Valuable Benefits from Reading Classic Literature in your Homeschool

LCP Ep 9: Valuable Benefits from Reading Classic Literature in your Homeschool

 

Stack of classic books for valuable benefits from reading classic books in your homeschool podcast #homeschool #homeschooling #languagearts #classicbooks #classicliterature #literaturestudy #literarystudy #highschoolliterature #highschoolliterarystudy #middleschoolliterature #middleschoolliterarystudy #homeschoolhighschool #homeschoolmiddleschool #literarycafepodcast #homeschoolpodcast

 

Do you cringe when you think about “classic literature”?

Are you intimidated by the thought of tackling challenging vocabulary or complex sentences that seem to go on and on?

Visit Katie’s website for more fun ideas and tips to use in your homeschool at Katie’s Homeschool Cottage  or her Facebook Group.

Join Katie Glennon as she shares important benefits from reading classic literature, starting with easier books and working your way (and their way) up and through more challenging works as they progress through middle and high school.

There are so many academic and personal benefits that you most likely have not considered in reading classic books, but make the effort extremely worthwhile. They range from the very practical like expanding vocabulary to developing your child’s understanding of themselves, their world, and their individual viewpoints and worldviews.

Show Notes

 

Here is a summarized list of the benefits from the podcast. Please listen to the podcast for details and examples about these benefits.

When I use the term “classic literature”, I am not referring to the ancient literature of Socrates or Sophocles or Oedipus Rex. I am discussing books that have withstood the test of time and have earned a valuable place in our culture and on our bookshelves based on their theme and content or their rich use of language to express ideas.

I have compiled lists of suggested book titles for middle and high school for your reference when considering what books to include in your literature study.

Suggested Middle School Reading List

Suggested High School Classic Literature Book List

Important Benefits from including Classic Books in your Homeschool Literature Study

Learn to Appreciate the Written Word as a Piece of Art

When reading quality literature, we can envision a picture in our minds the scene the author is expressing through the written word. Through vivid descriptions, imagery, literary devices and other writing techniques, we are brought into the world or story that the author is describing. We can hear, feel, or see what the characters experience. We absorb the mood and get to know the characters through their dialogue.

Writing is a craft on paper, much like that expressed by artists with paint on a canvas. What we are reading has so much more meaning and we appreciate and enjoy it more when we can understand the techniques that a writer has used to transport us into another world for the moment.

Learn to Understand and also Absorb Complex and More Interesting Sentence Structure

Classic books, especially as you enter high school level literature, contains more complex and sophisticated sentence structure. If we start exposing our children to easier to understand classic books in middle school, they become accustomed to the longer and more complex sentences and how to tackle them when reading. When they enter high school, it will be less daunting to read some of the more challenging works because of the practice they have already gained.

Our children will also start to speak and write in more interesting sentences, because they actually start to absorb this way of expressing themselves. It comes naturally.

Enrich and Expand Vocabulary

When your children are regularly exposed to a more challenging vocabulary increments at a time, your children will become adept at using the sentence around the word to decipher the meaning of the word in its context. This is a very important and practical skill. They also more easily learn and retain the meaning of the word in the context of the sentence and the story, as opposed to weekly vocabulary lists that are not attached to a memorable story.

These words will then appear more naturally in their speech and their own writing.

Practice Identifying and Analyzing Worldview

In this day, it is important that we help our children identify worldviews that exist today and appear in the written and spoken word as it is presented in books, social media, television, and movies. We need to share with them our family viewpoints, morals, values, and our personal worldviews. Through this filter, we can then identify worldviews in speech and written word we come across or study with our children. It’s important to compare the viewpoints presented by others to our own personal worldviews and determine if they fit with our own and accept them or reject them.

It is through this study and discussion that our children develop their own views and are prepared to enter the world ready to stand by their own beliefs or be swayed and habitually change their viewpoints depending on their surroundings.

Classic literature with its content, themes, and viewpoints is a wonderful resource for this practice and discussion. Wordviews have been presented and have changed throughout literary time periods through history. (In the podcast, we have discussed this with more detail.)

Looking at Literature as a Reflection of History and Society

Because writers do not write in a vacuum and live during different time periods in history and changes in society, their writing will reflect their surrounding events and societal views and their own experiences. When we read classic books, we get a front row seat to events and feelings and beliefs of that time period of that author or of the story.

We can see why and how we are today because of the progression of ideas, events, and beliefs that have come before the present we are experiencing.

Looking at Literature as an Influence on History and Society

Writers not only write about events and beliefs around them to reflect what is happening, but also to influence those events and beliefs to bring about a change. Examples would be Thomas Paine’s Common Sense or Harriett Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Both were written to influence society and instigate change.

