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7th grade novels/literature


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Hi there,

Just curious what those of you with 7th graders are doing for novels this year? And what materials you're using to accompany those novels/literature selections?


We're secular homeschoolers, if that makes any difference here.




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Here are some of ours:


English Literature for Boys and Girls

Bulfinch's Mythology (free vocab. guide)

King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table (free guide from Core Knowledge)

Puck of Pook's Hill

Canterbury Tales retold




Dd has Little Women, Tales From Shakespeare, George W. Carver and George W. World on her independent list. She also has to choose 3 more from a larger list.


We're also reading some historical fiction and biographies to add to history such as: Joan of Arc (Twain), Crusades, In Freedom's Cause, Arabs in the Golden Age, Saladin and Daughter of Time.

We may add a play such as Shakespeare's Richard the III

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For 7th grade, we used the full-year program of Lightning Lit & Comp 7, put out by Hewitt Homeschooling. While written by a Christian, it is a secular program. It contains 8 units of material, with each unit covering a different literary lesson, a mini-writing lesson, about 8 worksheets to put the literary lesson into practice, and an end-of-unit writing assignment. LL7 has a student guide/workpages (where the "meat" of the program is), and a teacher guide with answers, a schedule, some teaching tips, and some discussion questions.



The Student Book has 2 parts:


1. Student Guide (LL7 = 8 units; LL8 = 12 units) each unit contains:

- a page intro about each author, and tips on what to look for as you read.

- vocabulary list with definitions to make reading the book easier.

- comprehension questions to help student focus on key details.

- 6-10 teaching text pages (written to the student) about a literary element and examples of how that literary element is used in the work being read to go with that unit.

- a 2-3 page "mini-writing lesson" with information/tips on various aspects of writing (examples: how to cite sources; how to take notes; etc.)

- choice from 4-8 longer writing assignment ideas for finishing up each unit


2. Workpages Section contains:

- 8-10 worksheets per unit to help student practice the literary element, occasional grammar aspect (punctuation, capitalization, etc.), or beginning analysis of an excerpt from literature.

- Sometimes a short story or a segment of a longer work is reproduced for the student to read/analyze.



To see an entire sample unit, go to Hewitt Homeschooling at: http://www.hewitthomeschooling.com/book/blight.asp -- scroll down the page and click on the link within the text to see samples of LL7. Below is the list of what LL7 covers.




1 = "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" (short story)

literary lesson: plot line

mini writing lesson: openings


2. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (realistic novel)

literary lesson: plot line in a novel

mini writing lesson: outlines


3. poetry unit -- 7 poems

literary lesson: rhyme

mini writing lesson: limerick and haiku


4. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (fantasy novel)

literary lesson: creativitiy

mini writing lesson: nonce words


5. "The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky" (short story)

literary lesson: saying it with style

mini writing lesson:


6. The Story of My Life (autobiography)

literary lesson: autobiography

mini writing lesson: brainstorming


7. poetry unit -- 6 poems

literary lesson: sound

mini writing lesson: cinquain and the list poem


8. All Creatures Great and Small (realistic/humorous novel)

literary lesson: character sketch

mini writing lesson: choosing a topic





While the program is written to the student and can be done mostly independently by the student, we chose to read aloud/discuss together, and got a lot more out of the program that way than if I had just handed the books to that particular DS. He found all of the works (except Helen Keller's autobiography) to be very enjoyable.

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option 1

Literary Lessons from the Lord of the Rings

gr. 7-12. I would suggest this is ideal for grades 7 or 8 through 10th grade. Full year program. Written by a Christian, but secular in presentation. Gentle introduction to literary analysis. Covers the three books of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, plus analyzes sections of Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and some poetry by Tolkien; and gives a detailed summary/background to The Iliad. You could also do all of those works in full. Also includes 12 units of additional material.

Home Scholar = http://www.homescholarbooks.com/




option 2

Make Your Own Lit.

