students to predict how they might develop in the text.