Topic: World War II Letters Home - Reading for Tone

Connections to the Social Studies Framework

Social Studies Practice Chronological Reasoning and Causation 

Key Idea 11.8b United States entry into World War II had a significant impact on American society.

Reading Standard Key Ideas and Details

Historical Background: The 392nd Bombardment Group was in existence from 1943-1945. They were stationed at Alamogordo Air Base in New Mexico and equipped with the heavy bombers, B24 Liberators. Douglas Snell, a residence of Schenectady, NY served in this group. 

Compelling Question: How does tone change based on the intended audience?

Setting the Stage: Students choose a text conversation from their phone to analyze. They need to analyze their word choices and means of communication in the text and take notes. Students should share their observations in small groups and discuss their findings. Who were they texting with (audience)? How were they speaking to that person (tone)?

Document Analysis: Using the Comparing Perspectives Graphic Organizer analyze and compare the two Snell letters from World War II. Click on the image of the page to take a closer look. Both letters are courtesy of the Schenectady County Historical Society.

Snell Letter Home Page 1 June 5 1943
Snell Letter Home Page 2 June 5 1943

Snell Letter Home Page 1 June 7 1943
Snell Letter Home Page 2 June 7 1943

Assessment: Write a paragraph explaining why Snell wrote two separate letters to his parents instead of one letter to both. Use evidence from the content and tone of his letters to support your answer. 

This lesson was created by educator Marissa Gordon through a grant from the Bender Family Foundation.