The written and spoken word can be powerful tools. Learning to identify pursuasive rhetoric helps our children learn to use these tools effectively and be able to discern when this rhetoric is being used to persuade them to adopt an idea or a belief.

Develop and Practice using Higher Order Thinking Skills

When interpreting and analyzing literature for its worldview and meaning and tying in our own views and experiences, we have the perfect opportunity to practice higher order thinking skills. From comprehending what we are reading to synthesizing what we have read to meld those ideas with our own, there are different kinds and levels of thinking skills that are naturally incorporated in reading and discussing a classic book.

 

Identify and Explore Universal Themes found in Literature and in Life

Classic books are a great opportunity to look at the theme presented in the story and compare it to life and our own personal experiences. These themes might be jealously, greed, grief, love, pride, revenge, or good versus evil. When we read about and explore a theme of a story, we have the opportunity to look at the consequences of actions of the characters and learn lessons from their experiences.

We can compare our own thoughts and feelings from our own experiences and examine them and learn from them. We begin to understand these “universal life truths and human experiences”.

This leads to our next benefit.

Understand and Develop Empathy and Sympathy for Others

A scientific study examined children when they read fiction versus non-fiction and they found children learned something when they read fiction. From reading about different characters and their experiences and being able to see and be a part of the characters’ thoughts and feelings in reaction to those experiences, the children in the study developed an understanding and empathy for those characters.

They were able to learn to take what they learned from those characters and those experiences and transfer an empathy to other people who were feeling a certain way because of the discussions about those characters and comparing their experiences to their own experiences. The children were able to project what they would do and how they would feel and act toward others in different circumstances that demonstrated an understanding of the feelings and motivations of other people. Practicing this with characters in literature helped them to develop this skill.

So you can see that studying classic books does not have to be a dreaded experience of convoluted sentences and long and difficult words and thoughts. It can be a wonderful practical experience to acquire not only academic skills that will help them in college, but important life skills to bring them into adulthood.

Be sure to comment in the Comments box any ideas you’d like to share about how your family has studied any classic books! Any great book titles or authors to suggest? I would love to hear from you!

 

Thanks for visiting! Come back and visit the Literary Cafe Podcast for January’s topic when we discuss essential writing skills in the upper grades! You will definitely want to catch this episode to make sure you are preparing your children for college and life with their writing.

Make sure you download our podcast at iTunes or subscribe to the Literary Cafe Podcast by clicking on the Android or RSS feed buttons below the recording on this page! And make sure you share this page with other homeschoolers with middle and high school aged children!

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Top 5 Reasons to include Literature Study in your Homeschool

After teaching literature and writing in many settings for many years, I have concluded there are five important reasons to include literature study in your homeschool for your middle and high school students. #homeschool #curriculumAfter teaching literature and writing in many settings for many years, I have concluded there are five important reasons to include literature study in your homeschool for your middle and high school students. Some benefits are academic while others are more in the personal and character development realm. But, I feel that all of them contribute to a student’s understanding of themselves, their world, and their individual viewpoints. I have them listed here in no particular order because everyone will have their own priorities as to which is most important.

Practice Analyzing World Views

Literature is usually written in the worldview of the author. Occasionally, an author writes a literary piece in a different worldview from his own based on the narrator of the story or to present a different worldview for the reader’s examination and analysis.

You can usually divide worldviews into two categories, Christian and Secular/Humanist. The middle and high school years are the optimum time to have discussions about worldview and your family’s own views. From there, you can have valuable discussions centered around topics that your children encounter when reading different pieces of literature.

For example, dystopian book series have become popular recently and are an excellent opportunity to discuss the events and characters that are included in these stories. As a Christian family you will want to take advantage of the natural discussions about good vs. evil, absolute vs. relative morals, and your family’s beliefs that will arise as you read some of these books.

Older novels are also prime material for practice for your children to apply their worldview filters when reading and deciding where they stand on the issues presented in the story. Examples of these kinds of novels would be Frankenstein, 1984, Brave New World, or Fahrenheit 451. Parents will want to make sure to read these books beforehand to decide if the book is a good fit for your family and prepare themselves for a discussion.

Develop and Practice Higher Order Thinking Skills

Literature study is also a great opportunity to help your children develop and practice using higher order thinking skills. Analyzing the worldview of a novel or story is just one level or kind of thinking skill. There is a list of others from comprehension and knowledge when recalling facts and details about a story to comprehending what an author is trying to say to the reader.

Moving up the hierarchy of skills, your children can practice applying what they know from their own experiences to what they are reading in a story and compare and contrast what they are reading to their own experiences or to events in the story. From here, as they get older and have more practice in analyzing literature, they can begin to have those worldview discussions about specific moral issues in the story and debate the side of their worldview against the author’s point of view or debate both sides of an issue.

