Teaching a Fully Illustrated and Digital Copy of ‘The Raven’ from the Library of Congress

October brings with it the changing of the seasons, colorful Fall landscapes, and Halloween. What better way to celebrate Halloween than to expose students to Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven.

At Read.gov, which is an extension of the Library of Congress, they have a fully readable, illustrated, digital version of The Raven published in 1884. Along with the full text of this iconic poem, the book is filled with spooky illustrations that help students visualize and follow the story line. raven

For class, read the poem aloud and ask students to note their reactions to the language used using free response or the Directed Listening and Thinking Activity (DLTA). Does it follow a rhyme scheme or have a specific meter? Are there allusions or metaphors that they recognize? What emotions and feelings do they have towards the poem?

After students share their responses, have them interact with the digital version of The Raven to give responses to the illustrations. How do lines of the poem relate to the illustrations? Are there other symbols that the illustrations add to the poem? Do the illustrations evoke other emotions or reinforce the lines provided?

As an extension or homework assignment, have students draw their own illustrations relating to a specific line in the poem, or have them write their own poem in the same style and meter.

Check here for more primary sources on Edgar Allan Poe.