Sally Ride: A Photobiography of America’s Pioneering Woman in Space by Tam O’Shaughnessy


Written by Tam O’Shaughnessy

(2015) New York, New York

Roaring Brook Press


Phrases to describe this book: photobiography, nonfiction, women in history, space exploration, great pictures

ATOS Book Level: 6.1

Lexile Measure: 870L

Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.

Suggested Delivery: Small group read

Reading Strategies:

Before Reading: Ask students to generate a list of famous astronauts they know of. See if there are any females on their list of astronauts. See if anyone can think of any females who are or were in the space program. Then show students the video about Sally Ride from the ‘Additional Resources’ section to help prepare them to read the book.

During Reading: For each chapter, have students fill out a sticky notes on the main important parts of the chapter. There is a lot of information and pictures to process in the book, so this strategy can help students to focus and comprehend the information.

After Reading: After reading the story, have small groups discuss the impact that Sally Ride made on American history. What would the space program been like if she had not pursued her dreams? What impact did she have on the LGBTQ community? Invite students to generate more discussion questions. Have students use their post-it notes from the ‘during reading’ activity to decide on the most important parts of her life and her overall impacts.

Writing Activity: Have students create a portfolio about Sally Ride’s accomplishments. Include notes from their reading, as well as a section about her impact on society. They can include pictures or drawings of Sally Ride as well.

Additional Resources:

Located here is an article from about Sally Ride and Tam O’Shaughnessy’s motivation for writing about her life, as well as the process of writing.

Check out this video that shows footage from Sally Ride’s space launch as well as an interview with her. This is a great way to build schema!

Key Vocabulary:

  • Atom- the smallest component of an element having the chemical properties of the element
  • Crater-  the cup-shaped depression or cavity on the surface of the earth or other planet
  • Formula- any fixed conventional method for doing something
  • Replica- any close or exact copy or reproduction
  • Sabbatical- an extended period of leave from one’s customary work
  • Seldom- rarely, not often
  • Tangent- immediate physical contact, touching
  • Wit- speech or writing showing perception and expression

(All definitions obtained/modified from


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