The development and the practice of these higher order thinking skills are necessary to children’s development of their own beliefs and the ability to articulate and argue those beliefs. It assists them in “knowing who they are and what they believe”, an important characteristic in self-identity and confidence. This was an important foundation in our homeschool pursuit and mission in my family. It’s paid off very well.

Practicing Empathy and Understanding Motivation of Others

There have been scientific studies that have shown that when children read and discuss the characters and events of a fictional story, they develop empathetic skills and understanding of the actions and motivations of others.

Reading a fictional story presents the reader with an opportunity to follow a character through different kinds of circumstances and watch how those circumstances affect the character and his feelings and subsequent actions. Readers develop empathy for that character as they get to know the character and are then also affected by what happens to that character. Having discussions about the characters and their feelings about certain events helps children to sort through their thoughts and own feelings.

Analyzing characters in stories and what is motivating them to act certain ways or have specific personality characteristics assists children in examining the motives of others through the practice they receive from this kind of literary analysis. This understanding can be transferred when trying to understand other people in their own daily interactions.

Literature is a Reflection of History and Society

Throughout history the spoken and written word has kept record of historical events and views held by a society during different time periods. When reading literary pieces, readers can learn about the time period in which the author lived or is writing about, as well as common viewpoints and practices of society at that time. Even a piece of fiction is a reflection of history and society of that literary time period and is of valuable consideration to understand where a society has been and where they are in the present and how they got there.

Literature from all over the world reflects societal, religious, and philosophical beliefs to shed light and an understanding on that part of the world. Sometimes, a pendulum movement can be seen from one literary time period to another in what a society believes is important at the time.

For example, literary time periods from the Puritan to the Modern times reflect a swing from a Christian worldview to a Humanist viewpoint and back again several times when looking at the topics and expressions of the authors in their written pieces. These viewpoints were affected a lot of times by what was happening in history and society around them as the authors were writing these stories.

Literature can be an Influence on History and Society

As literature can be a reflection of history and society, the opposite is true as well. Authors have used the spoken and written word to influence the events of history and the beliefs of a society.

Studying speeches and novels written by people of varying time periods will demonstrate the power of the spoken and written word when expressed effectively and the importance of those words and their connection to key historical events and societal views of the time.

Supposedly, when Abraham Lincoln met Harriet Beecher Stowe, he commented, “So you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.” This shows the influence a book such as Uncle Tom’s Cabin can have on the course of history and society and belief systems of a time period.

Even a pamphlet with the title “Common Sense” influenced history and the outcome of where we are today.

Studying literature does not have to be a mysterious and muddled discussion of symbols and hidden meanings that an author buried in a novel for us to decipher or a long list of comprehension questions.

Studying literature can be an interactive exercise and discussion in discovering ourselves, who we are and what we believe in, using the literary piece as a spring and jumping off point and vehicle for the discussion.


Literary Cafe PodcastKatie Glennon has a monthly podcast, Literary Cafe Podcast, where she discusses all things Language Arts for all ages with practical ideas, tips, and suggested resources to help you in teaching Language Arts in your homeschool. You can also find her at Katie’s Homeschool Cottage and a Facebook Group, Homeschool Language Arts Corner, where she expands on what she shares in her podcasts. With 30+ years in education and having graduated two sons, she hopes to share ideas with you that allow you to better enjoy your homeschool journey!

 

Essential Guide to Out of the Box Book Report Ideas and Literary Study

LCP Ep 8: Essential Guide to Out of the Box Book Report Ideas and Literary Study

 

Book Report and Literary Study Ideas #homeschooling #homeschool #languagearts #reading #bookreports #literaturestudy #literarystudy #elementary #middleschool #highschool #literarycafepodcast

 

Running out of ideas for what to do when your learner finishes reading a book?

Are you looking for book report ideas or ways to conduct a literary study and keep your learner interested?

Visit Katie’s website for more fun ideas and tips to use in your homeschool at Katie’s Homeschool Cottage  or her Facebook Group.

 

Join Katie Glennon as she shares tons of fun and creative out of the box Book Report and Literary Study Ideas to get even your most reluctant reader excited about reading.

You’ll be surprised and excited by the ways you can use your child’s strengths, interests, learning styles, and talents to capture their interest in reading and conducting a literary study while learning about literary devices and story elements and practicing different kinds and levels of thinking skills at the same time.

Show Notes

 

I usually present to my students and my own children different choices of activities after reading a book where I want them to do some of kind of literary analysis or learn specific skills and concepts. The activity would focus on that skill and concept, but the type of activity would be geared to the learners’ learning styles, personal interests and talents so that they will be motivated and interested.

These activities are geared toward specific skills or concepts that are included in the literary and story elements for the book, but are of a nature to make sure to capture the interest of the learner.

