The Secret Garden

by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Readability: ages 10 and up – can be read aloud to 7 year olds and up a few pages at a time

A few themes: friendship, outcasts, growing up

A few uses: Teaching: classic novels, growing gardens, life in the early 1900’s, colonialism…

If you want to read a classic novel to your class, this is the one. The Secret Garden has everything a good read has, mystery; suspense, humor, and a happy ending. It also is a novel that has endless possibilities for journal activities since it covers themes such as friendship, outcasts, and growing up. Even though it was written 87 years ago, it’s message still can ring loudly in today’s children.


  1. Ask students to record the words that Burnett used to describe Mary Lennox while you read aloud The Secret Garden.
  2. When you get about half way, ask your students to continue recording the descriptive words, but on another piece of paper.
  3. When finished the book, get your students to draw two pictures, one of how Mary Lennox looked at the beginning of the book , and another of how she looked at the end of the book.
  4. Around these pictures ask students to transfer their descriptive words to the appropriate picture.

Additional uses: Use it for teaching units on classics, growing gardens, life in the early 1900’s, or colonialism.