The Real Pocahontas - Teacher Created Materials

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The Real Pocahontas - Teacher Created Materials

3

The Real Pocahontas

Social Studies Monitor Comprehension / Infer Meaning

To the Editor:

I am writing about your recent article

about Pocahontas. Like most of the movies,

books, and articles on the subject, yours

had many mistakes.

Yes, you got some of the facts right.

She was born in what is now Virginia. She

was born around 1595. Her father was a

powerful chief named Wahunsonacock.

Settlers later named him Powhatan. He led

a group of tribes also called the Powhatan.

Pocahontas was about 12 when the English

settlers landed in Jamestown in 1607. Their

leader was named John Smith.

However, there was much you did not

get right. Let’s start with her real name. It

was not Pocahontas. Her real name was

Matoaka. Pocahontas means “playful.” It

was a nickname given to her as a girl.

In your article you repeat the same old

story in which Pocahontas saves the life of

John Smith. In that story, Smith is about to

be killed by Powhatan. Then Pocahontas

runs in and begs for his life. John Smith

probably made up this story. He didn’t tell

it to anyone until 17 years later and only

after Pocahontas had died.

In your article you did not say that

Pocahontas, or Matoaka, was kidnapped by

the English settlers. This happened in 1613.

Pocahontas never returned to her family.

Later she changed her name to Rebecca

and married an Englishman named John

Rolfe. She then took the name of Rebecca

Rolfe.

John Rolfe took Pocahontas and their

son Thomas to England in 1616. The

Virginia Colony used her to try to attract

new settlers to Jamestown. She died in

England in 1617. Since her death, she has

been used over and over as a symbol of a

“friendly” Native American. Like so much

of the history of Europeans and Indians,

the truth is not so simple.

–John Garcia

National Portrait Gallery

n

3

10773 (i1965) Exploring Nonfiction • Second Edition—Level 3 © TIME For Kids


3

Comprehension

Connection

Before Reading

1. How can you tell that this is a letter?

2. What kind of letter is it—personal,

business, or a letter to a newspaper?

How do you know?

3. Who was Pocahontas? What do you

know about her?

During Reading

1. What was Pocahontas’s real name?

Why was she given the nickname

Pocahontas?

2. How do you suppose the letter writer

knew that the story of Pocahontas was

not told until long after Pocahontas had

died?

3. Where did Pocahontas marry John

Rolfe? How do you know?

After Reading

1. Why do you think the real story of

Pocahontas is not as well known as the

untrue one?

2. Why do you think John Garcia wrote

this letter to the editor?

3. Has your understanding about

Pocahontas changed after reading this

letter? If so, in what way? If not, do

you agree that the letter writer knew

what he was talking about? Why?

Skill Focus

Letting Others’ Ideas Sharpen Your Own

One of the most popular parts of a newspaper is the editorial

page. Editorial pages have several features. They usually

include one or more editorials. An editorial is an essay about an

issue by an expert or by someone who works for the newspaper.

They also have letters to the editor. These are usually written

by readers who want to share their opinions about a topic.

People read the editorial page because they are interested in

reading about different ideas and deciding whether they agree or

disagree.

Do you have any opinions? Opinions are your ideas. They

are not facts, so they cannot be proved right or wrong. But they

should be based on facts. And the ideas and facts should be

written in a way that makes sense.

Look at John Garcia’s letter. He is telling his thoughts

about other things he has read in the newspaper. He shows that

his opinions are based on facts. You do not have to agree with

everything John writes. But you will probably learn something

by reading his letter. It might also help you have a better idea

about what you think. Reading others people’s ideas on the

editorial page will help you form clear opinions that make sense.

Writing Extension

Do you have an idea or opinion about something that you

would like to share with others? Write a letter to your

newspaper about it. Make your opinions clear. Be sure to

include some facts along with your opinions!

