Writing a Paper on Laura Ingalls Wilder

Many children study the life and books of Laura Ingalls Wilder at school. We often receive requests for information from students who have been assigned to write a paper about Laura, her life or her books, and just don't really know where to start. This page was designed to give those of you with this problem that place to start.

Because every assignment will be different, we cannot tell you exactly how to write your paper. You must write your paper the way your teacher tells you to. But we can give you some hints and some ideas, which hopefully will help you write a good report.

Step 1: What do I need to know?

Before you begin writing, you must think of a topic -- a focus or theme for your paper. Your teacher may assign a topic to you, or you may be free to select your own. Below are a number of ideas for topics related to Laura Ingalls Wilder. You may choose one of these topics, or think of your own.

1. A brief summary of Laura's life
2. The family values or morals in Laura's books
3. How Laura's books can be used to teach children
4. The Westward Expansion movement in relation to Laura's life
5. Native Americans in Laura's books
6. Pioneer lifestyles as discussed in Laura's books
7. How Laura wrote her books
8. How Laura relates to her family
9. How Laura relates to her friends
10. How Laura relates to her enemies (i.e. Nellie Oleson)
11. Schools in the Late 1800s
12. Churches in the Late 1800s
13. Courtship in the Late 1800s
14. What it was Like to Live Through a Blizzard
15. The Formation of Towns
16. The Building of Railroads
17. Farming
18. Entertainment on the Frontier
19. Why the Little House Books are Special to me

Step 2: Gathering Your Information

Once you have decided on a topic, you need to find information to support your topic. An excellent source of information is the World Wide Web. The Laura Ingalls Wilder, Frontier Girl, page can provide you with information about Laura's life and books. You may wish to just browse through the pages to see what you can learn, or if you have a specific person, place, or item that you wish to learn more about, look for it on our Laura Ingalls Wilder, Frontier Girl, Index Page.

For further information which cannot be found within these pages, you may find other useful sites on the World Wide Web. Go to a search tool, such as Yahoo or Google. Type in important words related to your topic and search for pages that may help you.

The Internet contains a lot of information, but it isn't the only place you should look. A nearby library should be your next stop. Most libraries have their card catalogs on computer now, so you need only type in your subject (for example, Laura Ingalls Wilder), and a list of books relating to that subject will come up on your screen. If you need help finding anything, ask your librarian. Many books have been written about Laura Ingalls Wilder, and about related subjects, such as those mentioned in the topic list above.

Finally, if you have looked on the internet and at the library for information, you have written or thought out your paper, and you still have specific questions about something relating to Laura Ingalls Wilder, you may email me with your questions. I get many letters concerning these pages, so please make these questions very specific, as I cannot answer questions like, "Tell me everything you know about Laura", and please check using the index to make sure the answer to your question is not on these pages already.

Step 3: Writing Your Paper

Now that you have chosen your topic and found information about it, you can begin writing your paper. Remember to tell what your topic is at the beginning of the paper, and make sure everything you write about in your paper is about your topic. Your teacher will tell you everything else you need to know about writing the paper. Good luck!

Step 4: Documenting Your Sources

Often, your teacher will require you to list all the places where you found infomation which you used in your paper on a bibliography or "Works Cited" page. Follow his or her instructions for documenting all books, magazines, articles, webpages, etc. If you used information from the Laura Ingalls Wilder, Frontier Girl website and do not know how to list it in your bibliography, use the following format:

Greetham, P., and Brammer, R. Laura Ingalls Wilder, Frontier Girl. [web page] 1997 Jan; http://www.liwfrontiergirl.com. [Accessed (enter today's date here)]

Laura Ingalls Wilder, Frontier Girl

Copyright © 1996 - 2008
Rebecca Brammer & Phil Greetham
Do not use without permission.