The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:04 The Story
  • 0:40 Plot
  • 2:15 Theme
  • 2:59 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Christine Quist

Christine has taught 4th-5th grade, has worked as a Paraprofessional for Adult Learners, and has a master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction for Elementary Education.

Have you ever heard a ghost story or a legend of a scary monster? ''The Legend of Sleepy Hollow'' is one of those stories about a man, Ichabod, who was very scared of ghosts. This lesson talks about what happened in the story, what Ichabod was like, and the mysterious ending.

The Story

''The Legend of Sleepy Hollow'' is a story by Washington Irving, a man who wrote many different kinds of books and helped protect writers' work from being stolen. He was called the first true American writer.

''The Legend of Sleepy Hollow'' takes place in a town filled with superstitious people. ''Superstitious'' means to believe in ghost stories and bad luck. Superstition makes people scared of ordinary things like shadows on the wall and the wind howling at night. Sleepy Hollow is said to be haunted by many ghosts and legends, including the Headless Horseman.


''The Legend of Sleepy Hollow'' is about a young schoolteacher named Ichabod Crane, a tall and skinny man with a funny large nose that looks like the beak of a bird. He is very superstitious and easy to scare. Ichabod moves to the town of Sleepy Hollow and falls in love with a woman named Katrina, the prettiest lady in the whole town. One night, at a party, Brom, the town bully, tells the horrible tale of the Headless Horseman to scare Ichabod. Brom loves Katrina, too, and wants to get rid of Ichabod!

According to the tale, the Headless Horseman is an evil spirit that takes the shape of a large man that has no head. He rides a black horse and holds a flaming jack-o-lantern in his arms and chases after people who come near his woods to get their heads for himself. A jack-o-lantern is a pumpkin that has had all the insides scooped out and the outside carved into a picture like a scary face with a candle inside to make the picture glow.

After Brom's story, Ichabod is so scared! On his way home, he hears the deep laughter of the Headless Horseman and the chase begins. The Horseman chases him through the woods and finally throws the flaming jack-o-lantern at Ichabod.

The people of Sleepy Hollow wake up the next morning and can't find Ichabod. In fact, they don't ever find anything but his hat and donkey. The book ends this way, with the author leaving you to wonder what happened to Ichabod - and the Headless Horseman.

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