• The American West

    Media Center Resources


    Duncan, D. (1996). Peoples of the west. Boston, MA, Little, Brown & Co.

    Call Tag: 920 DUN

    Lexile ~800

    Tells the stories of fifteen men and women whose individual experiences provide a representative picture of life during the formative years of the American West.


    Hermes, P. (2001). Westward to home. New York, Scholastic.

    Call Tag: F HEM

    Lexile 540

    In 1848, nine-year-old Joshua Martin McCullough writes a journal of his family's journey from Missouri to Oregon in a covered wagon. Includes a historical note about westward migration.


    Hicks, P. (2002). You wouldn’t want to live in a wild west town!: Dust you’d rather not settle. New

     York: F. Watts.

    Call Tag: 978 HIC

    Lexile  ~770

    Looks through the eyes of the fictional marshal of an imaginary town called Dustville to show what life was like on the Great Plains just after the Civil War.


    MacBride, R. L., Ed. (1976).  West from home: Letters of Laura Ingles Wilder to Almonzo Wilder;

     San Francisco, 1915. New York: Harper & Row.

    Call Tag: B WIL

    Lexile ~850

    A selection of letters by Laura Ingalls Wilder to her husband in which she describes the highlights of her visit to the west coast in 1915.


    Markel, R. J. (2004). Your travel guide to America’s old west. Minneapolis, MN : Lerner

     Publications Co.

    Call Tag: 917 MAR

    Lexile ~900

    Takes readers on a journey back in time in order to experience life in the American West in the 1800s, describing clothing, accommodations, foods, local customs, transportation, a few notable personalities, and more.


    McGowen, T. (1998). African-Americans in the old west. New York: Children's’ Press.

    Call Tag: 978 MCG

    Lexile 860

    Describes the important role of freed slaves and other African-Americans in the settlement of the West.

    Miller, B. M. (1995). Buffalo gals: Women of the old west. Minneapolis, MN : Lerner Publications.

    Call Tag: 978 MI

    Lexile 1110

    Text and photographs tell the story of pioneer women: schoolmarms, ranchers, shopkeepers, doctors, mail-order brides, as well as, Native American women.


    Murphy, J. (1998). West to a land of plenty. New York: Scholastic.

    Call Tag: F MUR

    Lexile 1070

    While traveling in 1883 with her Italian-American family (including a meddlesome little sister) and other immigrant pioneers to a utopian community in Idaho, fourteen-year-old Teresa keeps a diary of her experiences along the way.


    Randolph, R. R. (2003). Following the great herds: The Plains Indians and the American buffalo.

      New York: PowerKids Press.

    Call Tag: 639 RA

    Details the effects of westward expansion on the Plains Indian Nations who followed the seasonal migrations of buffalo herds.


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    United States history. (2017). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from  


    Click on “Growth of a Nation”

    Article Level 1 is Lexile 1000

    Article Level 2 is Lexile 1030


    Manifest Destiny. (2017). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://school.eb.com.proxygsu-sric.galileo.usg.edu/levels/elementary/article/Manifest-Destiny/353420

    Article Level 1 is Lexile 1210

    Article Level 2 is Lexile 1700

    Discovery Education

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    Colman Communications, 2017. Wagon Train. [Full Video]. Available from http://www.discoveryeducation.com

    Join talking dog Mr. Beanbody and his friends as they learn about the long journeys taken by pioneers in the United States in the middle of the 1800s. Pioneers traveled in groups of covered wagons as they journeyed over 2,000 miles to begin new lives in the western part of the country. The program provides information on the supplies required for the long voyage and what daily life was like for the wagon train. Details are also provided about hazardous river and mountain crossings. The program concludes with a video quiz.

    Includes a teacher’s guide.

    Total Running Time: 17.32

    Includes 4 video segments:

    The Journey West  3:40

    Daily Life and Supplies 4:50

    Forts and Mountain Crossing 4:31

    Conclusion and Quiz 3:08

    100% Educational Videos, 2001. The Expedition of Lewis and Clark: 1804-1806. [Full Video]. Available from http://www.discoveryeducation.com

    Witness Lewis and Clark's exploration of the West, complete with diary excerpts, encounters with Native Americans, the beautiful and threatening landscape, and a summary of their objectives and accomplishments.

    Includes a Teacher’s Guide

    Total Run Time 16:00

    Includes 10 video segments

    Introduction: The Expedition of Lewis and Clark 1:23

    The West 1:11

    Meriwether Lewis 1:38

    Expectations 1:28

    Along the Route 1:00

    Sacagawea and Nez Perce 1:40

    Supplies 1:49

    Staying the Winter 1:32

    The Journey Home :40

    Back at Home 1:05


    100% Educational Videos, 1998. The Oregon Trail. [Full Video]. Available from http://www.discoveryeducation.com

    Discover why thousands of Americans left their homes in the East to endure months of hardship to settle in the West. Learn about the special challenges of the trip, as well as the day-to-day routine, via re-enactments of the entire trip on the wagon train between Missouri and the West Coast.

    Includes a Teacher’s Guide

    Total Running Time 16:00

    Includes 8 video segments

    The Story Begins 1:08

    Manifest Destiny 1:12

    Reasons to Head West 1:23

    Getting There 2:24

    Life on the Trail 3:16