Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

This lesson plan will help your students answer questions about the text, find meaning in African folklore, and use illustrations as a reading comprehension strategy while reading 'Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti' by Gerald McDermott.

Learning Objective

Upon completion of this lesson on Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti by Gerald McDermott, students will be able to:

  • Answer questions about the text.
  • Understand the message of this African folktale.
  • Describe how information gained from illustrations contributes to understanding the story.

Time Length

90 minutes

Common Core Curriculum Standards


Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.


Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson, or moral.


Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot.

Lesson Instructions and Activities


Students will be able to read and understand the following key vocabulary terms:

  • danger
  • deserves
  • folklore
  • globe
  • mysterious
  • mythology
  • prize
  • rescued
  • swallowed
  • traditions


  • Copies of Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti by Gerald McDermott
  • Aluminum foil
  • Colored chalk
  • Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Cups of water

Reading and Discussion

  • Preview vocabulary from the story with students.
  • While reading Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti by Gerald McDermott to students, pause at the appropriate times to ask the following discussion questions:
    • Why does the author include a prologue in this story?
    • Where does this story come from?
    • How do you think Anansi chose the names for each of his sons?
    • What kind of trouble does Anansi fall into? How do you know?
    • What do each of the sons do to help their father?
    • Turn and talk: Which son do you think deserves the globe of light? Why?
    • Who does Anansi ask for help?
    • How is the problem solved?
    • Folktales are often told to explain things that occur naturally. What does this folktale explain?

Retelling Through Illustrations

Materials needed: copies of Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti by Gerald McDermott, aluminum foil, colored chalk, construction paper, scissors, glue, cups of water

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