The ideas below are just a list of ideas that are fully explained in the Podcast and summarized with descriptions in this printable handout – Descriptions of Out of the Box Book Report and Literary Study Ideas to Motivate your Readers pdf

Book Report and Literary Study Ideas Geared toward the Visual Learner

 

Construct a mobile

Write an advice column

Character email or letter exchange

Character Facebook Page

Journal or Diary

Character Resume and Cover Letter

Character Dossier

Retell the story from a different point of view

Symbolic Time Capsule or Museum Exhibit or Suitcase or Collection

3 D Relief Map or a Diorama (For Hands-on learner as well)

Photo Album

Foldable Display Board

Drawing Projects (Book Jacket, Comic Strip, Collage, Flip Book or Trading Cards)

Mini Quilt

Charts (Timeline,  plot map, analogy chart, Literary Devices Chart, Compare and Contrast Books or Authors)

Wordle

 

Ideas for the more Auditory Learner

 

Drama (Acting as a character or author, a monologue, a speech, a dramatic reading, a mock trial, puppet show)

Write poetry, songs, or raps

Book Club (just discussions, a tea, a party centered around a book with costumes as characters, theme games and refreshments)

Audio or Video Recording (talk show interview as a character or an author)

Radio Play (Imitate an old fashioned radio show with sound effects and character voices of a scene)

Videos (News report, movie trailer, commercial, sales pitch – recording video or using animation software or creating movie with Power Point or Prezi)

 

Ideas Geared toward Hands-on Learners

 

Games(Create board game or a game to play, or scavenger hunt)

Cooking and Baking

 

Be sure to comment in the Comments box any ideas you’d like to share that your family has used in engaging your reluctant reader! Any great book titles or authors to suggest? I would love to hear from you!

 

Thanks for visiting! Come back and visit the Literary Cafe Podcast for November’s topic when we discuss why you should study the classics and the benefits! You’ll be surprised by what your learner will receive from reading these books that have withstood the test of time and why many people treasure them and read them over and over!

Make sure you download our podcast at iTunes or subscribe to the Literary Cafe Podcast by clicking on the Android or RSS feed buttons below the recording on this page!

Book Report and Literary Study Ideas #homeschooling #homeschool #languagearts #reading #bookreports #literaturestudy #literarystudy #elementary #middleschool #highschool #literarycafepodcast

 

 

LCP 08: Essential Guide to Out of the Box Book Reports and Literary Study

Ultimate List of Fun Ways to Engage your Reluctant Reader

LCP Ep 7: Ultimate List of Fun Ways to Engage your Reluctant Reader

 

Ultimate List of Fun Ways to Engage Reluctant Readers #homeschool #homeschooling #literarycafepodcast #reluctantreaders #booksforreluctantreaders #funreadingideas

Do you have a reader who is “reluctant” or has no interest in reading? Is it a battle to get them to show any interest in a book?

This is a common problem and you are not alone. I fought that battle and overcame it while teaching in the classroom and in our homeschool!

Visit Katie’s website for more fun ideas and tips to use in your homeschool at Katie’s Homeschool Cottage  or her Facebook Group.

Join Katie Glennon as she discusses fun ways to engage your learners in reading and offers suggestions of kinds of books and book titles to capture your child’s interest in a story. There are plenty of activity suggestions for all ages to get everyone in your home reading and enjoying it. Reading can be a fun, interactive experience instead of a chore.

Show Notes

Suggested Books and Activities for Reluctant Readers pdf (Printable for you to download)

Suggested Books and Activities for Reluctant Readers

Mostly For your Younger Readers

Books and Activities for Cooking

Hedgehog Bakes a Cake by Maryann Macdonald

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis (upper elementary) Turkish Delight

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien (middle and high school) Hobbit Food

The Lord of the Rings series (high school) Second Breakfast

12 Recipes Inspired by your Favorite Children’s Books

31 Recipes Inspired by Popular Children’s Books

Books to Inspire Cooking with Children

 

Books with Printable Mini Books and Manipulatives (Story Props)

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

More The Very Hungry Caterpillar printables

Make Your own Books – Gingerbread Man

Make Your own Books – ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

Make Your own Books – Little Red Riding Hood

Almost 100 Story Patterns to Use

 

Circular or Chain Stories with Predictable Patterns

Predictable Books

 

Funny Unexpected Stories

The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka

Who Pushed Humpty Dumpty? By David Levinthal

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems

There is a Bird on your Head by Mo Willems

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin

Giggle, Giggle, Quack: Duck for President by Doreen Cronin

The Hoboken Chicken Emergency by Daniel Pinkwater

Anansi Trickster Tales – Anansi and the Moss Covered Rock

 

Seasonal and Holiday Activities for Themed Books

Fun Fall Ideas with a Printable Fall Scavenger Hunt

Fun Ideas for Fall #homeschool #homeschooling #fallreading #fallactivities #literarycafepodcast #reluctantreader #readingfun #makereadingfun

Reading Incentive Programs

Pizza Hut Book It Program

Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Program

Chuck E. Cheese Rewards

Six Flags

Reading Rewards

 

Interactive Doodle or Draw Your Own Story and Pick Your Own Adventure Books

Draw It Yourself Adventures

Doodle Adventures

Choose Your Own Adventure

Choose Your Own Story– Minecraft

An Interactive History Adventure

 

Be sure to comment in the Comments box any ideas you’d like to share that your family has used in engaging your reluctant reader! Any great book titles or authors to suggest? I would love to hear from you!


