Library Lesson – Tall Tales – John Henry


This two-part Library Lesson reviews the characteristics of tall tales and tells the story of John Henry. Also includes trivia questions on a scavenger hunt page (for coloring!). All text is editable in PPT and Google Slides.


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See all my Tall Tales Lessons for Grades 2-4 here.

My Digital Library Lessons will save you so much time! I design them specifically for new elementary librarians, especially those who are on the Specials rotation and/or are simply busy parents who just do not have time to create detailed storytime lessons.


  • Recommended for: Grades 2-4; created for school libraries, but it definitely works for classrooms, too!
  • Lesson Duration: 1-2 library lessons, total of about 50 minutes
  • Formats: PPT or Google Slides, PDF
  • Editable: YES, all text is editable

***Please note that this presentation is designed to complement a read-aloud. The actual read-aloud story comes from you! I cannot include a recorded read-aloud due to copyright restrictions.


  • 32-slide PPT and Google Slides presentation (editable)
  • List of recommended John Henry books (1 page PDF, editable)
  • Scavenger Hunt + Answer Key (2 pages PDF)
  • Prep, set up, detailed lesson plan (7 pages, PDF)
  • Google™ Classroom Basics (4 pages, PDF)
  • Instructions on how to set up PPT slide timings for digital bulletin boards (2 pages, PDF)


  • 16 slides set up your John Henry read-aloud. This section reviews tall tale characteristics and tells the entire story of John Henry.
  • Remember! The read-aloud is not provided in this lesson. I cannot do this due to copyright restrictions. For this one, you can read a separate read-aloud if you want to, but the entire story of John Henry is covered in the presentation.


  • 11 slides can be moved into the Part I Whole Class Lesson or scrolled during checkout or library activities
  • includes facts about John Henry and the conflict between people and technology (with real-life examples of this conflict)
  • explains the job of a steel-driver
  • facts about the Transcontinental Railroad and the dangers workers faced
  • vocabulary word: ballad
  • library term: card catalog
  • Includes mix of colorful clipart and real photos of John Henry, a statue of John Henry, a map of the railroad, weather conditions, drilling machines, and trains


  • Scavenger Hunt coloring page with John Henry trivia questions (all information available in the presentation)
  • Answer Key for the Scavenger Hunt trivia questions
  • Recommended Reads for John Henry stories and read-alikes (editable)



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