Pocahontas - English Center

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Similar stories must have taken place, at different times in history, in different parts of the world, but the Pocahontas story is one. This ungraded summary is for  ...



Pocahontas Retold by Tim Vicary


This ungraded summary is for the teacher’s use only and should not be given to students.

The story In 1607 a group of English colonists arrive in Virginia, where they meet the Algonquin Indians and build a town which they call Jamestown. Most of the Indians co-operate with the colonists, trading with them. In particular the colonists need food, which they get from the Indians in exchange for things they have brought

of the better known – probably because John Smith

from England.

himself was able to write it down several years after

John Smith leads a party of men who want to buy

it happened.

food. There is a fight with a group of Indians and Smith is taken prisoner and brought before the Algonquin

Before Reading

king, Powhatan. Some of the Indians want to kill Smith,

Here are some ways to help your students approach

but Powhatan’s thirteen-year-old daughter, Pocahontas,

the story:

manages to save his life. Smith stays in the Algonquin


village for some time, learning their language, before

Give students the title of the book and show them the picture on the cover. Ask them to try and guess

being allowed to return to Jamestown.

what kind of the story it is.

Later, Pocahontas comes to Jamestown, where she


Give students a copy of the text on the back

spends a lot of time with John Smith, learning about

cover of the book, and of the story introduction

England and the English. She wants to marry Smith,

on the first page. When they have read the texts,

but, partly because she is so young, Smith refuses.

ask them a few questions about the story, or use

She returns to her village, and relations between the

the Before Reading Activities in the back of each

colonists and the Indians begin to deteriorate.


Several years later, when Pocahontas is nineteen,


a group of Englishmen take her prisoner. They want


to use her to put pressure on her father. John

Use the pre-reading activity in this worksheet. If there is a recording of this title, play the first few pages and stop at an interesting point.

Smith has left Jamestown, and, thinking that he is dead, Pocahontas becomes friendly with, and marries, another man, John Rolfe. In 1616, Rolfe, Pocahontas and their son make the voyage to England. They visit London, and Pocahontas even meets the King and Queen of England – who tell her that John Smith is still alive. Pocahontas meets John Smith again – but it is too late. She is married and she has a son. Six months later, she fell ill, and died in England before she could return to Virginia. John Smith never married.

Background to the story This true story looks at the problems that occur when two cultures meet. Similar stories must have taken place, at different times in history, in different parts of the world, but the Pocahontas story is one





Pocahontas Pre-reading activities People and places

1 Read these sentences about the story. Do you think they are true or not? YES/NO a

Pocahontas was a young Algonquin Indian girl.


Pocahontas was born in England.


Pocahontas lived in a village called Werewocomoco.


Pocahontas married an English man called John Smith.


The Algonquin Indians are happy when the English come to live in America.


Pocahontas went to London.


Pocahontas had three children and lived until she was seventy-two.


The Alonquin Indians killed John Smith.

2 Match the chapter titles with the sentences. 1 The English in Virginia 2 John Smith and Pocahontas 3 A friend for the English 4 A wife for John Smith 5 Where is John Smith? 6 A husband for Pocahontas 7 England

a ‘I like you very much, but I’m not the right husband for you.’ b Every day she visited big houses and talked to rich and important people. c He opened his eyes and saw the face of the young girl, with her beautiful dark eyes. d ‘He was very ill. So he went home to England.’ e They wanted to find a new world in the west. f ‘We want to be your friends, and friends are better than guns.’ g ‘I love you, Pocahontas, and I want to marry you.’

To the teacher Aim: To familiarize students with some of the

the book if they have no ideas about the story.

characters and the setting

Next ask the students to match each chapter title

Time: 10–20 minutes

with some words from that chapter.

Organization: This activity can be done as one

Use this background information to encourage

activity or as two separate pre-reading activities. First

students to predict what may happen in the story.

ask the students to look at the eight statements at

Key 1: a Yes, b No, c Yes, d No, e No, f Yes, g No,

the top of the page and decide whether they think

h No.

these things are going to happen in the story. It

Key 2: 1e, 2c, 3f, 4a, 5d, 6g, 7b.

might be helpful for them to read the back cover of PHOTOCOPIABLE





Pocahontas While reading activity What happens next?

Which of these happens in the story, do you think?




give guns to Powhatan – and Powhatan becomes friends with them.


runs away from her father and goes to live with the English. stays with her father and is not a friend to the English.

give guns to Powhatan – and Powhatan fights them.

takes guns from the English and gives them to her father.

do not give guns to Powhatan, so Powhatan tries to take them.

takes food from her father and gives it to the English.

do not give guns to Powhatan, so Powhatan fights them.

Something else . . .

Something else . . . THE ALGONQUINS



kill all the English.


goes back to England because he does not want to fight the Indians.

fight the English and the English return to England.

fights the Indians and dies.

learn to live with the English.

goes to live with the Indians.

give food to the English for one more year.

Something else . . .

Something else . . .

To the teacher Where: At the end of Chapter 3

3, what will happen to each of these people. Correct

Aim: To encourage students to predict the

predictions are not important, and students should

development of the story

also be encouraged to write their own ideas in the

Time: 15–20 minutes

Something else space. It may also be interesting

Organization: Give each student, or group of

for students to keep their worksheets and see, as

students, a copy of the worksheet. Ask them to

they read on, whether or not their predictions were

decide, without looking beyond the end of Chapter






Pocahontas After reading activity Places and people











To the teacher Aim: To focus students’ attention back on the places

of London as a model, they should fill the spaces

and characters in the story

around the other pictures with appropriate words or

Time: 20 minutes

phrases to describe the places or people.

Organization: Give each student, or group of students, a copy of the worksheet. Using the poster PHOTOCOPIABLE