Special Thanks to our Network Sponsor, Kiwi Crate!

 

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Thanks for visiting! Come back and visit the Literary Cafe Podcast for October’s topic when we discuss thinking outside the box for book reports! They don’t have to be boring! And I’ve got some fun and great ideas to share with you that you will want to try!

Make sure you download our podcast at iTunes or subscribe to the Literary Cafe Podcast by clicking on the Android or RSS feed buttons below the recording on this page!

Ultimate List of Fun Ways to Engage Reluctant Readers #homeschool #homeschooling #literarycafepodcast #reluctantreaders #booksforreluctantreaders #funreadingideas

 

 

What to Include in your Middle and High School Language Arts Study

LCP Ep 5: What to Include in your Middle and High School Language Arts Study

Join Katie with Literary Cafe Podcast to learn about what to include in your Language Arts study in your homeschool. #homeschool #homeschooling #languagearts #english #middleschool #highschool

What do you need to include during the middle school years in Language Arts to make sure your learner is ready to tackle high school work? What kind of Language Arts and English program would colleges be looking for and what can count as credit for the high school transcript?

Visit Katie’s website for more fun ideas and tips to use in your homeschool at Katie’s Homeschool Cottage  or her Facebook Group.

Join Katie Glennon as she discusses what skills and concepts you should include in your Language Arts study during the middle and high school years. Katie shares an outline with some specific areas to make sure you include them in your Language Arts study during these critical years. She will suggest and discuss curriculum resources she found useful in her homeschool when her sons were in middle and high school that work efficiently and effectively to meet English requirements and make sure your learner is prepared for the next step – moving from middle into high school or high school into college.

The Areas of Language Arts you should include in the Middle and High School Years

What-to-Include-in-your-Middle and High School Homeschool-Language-Arts-Study pdf (Printable for you to download)

Show Notes

The Areas of Language Arts you should include in the Middle and High School Years
Reading/Literature

For literature during these years, I recommend a mix of short stories, poetry, essays (non-fiction), drama, and novels. These can be found either separately or in the form of a literary anthology and additional novels to read alongside the anthology.

Along with the novels, you will want to use some kind of novel study guides (that will also assist you with suggested vocabulary words and various questions).

Suggested Homeschool Literary Resources to Assist you in your Literature Study –

Total Language Plus (novel study guide)
Progeny Press (novel study guide)
Mosdos Press Literature Anthologies

Skills and Concepts for Literature Study

There are a number of skills and concepts you will want to include in your literary study.

These skills include –

• Vocabulary – I recommend using words from your reading for your vocabulary words because it saves you time and money from using a separate vocabulary program or curriculum. Most of all, in my experience it is more effective. The words are in context of what your learner is reading and will be understood and remembered more effectively because it is part of a story they will remember. It also gives your learner the practice in figuring out what words mean using their context within a sentence.

• Comprehension and Higher Order Thinking Skill Practice

Recalling details
Comprehending and understanding what they read (being able to identify the “main idea” or “theme” of the story)
Application skills – using what they have learned from the reading to problem solve
Analysis – drawing conclusions, comparing this written work to another from the same author or another author, or comparing what they have read to a personal experience.
Evaluation – critiquing the writing, selecting an issue from the writing and debating it.
Synthesis – taking a point, idea, theme, character from your reading and creating something new from that piece.
Elements of a story – plot, conflict, setting, characters, point of view, mood, tone
Literary devices and writing techniques such as similes, metaphors, imagery, personification, onomatopoeia, hyperbole, alliteration.

• Study different Genres – forms of writing and rhetoric – speeches, drama, essays, short stories, poetry, non-fiction, and novels.

• Study different literary time periods and areas around the world.

American Literature – Native American, Pre-colonial/Puritanism, Colonial, Revolutionary (age of Enlightenment/Reason), Romanticism (includes American Gothic, Transcendentalism), Realism/Naturalism/Regionalism, Modernism, Contemporary

British – (some crossover from American) Old English/Anglo-Saxon, Middle English/Medieval, Renaissance, Puritanism, Enlightenment, Romantic (Regency), Victorian, Modern

World Literature – (Western, Eastern, Other) Can focus primarily on Ancient works from Greek Philosophers or Christian authors, or a broad cross-section of countries, authors, and time periods from around the world.

