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Is it absolutely necessary to teach Literary Analysis....


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Is is necessary? For me, yes. When's a good time to start? I started in the logic stage after we stopped the reading comprehension programs in 4th grade. In 5th & 6th grade, I begin to ask socratic dialogue questions about the setting, the storyline, the characters, etc. I found a good set of questions in a program called, Teaching the Classics. Over 7th & 8th grade I plan to work through this program with my boys along with How to Read a Book. We will also begin work in essay writing with CW Diogenes. During the high school years, I'll continue this process and combine the above skills as I incorporate timed essays on literary analysis in preparation for college.


As you can see, I plan to start with the basics of literary analysis and grow with it over the years. I have a couple of good references books for me as I plan this out in our homeschool:


Writing About Literature by Edgar V. Roberts

Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing by Edgar V. Roberts & Henry E. Jacobs


I don't think you need the newest edition of either book. I was able to find very cheap copies of the older editions on Amazon.



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You don't need a full blown curriculum for it, just read in WTM under logic stage reading section; SWB gives great questions for fiction and biographies. It really depends on your goals, if you want to have literature discussions (Socratic) with your children, it would be a good time to start talking to your older children about what they are reading.


If you need more guidance then you may want to consider getting Teaching the Classics and learning how to discuss literature yourself. I read Mortimer Alder and Charles Van Doren's How to Read a Book and SWB's The Well-Educated Mind. There are other books such as Deconstructing Penguins which illustrates how a couple held a parent/child reading group and how they went about the sessions.


Book reports are another way to accomplish literature analysis if you don't wish have discussions or you're not able to at this time with the youngers.


Hope this helps and it is just my opinion

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Great point, Jessica. I forgot about The Well-Educated Mind. I found this book very helpful when I first starting reading many of the great books very late in life. If I didn't have the study guide for HTRAB, then I would do TWEM with my boys.


I agree that book reports, as well as narrations, are great ways to write and/or talk about the books they are reading regardless of their age.


Here is a link to a recent conversation about reading and literature analysis:

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I don't know that anything (with the exceptions of reading, writing & arithmetic) is really necessary. ;)


But, to be serious and answer your question, you don't really need a curriculum. You can do a quick Google search for literary terms and read over them to refresh your memory (if necessary). Then you can use this information to start informal discussions with your children based on a read-a-loud, their assigned reading or whatever book you would like to use for this purpose.


Here is a link with a nice list of literary terms to get you started if needed:



There are lots of curriculum choices out there like Progeny Press guides, Drawn Into the Heart of Reading, Teaching the Classics, etc. if you would like to go that route. I don't think they are necessary, but may be helpful if you like to have a plan or some guidance on what to cover. Otherwise, just introduce a literary element each week or so and then find ways to discuss that in relation to what you are reading that week. You can start this at anytime. Your dc are at great ages to have some really fun and interesting discussions. :)

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Thanks everyone..


Ohio12- You asked what I have been doing; well, nothing in the way of formal curriculum. I do ask tons of questions about what they are reading. For example, I ask what symbolism they see in what they are reading relating to everyday life... or have them give me a bible verse or story that reminds them of what their reading. However, I have not went over any literary terms with them at all. Well, they do know about setting, characters, ect.. but nothing else. I have read what SWB says in her book, but just felt as if I still am not doing enough. I suppose I don't feel comfortable with literary analysis because in all my 12 years of Public eduation, I simply do not remember EVER being taught this. Maybe I skipped school that day!!:lol:


Deece- I am on my way to check out that link.


Thanks again! I am so VERY grateful for this board. I really cannot imagine homeschooling without it;);)

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But I believe what is important is to teach the ability to analyze/think critically. Literature (and film) happen to be areas in which it is fairly easy to learn and then apply those skills. (Also, literature and film are powerful media, with the ability to inspire us -- or subtly manipulate/influence us; as a result, it's important to understand "what's going on under the surface.")


Why is the ability to analyze/think critically so important?

- To discern motivations of others in ads, political speeches, sales pitches, etc.

- To understand potential consequences to personal choices, to legislation, to financial decisions, etc.

- To determine worldview and underlying themes -- and therefore influences -- from popular media such as music, film, TV, printed materials, etc.



Literary analysis can be as simple as reading and discussing together; sharing what you see in the work beyond the surface storyline, and what effecdt the work had on you. : ) And yes, if you want to teach literary analysis more formally, there are lots of good programs and resources to help you. : ) (One way to find some of those resources is to do an "advanced search" here on this board using the subject "literary analysis".)


Just my 2 cents worth! Warmest regards, Lori D.

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