Drawbacks/Cons of using literature for language arts?
Posted 15 March 2009 - 04:07 PM
I'm drawn to using a literature approach (specifically [URL="http://site.totallanguageplus.com/"]Total Language Plus[/URL]) but want to make the decision with as much info - pro and con - as possible.
Posted 15 March 2009 - 08:17 PM
I think that drudging through vocabulary work tied to lit, in particular, is the biggest killjoy I've seen.
I do wish that I'd tied in discussion of literary elements more in our studies at home, as my son was a little uncomfortable with that when he went back to school last year and had honors lit. Toward that end, I have begun working on adding some discussion of literary elements into our lit studies with my fifth grader, this year. Hopefully, he'll be better prepared for such discussions when he gets to the high school years.
Posted 16 March 2009 - 12:35 AM
The biggest concern I've come across is that it makes reading literature a chore for kiddos. I'm not saying whether that's valid or not - I think it would vary per child, what literature is used, how much workload is given etc....
I think you pretty well summed up how to avoid "ruining" reading in your quote above!
You might want to post this question on the high school board, too, for more great experience from all those BTDT ladies on the possibility of "literature ruining reading" in general, and Total Language Plus specifically.
In answer to your general question: We've been doing literature since 7th grade (boys are not 9th and 10th grades) and it hasn't seemed to ruin their enjoyment of reading -- on the contrary, they seem to really think it's cool to uncover a hidden theme or meaning! Here's what we did to keep literature and reading in balance:
- we didn't do any literary analysis until 7th grade
(we read and read and read and read tons of wonderful books from birth on up, with no literature guides, just the very occasional thinking kind of question or when a discussion just naturally came out of the reading)
- we modify any lit. guide or literary analysis program we use:
* read aloud, discuss, learn/enjoy *together* (not hand a lit. program to the kid and expect them to enjoy doing it on their own)
* skip vocabulary worksheets -- just define the words in context in the moment
* do selected (not all!) discussion questions; and do aloud together rather than written out
* not feel we have to use every single bit of the lit. guide or program -- we use it for background information, discussion question ideas, or to bring out an interesting point we would have missed
* not feel we have to *write* about every single work we read
- we do a *variety* of types of reading for school and for pleasure all year
(we analyze some books as literature, have others as fun family read alouds, others for historical fiction for history(so no literary analysis), and lots of time to read for their own interest)
- we limit the number of books we go "in depth" on
( as far as doing books as literature, in a single school year, we will have maybe 4-6 works we REALLY dig into, write about, use a lot of the guide or program, etc.; then maybe another 6 we enjoy aloud and discuss some together; and then maybe just 2-3 over the summer we read and enjoy and don't worry about -- whatever discussion happens (or doesn't happen) is fine
We enjoyed going through "Figuratively Speaking" aloud together to learn about various literary elements. I think we did that along about 6th or 7th grade. There are 40 literary elements are covered, each in 3 pages of definition, examples in classic literature, and a few exercises to practice using or finding that element. We did it orally, no writing, which kept it fun and interesting and short (10-15 minutes). We did one, ocassionally two, elements a week, so we finished it in one year.
We're really getting a lot out of continuing to do literature aloud together, basing our reading/discussing around ideas in the first few chapters of The Well Educated Mind, and using literature guides. Guides we've found most helpful so far:
- The Great Books (Christian; and worldview perspective focus) = www.thegreatbooks.com
- Progeny Press (Christian) = http://www.progenypress.com/
- Garlic Press publishers (secular) = http://garlicpress.c...duct=LITERATURE
- Sparknotes (secular; free online lit. guides) = www.sparknotes.com
- Glencoe (secular; free online lit. guides) = http://www.glencoe.c...ure/litlibrary/
Past WTM high school thread you may find of interest on doing literature:
Does anyone do high school literature ala WTM and WEM?
Not personally familiar with Total Language, but it looks good. Below are literature programs we've really enjoyed; in each case we were also reading other books for history or personal enjoyment. BEST of luck, whatever you go with -- and enjoy your literature journey! Warmest regards, Lori D.
- Lightning Literature & Composition 7
Full year program; could be used in grades 6, 7 or 8, depending on your student. Uses complete works of literature (not excerpts). Eight unites; each unit focuses on developing a single literary element: 2 poetry units, 1 autobiography, 2 short stories, 1 realistic novel, 1 fantasy novel, 1 humorous novel)
- Lightning Literature & Composition 8
Full year program; could be used in grades 7, 8, or 9, depending on your student. Uses complete works of literature (not excerpts). Twelve units; each unit focuses on developing a single literary element: 3 poetry units, 1 novella, 1 adventure novel, 1 autobiographical sketches novel, 3 short stories, 1 realistic novel, 1 fantasy novel, 1 humorous novel)
Scroll down on this page at Hewitt Homeschooling for more info and sample lessons from both Lightning Lit programs: http://www.hewitthom...book/blight.asp
- Literary Lessons From the Lord of the Rings
Full year program; for use for grades 7-12; probably best used in grades 8-10, depending on your student. We skipped the fill-in-the-blank comprehension questions and vocabulary portions and read/discussed the program aloud together. There are 1-2 notes of notes for every single chapter of all three books of the trilogy, and some great discussion questions. Also very worthwhile are the 12 units of tangential material, which touch fairly in depth (and does some analysis of) of several other works: Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, some poetry; detailed summary of The Iliad; and then mentions other works for you to consider also reading, such as The Odyssey, Macbeth, Midsummer Night's Dream, and choice on an Arthurian work such as Sword in the Stone or other King Arthur classic. We easily read other works in addition to the 3 books of the Lord of the Rings trilogy the year we used this program.
the program: http://www.homeschol...g/LOTR Curr.htm
table of contents: http://www.homeschol...of Contents.htm
- IEW's Windows on the World
For grades 9-12; possibly for an advanced 8th grader. Full year program on how to annotate while reading and then use your notes for analyzing short stories. Excellent material, but you only cover 6 short stories over the course of the year, so you definitely would want to include additional reading of various types with this program. We're using this one a little at a time, spreading it out over 2 years, along with our other reading.
see it at: http://www.excellenc...terary-analysis
Posted 16 March 2009 - 12:41 AM
In my enthusiasm about literature (LOL), I missed the question in your subject line. We don't use literature AS our language arts. Literature is the literature portion of our English, with a separate program for grammar instruction and a separate program for writing instruction, and do a separate Greek/Latin root program for vocabulary. We do once in awhile write about the literature for a writing assignment, but that's about the extent of language arts overlap here.
Sorry to get carried away above and neglect your real question! Warmly, Lori D.