Select books from various lists and use either the wonderful Garlic Press publisher lit. guides (http://garlicpress.com/cgi-bin/shop_gp.cgi?product=LITERATURE), or the free online lit. guides from Glencoe (http://www.glencoe.com/sec/literature/litlibrary/)


Ideas for classic middle school literature:

- 1000 Good Books (gr. 7-9 list) = http://www.classical-homeschooling.org/celoop/1000-junior.html

- Sonlight Curriculum (books from "cores" 6, 7, 8) = http://www.sonlight.com

- Newberry winner/honor books = http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/newberymedal/newberyhonors/newberymedal.cfm




Middle School Classics with Garlic Press Guides:

My Side of the Mountain

Where The Red Fern Grows

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

Island of the Blue Dolphins

The Outsiders

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Bridge to Terebithia

The Hobbit


The Giver




Middle School Classics with Glencoe Guides:

Across Five Aprils (Hunt)

Animal Farm (Orwell)

Bridge to Terebithia (Paterson)

Call of the Wild (London)

Dragonwings (Yep)

Hatchet (Paulsen)

I, Juan de Pareja (Trevino)

Island of the Blue Dolphins (O'Dell)

Johnny Tremain (Forbes)

Julie of the Wolves (George)

A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare)

Number the Stars (Lowry)

Sounder (Armstrong)

Tuck Everlasting (Babbitt)

Walk Two Moons (Creech)

Where the Red Fern Grows (Rawls)

The Witch of Blackbird Pond (Speare)

A Wrinkle in Time (L'Engle)

The Yearling (Rawling)




Middle School Classics

The Samurai's Tale (Haugaard)

The Bronze Bow (George)

The Phantom Tollbooth (Juster)

The King's Fifth (O'Dell)

I Am David (Holm)

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (Konigsburg)

Maniac Magee (Spinnelli)

Out of the Dust (Hesse)

Otto of the Silver Hand (Pyle -- and others by Pyle)




Adult Classics accessible to Middle Schoolers

Ivanhoe (Scott)

Rip Van Winkle (Irving)

The Red Badge of Courage (Crane)

Call of the Wild (London)

Sherlock Holmes short story (Doyle)

Around the World in 80 Days (Verne)

Kon Tiki (Heyerdahl)

Watership Down (Adams)

The Odyssey (Homer)

a play by Shakespeare (Macbeth or Midsummer's Night Dream)

a short story by Edgar Allen Poe

Treasure Island (Stevenson)

The Diary of Anne Frank (Frank)

Animal Farm (Orwell)

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Assigned reading for literature (using Lit. Analysis by Stobaugh):


Treasure Island

The Screwtape Letters (C.S. Lewis)

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Silas Marner

The Call of the Wild


Idylls of the King

Uncle Tom's Cabin

The Lady or the Tiger

Joseph Narrative

Letters (C.S. Lewis; different letters than Screwtape)


Assigned reading for history:

The Witch of Blackbeard Pond

Amos Fortune

Asa's Choice

Sequoyah and the Cherokee Alphabet

A Gathering of Days

Patty Reed's Doll

Young Heroes of the Civil War

The Red Badge of Courage

Wait for Me, Watch for Me, Eula Bee

March of Glory

Dragon's Gate

My Side of the Mountain

On the Far Side of the Mountain

Various excerpts from a Norton Anthology of American Lit.


There will be other history readers as well but I haven't finished planning/finding them.

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I don't have any 7th graders, but having taught jr. high English I just had to throw in one of my favorite middle school novels of all times "The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle" by Avi. That will provide much fodder for discussion (gender roles, loyalty, race, submission to one's elders, class structure, following one's dreams, etc.), as well as keep you on the edge of your seat. It's a great read!


Oh,and I forgot to add, it's a historical novel, too. Setting is in the 19th Century, on board a sailing ship from England to America.

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We're going to use Lightning Literature. In addition, we'll be using Around the World in 180 Days, and we'll use literature and nonfiction from and about the parts of the world we're studying. (We won't "study" each one as throughly, some we'll just read aloud and enjoy, while others we'll analyze and even write about.)