Semester Specialty Classes – Poetry, Shakespeare, Drama, Journalism, Creative Writing, Research and Composition, specific types of literature or specific authors or parts of the world.

• Worldview – Christian Worldview expressed by author and content or Secular/Humanist view.

• Author Biography and Time Period in which he/she lived or wrote about.
Literature can be a reflection of cultural, religious, societal, and historical views, beliefs, and events written from the author’s point of view or the content itself.

Literature can also be an influencer of cultural, religious, and societal beliefs from the time period and society in which it is written or the author’s point of view and intent. It can influence thinking and historical events.

Writing and Composition

I recommend using your literature study as the jumping off point for essay writing and composition. However, before you can begin with that practice, your middle schooler and early high school student has to have some basic foundation in writing skills.

Middle schoolers should master the proper format of a paragraph –

A Hook to capture the reader’s interest and a Topic Sentence
At least 3 detailed supporting sentences that gives more information directly related to the topic sentence.
A concluding sentence that brings that paragraph to a close.

By the time learners start their first year in high school, they should be working on mastering the proper 5 Paragraph Essay (in this case an informative essay).

I recommend having your learner pick a topic they could talk to you about off the top of his/her head for 15 minutes without really having to think much about it. This topic lends itself to writing this kind of essay and the learner can concentrate on the format of the paper instead of what to write.

Proper 5 Paragraph (Informative) Essay
A Hook and topic (thesis) sentence with an introductory paragraph that include mentioned the three subtopics (or details about the main topic) that you will be discussing in the paper.
3 Body – detailed, supporting paragraphs in the order in which they were mentioned in the introductory paragraph. – Include transition words and sentence variation.
Concluding paragraph which includes a rewording of the topic sentence with a mention of the 3 subtopics and a Clincher sentence (could be a big statement, last thought, question, or a call to action).

Then you are ready to use your literary pieces as a basis of other essays –
Persuasive essay
Analytical essay
Research (and/or MLA, APA, Chicago format) essay
Persuasive essay with citations
Compare and Contrast essay itself to college application essays)
Literary Criticism

 

Here is a bundle of notebooking pages that we used for our written narration that I mentioned in the podcast to develop our writing skills before we wrote formal essays of different forms. There is a set for different subject areas that we used to either make our own books or put into a 3 ring binder to put together a notebook of our writing and what we learned in that subject that year.

Make Your Own ABC Book Notebooking Pages Bundle Set

Grammar

Use your learner’s writing to assess what skills they need to review and practice each week.

Other review and practice for grammar skills can be found with these resources –

Rod and Staff – (books go up to 8th grade, but the concepts and skills are up through high school work.) These books use diagramming and are very well explained. If you have a learner that loves following and making lists of steps and learns best this way, you might want to try diagramming. However, if it is frustrating or challenging for you or your learner to understand the “diagramming process”, it may not be worth using that method to learn the grammatical concepts.

If you have a hands-on learner, you may want to check out Winston Grammar. This program uses a hands-on approach and labels parts of speech and how the words are used in a sentence.

Another program I recommend is the Easy Grammar series. The Easy Grammar books have the text and instruction to learn and practice new skills and the Daily Grams are workbooks that have a daily review with 5 different kinds of grammar concepts with one sample of each per day for a total of 5 quick review samples to practice. Loved this! As your child moves into high school, you may want to use the Ultimate Series that has the text and instruction and the practice in each. There are placement tests on the website to assist you.

Spelling

Spelling for middle school can still be in a phonics based spelling book as recommended in my Language Arts for Elementary Ages podcast such as Building Spelling Skills by Christian Liberty Press .

You can also look at your learner’s writing and include words they misspell in your weekly spelling list.

If you have a learner who is ready to tackle more complex words, I recommend Spelling Power, an inclusive book that you will be able to use for years through high school and multiple learners. It supplies word lists and ways to study and learn the words each week.

Be sure to comment in the Comments box any ideas you’d like to share that your family has used in your Language Arts or any of these ideas from this podcast you found helpful! I would love to hear from you! Thanks for visiting! Come back and visit the Literary Cafe Podcast for August’s topic when we discuss how to study grammar in your homeschool!

Make sure you subscribe to the Literary Cafe Podcast at iTunes so you don’t miss an episode or by clicking on the Android or RSS feed buttons below the recording on this page!

