Tree of heaven

Image From Flickr licensed under CC BY 2.0

ELA | MIDDLE SCHOOL

‘A Tree Grows In Brooklyn’ Based on Author’s Experiences

“A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” has been an American classic for 75 years. This novel centers around a poor young Irish girl and her family struggling to make it in Brooklyn. It’s loosely based on the author’s experiences growing up in New York. Listen to find out what middle schoolers think of this celebrated novel and what the author changed when she turned her real life into fiction.

Language Challenge

Tweet Share on Facebook

Want to Listen?

TEACHERS: Access our daily current events podcasts for free!


To access our podcast library for ELA, Social Studies, and Science including all of our Premium features, choose the free Premium Trial (no credit card required!) option when you join.

Already a Member? Login Now

Story Length: 6:39

Listen to the Story:

Listening Comprehension Questions

  • In what ways did Andrew Carnegie’s libraries serve their communities?
  • How did Carnegie benefit from a library when he was growing up?
  • Which personality traits helped propel Carnegie from poverty to riches? Bring specific details from the story to support your ideas.
  • According to Carnegie, what should rich people do with their money and why? Why was Carnegie known as both generous and “brutal”?

Discussion Themes

  • In your opinion, what should really rich people do with their fortunes?
  • What does it take for a person to rise from “rags to riches”?

Socrative users can import these questions using the following code: SOC-1234

Listening Organizers

  • Fact, Question, Response

  • Language Identification Organizer

  • Deeper Meaning Chart