In addition to the LL7 books, some of the books on my tentative list are:


Journey to Jo'Burg (Naidoo)

God King (Williamson)

The Beduin's Gazelle (Temple)

David Livingstone, Africa's Trailblazer (Benge)

The Weka-Feather Cloak

Troubling a Star (L'Engle)

Admiral Richard Byrd (Rink)

Bruchko (Olson)

Commodore Perry in the Land of the Shogun (Blumberg)

The Land I Lost (Huynh)

The Jungle Book (Kipling)

A Single Shard (Park)

Young Fu of the Upper Yangtse (Lewis)

The Breadwinner (Ellis)

House of Sixty Fathers (DeJong)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Hugo)

I, Juan de Pareja (Trevino)

Hans Brinker (Dodge)

Stories of Don Quixote (Baldwin)

Banner in the Sky (Ullman)

Nacar the White Deer

Madeleine Takes Command

Sing Down the Moon (O'Dell)

The Cay (Taylor)

The Broken Blade (Durbin)

Girl of the Limberlost (Stratton-Porter)

Anne of Green Gables (Montgomery)


and more...:001_smile:



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Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift

The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Bartleby by Herman Melville

The Deerslayer by James Fenimore Cooper

Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave by Frederick Douglass


My oldest 2 and I are going to try to have some round-table type discussions twice a week. I still need to find some notes for discussion - at least for the ones I'm not as familiar with.

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We are using Lightning Literature 7 and so far really like it. Also, we are using Sonlight Core 6, modified for secular use.


We did Core 5 last year and I think most of those readers would be great for middle school too. My favorite thing about Core 5 was that it is organized by geographical location so all the readers & history novels were about one general area. Core 6 is organized by time period and we are looking forward to it for this year.

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We're starting off with Tom Sawyer for July/August. It seems like a perfect "summertime" read to me. We wanted to do a geography study with Around the World in 80 Days, but it just didn't happen. Maybe later in the year.


On the list for this year:

Robinson Crusoe

Soldier X




and a bunch of others I don't remember right now.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We're using Lightning Lit 7, plus sonlight core 100. Most of the books have already been mentioned. It was fun reading through the lists and seeing that we've already read about 1/4-1/3 of the books, are planning to read lots of them this year and then there are a group that don't match our curriculum for this year and we'll try to catch soon.


You've definitely gotten some great suggestions!

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Lightning Lit:

All Creatures Great and Small

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Helen Keller, The Story of My Life

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland


Other Reading we hope to get to...


Behind Rebel Lines: The Incredible Story of Emma Edmons, Civil War Spy

Dragon's Gate

A Family Apart

Little Women

Old Yeller

Red Badge of Courage

Sing Down the Moon

The Bone Wars

Call of The Wild

The Yearling

Bread and Roses

The Cay

The Devil's Arithmetic

Dust of the Earth

Farewell to Manzanar

War Horse

Children of the Dust Bowl: The True Story of School at Weedpatch Camp

The Friends

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The list for my older daughter, a rising 7th grader:


Ernest Hemingway - The Old Man and the Sea

Henry James - The Turn of the Screw

Henry James - The Beast in the Jungle

Isaac Bashevis Singer - The Slave

various Isaac Bashevis Singer's short stories

William Golding - The Lord of the Flies

George Orwell - 1984

Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird

Charles Dickens - A Tale of Two Cities

Charlotte Bronte - Jane Eyre

Gunter Grass - Peeling the Onion

Elie Wiesel - Night

Chaim Potok - The Chosen

Chaim Potok - My Name is Asher Lev

John Steinbeck - Of Mice and Men

Ephraim Kishon's satires, not sure yet which exactly (reading alternatively in English and Hebrew)

E. A. Poe - Tales of Mystery and Imagination

William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream

William Shakespeare - King Lear

Oscar Wilde - The Importance of Being Earnest

Oscar Wilde - The Picture of Dorian Gray

Henrik Ibsen - A Doll's House

John Milton - Paradise Lost (in excerpts only, not the whole work)


She has a whole other set of required readings in Italian, which I won't go into here, but this is more-less what she'll do in English (we used to combine curricula, but now she wants to do only the Italian curriculum for all subjects, and I allowed that, under the condition that she still continues reading in English, so we compiled the list above together, trying to make it be mostly English classics, with a few foreign works she wishes to read and a few Jewish-themed books).

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