Daily Video

December 1, 2020

Dolly Parton: “A force in American life”


Directions: Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions. To read a transcript of the video, click here

Summary: Dolly Parton’s donation of one million dollars to Vanderbilt’s coronavirus research contributed to a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine that has looked promising in trials and may be ready for public use by the end of 2020. On top of an extremely successful music career, she has a new book and a Christmas musical. 

  • Parton’s charity organization, Imagination Library, which gives free books to children, will donate their 150 millionth book next month. She said her passion for this organization comes from watching the emotional toll illiteracy took on her father. 
  • When the pandemic arrived, Parton said she had the ability to do something about it, so she did. She urges to wear a mask, and to focus on being “human beings” amidst political turmoil.
  • In regards to the Black Lives Matter Movement, Parton said “We’re all God’s children. We all have a place in this world. We all need to be loved and respected.”


Warm up questions: Have your students identify the 5Ws and an H:

  • Who is this story about?
  • What are some of her accomplishments?
  • Where did she donate money for pandemic research?
  • Why does she feel a responsibility to help others?
  • When can we expect a milestone in Imagination Library?
  • How has the artist used her prominence to help others?

Then have students share with the class or through a Learning Management System (LMS).

Focus questions:

  1. How can artists contribute to society beyond their art?
  2. What is something creative, like songwriting to Parton, that helps you cope with different aspects of life?

Media literacy: The video paints Dolly Parton and her charity, beliefs and work as very positive. Do you think it’s the news’ responsibility to show the many sides of a person, or not necessarily?

Additional resources:

  • Use this lesson about how the music industry is working to save itself during the pandemic.
  • Check out this lesson plan on using art to support criminal justice reform.

Daily News Story by Rebecca Shaid, EXTRA’s intern and student at Northwestern University.

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