Steinbeck Club

Get Them Out of Their Seats
General Activity
Grades 6–12
Language Arts, History
Lunch Time/After-School Drop-in, Reading/Discussion, Small Group, Club


  • Students will enjoy Steinbeck’s short stories from his collection, The Long Valley.
  • Students will complement their knowledge of Steinbeck’s literature in an optional, no-pressure setting.
  • Students will engage in lively discussions with other students and the teacher.


This is a fun way for students who love Steinbeck to learn more about him and his works in a casual, drop-in weekly lunchtime (bag lunch/potluck) or after-school setting The short stories from The Long Valley work well for the club, as each can be easily read in a week and discussed at the next club meeting. The keys here are a no pressure environment, good food, and lively and casual discussions!

Materials Needed/Preparation

  • Copies of The Long Valley (used versions sold on are inexpensive).
  • Each student needs to read the assigned story before the next weekly club meeting.

Estimated Time

Each story should be read before the next club meeting (one week or a time determined by the teacher).


  • Each club meeting is drop-in and casual. The teacher may start the discussion of the assigned short story, or he or she may ask the students (depending on the level of the club members) to open up a discussion. Since the Steinbeck Club is not a class, the format is not rigid.
  • Students and the teacher will have a free-form discussion of that particular day’s story.
  • The teacher will then assign the next story to be read by the next club meeting. (The stories can be read in any order, but reading them in consecutive order is usually most comfortable for students.)


Again, because this is an optional club, the only requirements are to read each story by the next club meeting. After finishing The Long Valley, teachers may wish to ask students which story was their favorite and why.


No formal assessment is required for an optional club.

Common Core State Standards Met

  • Reading Standards for Literature 6-12
  • ~Key Ideas and Details: 1,2,3
  • ~Craft and Structure: 4,5,6
  • ~Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: 9
  • ~Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity: 10
  • Speaking and Listening Standards 6-12
  • ~Comprehension and Collaboration: 1
  • Reading Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies 6-12
  • ~Key Ideas and Details: 1,2
  • ~Craft and Structure: 4,5,6

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