March is Women's History Month, a time for commemorating and encouraging the study of the vital role of women in history.
Below, you'll find recommended reading for Women's History Month, along with links to our curated vocabulary lists for each text. Pre-teaching the challenging language that students will encounter in these rich texts will help them get more out of the material.
Bear in mind that the recommendations below represent only a fraction of our vocabulary lists. You can find more great resources on our Lists page.
Vocabulary.com makes it easy to seamlessly integrate vocabulary instruction into your Women's History Month lesson plans. Here's how:
Try some new books this year, and leave the vocab to us. Introducing new titles to your curriculum doesn't have to mean starting from scratch. Our content team has developed thousands of ready-made vocabulary lists that are designed to align with your curriculum. You can use the lists as they are, or copy and customize them.
Pair assigned reading with a practice activity. With each reading assignment, assign a corresponding practice activity on Vocabulary.com. When students practice the words on the lists you assign, they learn key vocabulary and preview the text before they tackle the reading. Practice activities boost your students' comprehension and their overall word-knowledge.
Have students create their own lists. Students love our list-maker as much as teachers do. Have your kids "collect" the words that interest and challenge them as they read, then invite them to share, discuss and practice each other's lists. If your kids like incentives, have them vote for their favorite student-made list and then use it to create a Vocabulary Jam for an engaging follow-up activity.
Historical Documents and Speeches
Declaration of the Rights of Women (1791) Written in 1791 by Olympe de Gouges, the main structure and contents of this declaration parallel and parody its male counterpart, Declaration of the Rights of Man.
Declaration of Sentiments (1848) The Declaration was presented by Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 1848 at the Seneca Falls Conference, the first major women's rights convention organized by women. Stanton and Lucretia Mott modeled the Declaration upon the United States Declaration of Independence. It was signed by 68 women and 32 men, including Frederick Douglass.
Sojourner Truth's "Ain't I a Woman?" (1851) Sojourner Truth's speech at the 1851 Women's Rights Convention in Ohio asked a profound and provocative question that spoke to the undeniable humanity of both women and slaves.
On Women's Right to Vote (1873) Susan B. Anthony was arrested when she illegally voted in the 1872 presidential election. She delivered this argument for women's suffrage in 1873.
Why Women Should Vote (1910) Jane Addams's short essay on women's suffrage, "Why Women Should Vote," was first printed in a 1910 issue of the Ladies' Home Journal.
The 19th Amendment (1919) Passed in 1919 and ratified in 1920, the 19th amendment guarantees American women the right to vote.
Margaret Chase Smith's "Declaration of Conscience" (1950) Margaret Chase Smith's address to the US Senate was a "Declaration of Conscience" in response to Joseph R. McCarthy's accusations about Communist subversives in the government. Smith was the first woman to serve in both Houses of Congress.
Warriors Don't Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals. In 1957, Melba Pattillo was one of a group of teenagers who integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. In this memoir, she describes her fight to survive and thrive in the sometimes violent aftermath of the Supreme Court decision that declared segregation unconstitutional.
March Forward, Girl by Melba Pattillo Beals. In this follow-up to her celebrated memoir Warriors Don't Cry, Patillo Beals recounts growing up in the South under oppressive Jim Crow laws.
Courage to Soar, by Simone Biles. In this autobiography, cowritten with Michelle Burford, decorated gymnast Simone Biles recounts her path to becoming an Olympic gold medalist.
Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. This groundbreaking book, published in the early 1960s, investigated the devastating effects of chemical pesticides on the environment. Carson's work is credited with helping to create the Environmental Protection Agency.
Zlata's Diary by Zlata Filipović. In this diary, eleven-year-old Zlata Filipović describes her life in Sarajevo during the Bosnian War.
Amelia Lost by Candace Fleming. This biography explores the life and mysterious disappearance of aviator Amelia Earhart.
Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. While in hiding with her family in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam, 13-year-old Anne Frank kept a diary of her experiences. Published after Anne's death in a Nazi concentration camp, the diary remains a powerful testament to the everyday horrors of the Holocaust.
My Life with the Chimpanzees by Jane Goodall. In this memoir, primatologist Jane Goodall recounts her childhood love of animals and her work with chimpanzees in Africa.
Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillp Hoose. Claudette Colvin is a lesser-known figure in American history. In this biography, Hoose tells the story of a Civil Rights leader who tirelessly fought segregation in Montgomery, Alabama.
The Story of My Life by Helen Keller. This account of Helen Keller's life is divided into three parts: Part I is Keller's autobiography, which she published in 1903; Part II is a selection of Keller's letters; and Part III consists of supplementary materials by Keller's teacher and lifelong friend, Anne Sullivan.
Astronauts by Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks. Using a graphic novel format, the authors of Primates tell the stories of the first women in space, focusing on astronaut Mary Cleave.
Primates by Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks. Using a graphic novel format, this book explores the lives and work of primatologists Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas.
Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad by Ann Petry. This biography tells the extraordinary story of the woman who became known as the Moses of her People.
Proud by Ibitihaj Muhammad. Fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad was the first Muslim American woman to win an Olympic medal. In this memoir, she chronicles her unlikely and often difficult rise to the top in her sport.
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. In this memoir, presented in graphic form, Marjane Satrapi describes growing up during the Iranian revolution.
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly. This memoir is descriptively subtitled: "The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race."
The Girl Who Drew Butterflies by Joyce Sidman. This biography, which won the Robert F. Sibert Medal, recounts the life of Maria Merian, a naturalist who studied insects.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. A biography unlike any other, "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" tells the story of a woman who made a contribution to science that still reverberates to this day in laboratories around the world.
The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor by Sonia Sotomayor. In this memoir, Sonia Sotomayor recounts her childhood in the South Bronx, her education and early work as a lawyer, and her eventual appointment to the Supreme Court of the United States.
A Vindication of the Rights of Women by Mary Wollstonecraft. First published in 1792, this essay argues that women should have access to the same educational opportunities afforded to men.
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. In a series of autobiographical poems, Jacqueline Woodson vividly brings her childhood and adolescence to life. This memoir in verse won the National Book Award, the Coretta Scott King Award, and the Newbery Honor Award.
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. She was a girl just like any other, until the Taliban took control of her hometown in Pakistan. Then, she became the girl who "stood up for education and changed the world." Malala Yousafzai is the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Fiction and Poetry
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March are sisters whose personalities couldn't be more different. They share joy and heartbreak growing up in the shadow of the Civil War.
How the García Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez. After they move from the Dominican Republic to New York City, the four García sisters are caught between the expectations of their traditional parents and their own desire to assimilate to American culture.
In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez. This novel follows the four brave Mirabal sisters as they seek to overthrow the corrupt Trujillo government in the Dominican Republic.
"Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou. Angelou's uplifting poem affirms the power of resilience, self-love, and joy in the face of oppression.
Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar. Recent immigrants from Cuba, Ruthie and her family are just learning to adjust to life in New York City when Ruthie is severely injured in a car accident.
Like Vanessa by Tami Charles. Inspired by the first black woman to be crowned Miss America, thirteen-year-old Vanessa enters a local beauty pageant in the hopes of transforming her life.
Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman. In medieval England, an unconventional teenage girl records events in her daily life, including her attempts to thwart her father's plans to marry her off.
Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich. This award-winning novel follows a year in the life of a young Ojibwa girl named Omakayas.
"The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. This is an unnerving short story about a woman diagnosed with "hysteria" and confined to a yellow bedroom by her husband.
A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen. Nora Helmer appears to be a happy wife and mother — but when someone from her past threatens to reveal a devastating secret, Nora must reevaluate the assumptions she made about her marriage.
Amina's Voice by Hena Khan. Amina, a Pakistani-American girl, struggles to balance her commitment to her culture with her desire to fit in. When her mosque is vandalized, Amina must finally find her voice.
Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha La. Fleeing to America to escape the Vietnam War, Hà and her family end up in Alabama, where they must adapt to a new culture.
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. During World War II, ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen and her family take part in a courageous effort to protect the Jewish citizens of Denmark from the Nazis.
Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan. In this award-winning book set in the late 1800s, a young woman answers an ad placed by a Midwestern man seeking a wife.
Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough. Growing up in Renaissance Italy, Artemisia becomes a talented painter — but her father gets credit for her work. This novel in verse tells the story of how Artemisia finds her voice, both as an artist and as a young woman.
The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney. In this powerful novel-in-verse, a twelve-year-old Sudanese girl must make her way to a refugee camp after her village is attacked.
“Planetarium” by Adrienne Rich. Rich’s poem is inspired by Caroline Herschel, a British-German astronomer who discovered eight comets between 1786 and 1797.
Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan. When tragedy strikes, Esperanza's family has to leave their ranch in Mexico and move to a farmworkers' camp during the Great Depression.
Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz and Renée Watson. This novel is a fictionalized account of the childhood of Dr. Betty Shabazz, the civil rights activist and wife of Malcolm X.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. In this groundbreaking novel, Dr. Victor Frankenstein works feverishly to bring an inanimate creature to life — but when he finally succeeds, he is horrified by what he has unleashed. Shelley is credited with helping to create the science fiction genre.
Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt. In this historical novel, Turner Buckminster confronts racism when town elders expel an African American community, including Turner's friend Lizzie, from their island home.
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. In this international bestseller, four Chinese mothers and their American-born daughters try to understand each other.
Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson. A talented artist and student, Jade looks for ways that she can give back to her community — but she feels like her teachers view her only as an "at risk" teenager rather than seeing her for who she truly is.
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia. In the summer of 1968, three sisters travel to California to visit their estranged mother. While there, they learn about the fight for equality and civil rights.
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