Vocabulary

1. recent

2. nickname

3. repeat

4. attract

n

10773 (i1965) Exploring Nonfiction • Second Edition—Level 3 © Teacher Created Materials Publishing


3

The Real Pocahontas

Social Studies Monitor Comprehension / Infer Meaning

3

To the Editor:

I am writing about your recent article

about Pocahontas. It had many mistakes.

Many books and movies about Pocahontas

have made many mistakes, too.

You did get some of the facts right.

Pocahontas was born in what is now

Virginia. She was born around 1595. Her

father was a powerful chief. His name was

Wahunsonacock. Settlers later named him

Powhatan. He led a group of tribes. They

were also called the Powhatan. Pocahontas

was about 12 when the English settlers

landed in Jamestown. The year was 1607.

Their leader was named John Smith.

But there was much you did not get

right. Let’s start with her real name. It

was not Pocahontas. Her real name was

Matoaka. Pocahontas means “playful.”

It was a nickname. It was given to her

as a girl.

In your article you repeat the same old

story. That story is about how Pocahontas

saves the life of John Smith. In that story,

Smith is about to be killed by Powhatan.

Then Pocahontas begs for his life. John

Smith probably made up this story. He did

not tell it to anyone until 17 years later. He

did not tell the story until after Pocahontas

had died.

In your article you did not say that

Pocahontas was kidnapped by the

English settlers. This happened in 1613.

Pocahontas never went back to her family.

Later she changed her name and married

an Englishman. His name was John Rolfe.

After Pocahontas married him, she changed

her name to Rebecca Rolfe.

John Rolfe took Pocahontas and their

son to England in 1616. The Virginia Colony

used her. They tried to get her to attract

new settlers to Jamestown. She died in

England in 1617. Since her death, she has

been used over and over as a symbol of a

“friendly” American Indians. Like so much

of the history of Europeans and Indians,

the truth is not so simple.

–John Garcia

National Portrait Gallery

l

10773 (i1965) Exploring Nonfiction • Second Edition—Level 3 © TIME For Kids


3

Comprehension

Connection

Before Reading

1. How can you tell that this is a letter?

2. What kind of letter is it—personal,

business, or a letter to a newspaper?

How do you know?

3. Who was Pocahontas? What do you

know about her?

During Reading

1. What was Pocahontas’s real name?

Why was she given the nickname

Pocahontas?

2. How do you suppose the letter writer

knew that the story of Pocahontas was

not told until long after Pocahontas had

died?

3. Where did Pocahontas marry John

Rolfe? How do you know?

After Reading

1. Why do you think the real story of

Pocahontas is not as well known as the

untrue one?

2. Why do you think John Garcia wrote

this letter to the editor?

3. Has your understanding about

Pocahontas changed after reading this

letter? If so, in what way? If not, do

you agree that the letter writer knew

what he was talking about? Why?

Skill Focus

Letting Others’ Ideas Sharpen Your Own

One of the most popular parts of a newspaper is the editorial

page. Editorial pages have several features. They usually

include one or more editorials. They are essays about an issue

by an expert or by someone who works for the newspaper. They

also have letters to the editor. They are written by readers who

have something to say. People read the editorial page because

they are interested in reading about different ideas. Also, it helps

people decide whether they agree or disagree on something.

Do you have any opinions? Opinions are your ideas. They

are not facts. They cannot be proved right or wrong. But they

should be based on facts. And the ideas and facts should be

written in a way that makes sense.

Look at John Garcia’s letter on the other side of this card.

He is telling his thoughts about other things he has read in the

newspaper. He shows that his opinions are based on facts. You

do not have to agree with everything he writes. But you will

probably learn something by reading his letter. Also, it will help

you have a better idea about what you think. Reading other

people’s ideas will help you form clear opinions.

Writing Extension

Do you have an idea that you would like to share with

others? Write a short letter to your teacher about it. Make

your ideas clear. Be sure to include some facts along with

your opinions!

Vocabulary

1. recent

2. nickname

3. repeat

4. attract

l

10773 (i1965) Exploring Nonfiction • Second Edition—Level 3 © Teacher Created Materials Publishing

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