Out of the Dust - E-Guide

Progeny Press

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Grade Range: 7-9

Setting: Oklahoma, 1930s

Genre: American Literature

Page Count: 50 + Answer Key

Approximate Completion Time: 7 weeks



Billie Jo Kelby is an only child. Though she knows he loves her, she believes her father views her as a substitute for the son he really wanted. Billie Jo is a good student, but her true joy is playing the piano. Billie Jo's piano playing leads to a job with a local musical group and gives her the opportunity to bring home a little money for the family.
When her mother reveals that she is pregnant again, and the pregnancy seems to be going well, the family is hopeful. Despite the hardships of dust and the Great Depression, Billie Jo and her mother and father are a relatively happy family. However, tragedy strikes during an ordinary day. A bucket of kerosene, mistaken for a pail of water, leads to a terrible fire. Billie Jo's mother dies, and Billie Jo suffers serious burns herself when she tries to extinguish the fire with her bare hands.
She and her father must now face the grieving, the healing, and the Dust Bowl alone. Written in free verse as a poetic journal, this touching novel of loss, healing and returning joy after tragedy strikes vividly brings the Dust Bowl years to life.

Progeny Press Out of the Dust Language Arts PDF curriculum will provide your Middle School student with:

About the Author: Learn about Karen Hesse. Discover the historical context and artistic expression that influenced her writing, providing a deeper understanding of the creative forces that shaped her literary work.
Background Information: Venture into the heart of the Dust Bowl era and learn about open form poetry, a distinctive feature of Hesse's work.
Vocabulary: Engage in a comprehensive exploration of the novel's vocabulary, employing diverse activities to enhance your understanding and retention.
Literary Techniques: Unravel poetic devices, figurative language, and structural elements crafted by Hesse. Delve into the world of onomatopoeia, sensory images, poetic caesura, and the artful use of compare and contrast. Grasp the nuances of symbolism, similes, metaphors, extended metaphor, and personification, experiencing the beauty of alliteration, consonance, assonance, and repetition. Navigate the narrative arc, exploring themes, dynamic characters, rhyme, conflict, double meanings, climax, and resolution
Moral Lessons and Character Values: Contemplate the moral lessons and character values embedded in the narrative. Explore themes of relationship, anger, generosity, the profound impact of words, stewardship, blame, grief, freedom, forgiveness, and the transformative journey of coming-of-age
Activities and Writing Assignments: Complete a series of activities and writing assignments that takes your studies beyond the pages of the novel. Immerse yourself in the historical landscape of the Great Depression, map the geographical terrain, engage in class discussions, contribute to a service project, explore the world of farming through art, and express your thoughts and emotions through poetry and writing.
Suggestions for Further Reading: Discover a world of captivating narratives that echo the spirit of, Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse.

All of Progeny Press' language arts PDF download unit lessons are written from a Christian worldview!

Features and Benefits of a Progeny Press ELA PDF study guide

Digital PDF Download

  • PDF files are available to download with no shipping costs
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  • PDf files open in the FREE Adobe Reader program.
    Note: Mobile devices may require an alternative app that supports and saves fillable form fields and interactive features.
  • Conveniently print what you need, when you need it:
    • Print the whole ELA study guide at once
    • Print single literature lessons or pages as the student completes them
    • Print multiple copies of the entire curriculum study guide for classroom sets
  • Upgraded, fillable form fields allow the student the opportunity to complete their work on the computer, saving you printing costs
  • PDF format makes it easy to use with multiple students
  • Complete answer key PDF file included for the teacher to make grading simple!

Formatted with your Middle School grade student in mind, Progeny Press language arts study guides divide the book into writing assignments and lessons that strengthen their reading comprehension, vocabulary, and refine their critical analysis and writing skills. Each Progeny Press novel study accomplishes all of this without busy work that can drain the fun out of reading and literature! Kids have loved using Progeny Press ELA curriculum in homeschool, co-ops, and private schools around the world for over 30 years!

Book Awards:
Newbery Award Winner 1998 • Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction • ALA Notable Children's Book • ALA Best Book for Young Adults.

Extra Information

Progeny Press

Warranty Information

Available to download for 1 year from date of purchase. Once downloaded, back the file up onto a Recordable CD or USB drive for safekeeping. Progeny Press retains the right to refuse replacement of lost or damaged products and/or files.