Teaching Civics with Children’s Literature: Arthur Meets the President

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Arthur, one of children’s most beloved characters, is back in this delightful story Arthur Meets the President by Marc Brown. Filled with humorous misadventures, this story is perfect for introducing civics and public speaking into an elementary school classroom. Students will follow a nervous Arthur along with his family and friends to the White House to make a speech to the President of the United States.

“The President of the United States has written to announce the winner of the ‘How I Can Help make America Great Contest’. And the winner is our very own Arthur!”

After winning a writing contest for his heartfelt ideas about improving the community, Arthur and his class set off to Washington, D.C. to meet the President. While touring some of Washinton’s most famous landmarks, Arthur begins to get increasingly nervous about his important speech. Through the help of his little sister D.W.’s silly antics, Arthur overcomes his fear of public speaking and delivers his speech to the President without a hitch.

Curriculum Connections

Along with a positive and uplifting plot, this story is a great addition to the classroom and can be used in many ways to make civics relateable to young children. For students in Kindergarten and First grade, this book can be a great resource when introducing the President and his importance to the United States. For First and Second grade students this book is great for discussing the responsibilities of a good citizen; obeying the law, helping out with others, doing well in school, and introducing some famous patriotic landmarks such as the Jefferson Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Capitol Building, the Museum of Natural History, and the White House.  This book also includes strategies for public speaking, such as making notecards, which can be used in any classroom.

This wonderful book can be used in many ways but relates directly to the Virginia Standards of Learning for Civics- K.8, K.9, 1.10, 1.11, and 2.10.

Additional Resources

  • KOL Jr.- Arthur Meets the President- An interactive storybook which reads the whole story aloud with the pictures and focuses on important words.
  • White House 101- Facts and Fun for All Ages- This site, designed for children, includes links to information about our nation’s president and a section for teachers with lesson plans and activities.
  • PBS kids- the homepage for Arthur and his family and friends. Includes book clips, games, and interactive activities.
  • Get to know our President with this coloring page- Barack Obama.

General Information