Join Katie with Literary Cafe Podcast to learn about what to include in your Language Arts study in your homeschool. #homeschool #homeschooling #languagearts #english #middleschool #highschool

 

 

Tips for Actively Reading Any Piece of Literature

actively readingIt’s easy to get distracted when reading, especially in today’s digital society where something is always beeping, buzzing, or dinging. Our attentions are pulled in a million different directions. We could all use a little help when it comes to focusing on a single task. In this blog post, I’ll be discussing some tips on something we do every day: reading! And not just any type of reading, but actively reading.

Just like a great athlete must undergo deep practice to become skilled at his or her game, an expert reader must practice good habits when it comes to reading. Actively reading is akin to this type of deep practice.

Here are some podcasts with great literature suggestions.

Best Summer Reading

Helping Literal Thinkers with Literature Analysis

Literature In Your Homeschool

Tip #1: Set Yourself Up for Success

When I am actively reading something, I have pens, pencils, markers, highlighters, and an array of colored pencils by my side — these are my tools for success.

For example, if I actively read a novel, there are few pages that don’t have some underlined or circled word, a question scribbled in the margin, or a highlighted phrase. Come up with a process that works for you and find the tools that best suit it.

Tip #2: Ask Questions

An inquiring mind learns. In order for true knowledge acquisition to occur during an actively reading session, the reader must ask themselves questions to stay engaged with the literature.

Below, I have shared a series of questions that are useful for readers starting to actively read. My high school freshman English teacher used them to guide our literary learning throughout the year. They proved to be a great base for engaging with different texts and served me well after. These questions can be most readily applied to novels and poetry; however, they can be adapted to really any piece of literature. The questions are broken up into the following sections: characters, setting, plot, symbols and other devices, point of view, themes, irony, and newly imagined.

CHARACTER
• Who is the protagonist and who or what is the antagonist?
• What words come to mind when you think about the protagonist or the antagonist?
• How is he, she, or it characterized?
• What motivates this character’s actions?
• What is memorable about the character?
• Is the author’s depiction of the character the same throughout the entire text?
• Are there any surprises? If so what are they?

SETTING
• Where does the story take place? Is the setting: geographical, physical, magical, socio-economic, chronological?
• Locate and specify the various types of setting. What does such specific setting contribute to the overall effect of the story (thematically or in terms of character)?
• When the setting changes where does it change to and how does the change impact the story?

PLOT
• Briefly, what is going on?
• What structure does the story follow (e.g. Freytag)?
• Where in the story are the main points?
• What are the conflicts? Where in the story are they?
• Are the conflicts internal or external? Are they physical, intellectual, societal, moral, or emotional?
• Is the main conflict between sharply differentiated entities (e.g. good versus evil), or is it more subtle and complex?
• Does the plot have unity? Are all the episodes relevant to the total meaning or effect of the story?
• Is the ending happy, unhappy, or indeterminate? Is it fairly achieved?

SYMBOLS AND OTHER DEVICES
• Does the story make use of symbols?
• What kind does the author use (names, objects, actions)?
• What does each symbol mean?
• Does the symbol carry or merely reinforce the meaning of the story?
• What other devices does the author use (e.g. imagery, metaphor, personification, pathos, allusions, aphorisms)? How are they used? What meaning does their use lend to the story?

POINT OF VIEW
• What point of view does the story use?
• Is it consistent in its use of this point of view?
• If shifts in point of view are made are they justified?
• If the point of view is that of one of the characters does that character have any limitations that affect her/his interpretation of events or persons?

THEME
• Does the story have a theme?
• What is it? Is it implicit or explicit?
• Does the theme reinforce or oppose popular notions of life?
• Does it furnish a new insight or refresh or deepen an old one?
• Remember, a theme is an opinion rather like a thesis statement not simply a topic.

IRONY
• Does the story anywhere utilize irony? If so what kind and how? What functions do the ironies serve?

NEWLY IMAGINED
• Compared to other things you have read is there something new, unique, or different about the way the author presents this story or poem?

7 Benefits of Reading Classics

Finish Well Radio Badge, Podcast #060, 7 Benefits of Reading ClassicsIn “7 Benefits of Reading Classics” Episode #060, Meredith Curtis inspires you to read classics by explaining how enjoying great literature and living books will benefit your heart, mind, and life. She will give you tips on how to choose great books to pull off the shelf and treasure for a lifetime.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Today’s sponsor is Powerline Productions. Powerline Productions wants to equip you to be a world changer and raise world changers. They offer curriculum, unit studies, high school courses, Bible studies, cookbooks, and How-to-Homeschool books. Find them at PowerlineProd.com.

Colossians 1:28 by Laura Nolette and Powerline Productions, Inc.

 

High School Curriculum by Powerline Productions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Show Notes:

Why I Urge You to Read

I grew up surrounded by “bookophiles.”

I loved to read! In high school, I made a list of classics to read. When I was experiencing pregnancy sickness I finally read the Russians. (tip for Russian literature—list names on a notecard.)

