Study Guide

The Witch of Blackbird Pond Education

By Elizabeth George Speare


In The Witch of Blackbird Pond, education can mean different things to different people. For Kit Tyler, it’s reading Shakespeare in her grandfather’s library. For John Holbrook, it’s burning the midnight oil over a dusty volume of Latin. For Prudence Cruff, it’s learning the alphabet under a willow tree with Kit by her side. Whatever form education takes, what we learn in this novel is how truly crucial education is. Kit takes Prudence under her wing in an effort to educate the young girl. It is Prudence’s newly-learned reading and writing skills that will, in the end, clear Kit’s name and save her life.

Questions About Education

  1. Why is John Holbrook surprised that Kit can read?
  2. Why is Kit fired from the dame school? Do you think she's a good teacher?
  3. Should education be fun? Is there a benefit to learning things that aren't fun and exciting?
  4. What play do both Kit and Nat mutually enjoy? Why do they like this play?
  5. What is Prudence’s father’s attitude when he finds out his daughter can read?
  6. How were attitudes toward education in early America different than today?

Chew on This

In the novel, lack of education and intolerance are related.

The books shows that in early America, education was as important to leading a happy, successful life as it is today.