Read the books the historians write about and talk about. E.G. Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Why Should Your Read Old Books instead of Just Books Written in the late 20th and 21st Century?

Books have been dumbed down.

Many adults would have trouble reading children’s books written in 1800s and early 1900s.

7 Benefits of Reading Classics

  1. Reading classics will make you smarter and strengthen your ability to think and make logical conclusions. A brain workout, flex your brain muscles. Improve your comprehension.
  2. Reading classics will improve your vocabulary. It will expose you to a richer, more intellectual vocabulary. In addition, there is more description, conversation, and character development.
  3. Reading classics will increase your attention span. Blogs are shorter. Commercials are shorter. Movie scenes are shorter. Trains our brain to focus for long periods of time.
  4. Reading classic books will help you understand literary references that used to go over your head. “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”
  5. Reading classics will have a deeper understanding of history with its culture, cultural context, beliefs, and values. Even historical fiction often puts values of today into the story set in yesterday.
  6. Reading classic books will develop your character and compassion. Times may change, but human nature and the problems people face don’t change. There is nothing new under the sun. Identifying with people from different times and places will stretch your heart.
  7. Reading classics will bring joy to your life. Everyone loves a good story. Everyone loves an intellectual challenge. Whether you are reading literature or living books, there is nothing like the pleasure of a good book.

Where Can I find classics to read?

Boy do I have reading lists for you! Check our reading lists for every age imaginable: http://www.joyfulandsuccessfulhomeschooling.com/books/reading-lists/

What if Classics are too Hard?

You may have to build up to reading some of the classics because the reading level of modern books is so low. Start with some children’s classics like Little Women or Hans Brinker.

 

Reading Lists & Places to Get Classic Books

Reading Lists

Free Classic Books

Our Book Reviews

Gutenberg: Free Classic E-books to download

Library of Congress Free Books to Read Online

Free Classic Books for Your Kindle

Planet E-book Free E-books to Download

Free E-books for your Nook Reader

Curriculum with Classic Books

American Literature & Research

British Literature

Communication 101: Oral & Written

Who Dun It: Murder Mystery Literature & Writing

Podcasts:

Link Between Literature & Political Freedom

 

American Literature & Research British Literature & Writing High School Class Communications 101: Essays and Speeches High School Class Who Dun It? Murder Mystery Literature and Writing High School Class

 

Finish Well Radio, Podcast #024, Link Between Literature and Political Freedom

Literature

Literature in Your Homeschool | Family Renewal Podcast on Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network

Literature in your Homeschool and Family Reading

a Family Renewal Podcast with the Waynes.

Join Israel Wayne every month as he discusses life, theology, Christian Apologetics, education, family and cultural issues from a Biblical worldview. Israel is an author and conference speaker who often speaks at homeschooling conferences, and churches, as well as marriage and parenting seminars.

Finally, the information he teaches around the nation will be available to listeners like you. Each broadcast will be about a half hour and will feature interviews and thoughtful commentary from Israel and his guests.

HSHSP Ep 89: A NOVEL Approach with Highschool Literature!

This week on HSHSP Ep 89: A NOVEL Approach with Highschool Literature!

HSHSP Ep 89: A NOVEL Approach with Highschool Literature!

HSHSP Ep 89: A NOVEL Approach with Highschool Literature!

Moldy, ancient novels: that’s what highschool Literature is, right?

Boring, meaningless lessons based on the old novel is highschool Literature, right?

Wrong on both counts!

Why read just because they are required to? Why not look at *novel* ideas for types of Literature? Teens can:

  • Read for connection (to the author, to life, to culture, etc)
  • Read to understand the author’s why?
  • Read to find their own why?

AND Literature is more than dusty novels. Lots of things can count as Literature!

Sabrina, Vicki and Kym have some NOVEL ideas for some lively, meaningful and fun ideas for homeschool highschool Literature. They share the thought provoking questions:

 

What can count as literature? Can it be something other than old novels? Here are some types of Literature that they have covered with their homeschool highschoolers:

  • Poetry (reading, interacting with it, memorizing it, writing it)
  • Short stories
  • Biographies
  • Autobiographies
  • Plays (try some Readers Theatre)
  • Movies

Listen and find out the answer to the BURNING question: Why did Shakespeare write in iambic pentameter.

In the meantime, check out these useful links for new ways to look at highschool Literature.

Cinema Studies for Literature Learning in your High School Homeschool Co-op

Homeschool Highschool Podcast Ep 14: Readers Theater Party- It’s COOL!

God is a Poet – Introducing Poetry to High School Homeschool Students

 

Vicki’s Pinterest Poetry Board (lots of famous people reading poetry…so cool!)

HSHSP Ep 89: A NOVEL Approach with Highschool Literature!