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We're currently using Windows to the World for literature but neither DS nor I seem to be too interested/taken by the program. DS doesn't have much of a grasp of literary concepts (such as plot, characterization, setting etc.) so that might be why. I'm wondering if we should try Lightning Literature (possibly starting with their 7th grade program) and either stick with that or switch back to Windows to the World once he gets more of foundation.

 

Other things we're considering using (possibly in addition to Lightning Lit or Windows) are Progeny Press Guides (which we have used a bit of in the past but apparently nothing much "stuck"), Novel Ties (or maybe it's Novel Units? I just ordered 2 that were on sale for $2 each), and/or Literary Lessons from the Lord of the Rings.

 

Thanks,

Sue

 

P.S. For the most part, we're not going to be doing the writing portions of any lit program for the time being. DS never has had much writing instruction and we're starting fresh with IEW (SWI/TWSS) and will be working through that for a bit before adding much writing into literature or any other subject.

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We're currently using Windows to the World for literature but neither DS nor I seem to be too interested/taken by the program. DS doesn't have much of a grasp of literary concepts (such as plot, characterization, setting etc.) so that might be why. I'm wondering if we should try Lightning Literature (possibly starting with their 7th grade program) and either stick with that or switch back to Windows to the World once he gets more of foundation.

 

Other things we're considering using (possibly in addition to Lightning Lit or Windows) are Progeny Press Guides (which we have used a bit of in the past but apparently nothing much "stuck"), Novel Ties (or maybe it's Novel Units? I just ordered 2 that were on sale for $2 each), and/or Literary Lessons from the Lord of the Rings.

 

Thanks,

Sue

 

P.S. For the most part, we're not going to be doing the writing portions of any lit program for the time being. DS never has had much writing instruction and we're starting fresh with IEW (SWI/TWSS) and will be working through that for a bit before adding much writing into literature or any other subject.

 

 

Hi Sue,

What age/grade is your DS? And is a math/science kind of guy? Liberal arts? Mechanical? That can also play into interest in literary analysis and how much "sticks" -- and help you determine how much you want or need to invest in literature and literary analysis. ;)

 

 

Windows on the World has a *terrific* section about halfway through the program on how to write a literary analysis essay -- BUT, for many students, annotating is a HUGE hurdle to getting into literature, and annotation is the method used by Windows on the World to help students practice seeing / remembering things that stuck out to them in the reading. Frankly, annotating is not for everyone. Also, as you pointed out, Windows on the World assumes you already are starting to "see" things in the literature, to be thinking in terms of symbols, repeated images, themes, alliteration, metaphor, irony, etc. If you aren't very familiar with those literary terms, it makes it hard to see deeper than the plot line in a piece of literature.

 

If your DS is already in high school, I'm not sure I'd suggest backing up to Lightning Lit. 7. While it is a wonderful, gentle introduction to reading classic literature and beginning literary analysis, it really is geared for middle school students. It is also fairly "lite", and I think a high schooler would get much more from some other programs.

 

Not familiar with Novel Ties, but I can highly recommend Literary Lessons from the Lord of the Rings -- the notes for every chapter are extremely helpful for pointing out repeated themes, and suggesting things to look for in future chapters; teaching literary terms; and giving insightful background that helps you begin to see parallels and allusions to other literature.

 

I'd also *highly* recommend using a few of the Discovering Literature series lit. guides by Garlic Press publishers -- especially the "challenging" (high school) level guides. Meaty, with great summaries, very good discussion questions, numerous writing assignment ideas, lots of teaching text on various literary elements and terms, etc. (See these at the publisher: http://garlicpress.com/cgi-bin/shop_gp.cgi?product=LITERATURE -- or at http://www.rainbowresource.com -- enter "Discovering Literature Series" in the search box). I can *definitely* recommend the guides on: The Giver; To Kill a Mockingbird; and The Odyssey. Perhaps try the one on "The Hobbit" (the "prequil" to Lord of the Rings) and then do the Literary Lessons from the Lord of the Rings?

 

 

 

One very simple resource for learning literary terms that we enjoyed was "Figuratively Speaking: Using Classic Literature to Teach 40 Literary Terms" (http://www.rainbowresource.com/search.php?sid=1260508719-631283 -- or at http://www.amazon.com). We did it aloud together, taking about 10-15 minutes per lesson, doing about 2 lessons a week. Once we read about a literary term, we'd practice looking for in whatever we were reading for the next week or two to really get it down, and to really recognize it in literature.

 

We also have found the free online lit. guides at http://www.sparknotes.com and http://www.cliffsnotes.com to be very helpful in guiding us in seeing themes that we might not have seen before. Note: both are secular, and do seem to make sure to mention it if there is the least thing that could be a sexual theme... But you don't have to go there if you don't want, as the guides are usually quite lengthy, so you can just use the parts you're interested in. No vocabulary or questions, just a lot of summaries and analysis, with extra insights on key quotations, key characters, and key themes / symbols / motifs.

 

The other very helpful resource we've used is the questions listed in the first few chapters of Susan Wise-Bauer's "The Well Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had". Nan in Mass who often posts on this board is more science-minded and has engineering-oriented sons, but they have very much enjoyed and very successfully used those WEM questions to guide them into some great literary discussions.

 

 

Like Nan in Mass, we have found that reading the literature aloud together, discussing as we go, is what has brought forth the most fruit in our literature studies and literary analysis. We also apply some of the literary analysis to films, by discussing films after the fact -- repeated images as symbols, etc. I think it is often is easier to start analyzing and thinking in terms of symbols, themes, etc. with films and TV shows than in literature, so perhaps consider using your family "viewing times" as opportunities to practice analysis! :001_smile:

 

BEST of luck, and hope you will find what will help you go further -- and ENJOY! -- along your literary adventure trails! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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There are 2 books you might consider. One is Figuratively Speaking. It discusses all the figures of speech and various writing styles and tools.

 

The other is Walch Toolbox Series: Poetry and Prose. It covers all the writing styles, usages, parts of stories, etc.

 

Together they make a great combination. Then you could use any book you wanted.

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though I'm still not sure what we're going to do. I just dug out our Progeny Press guide for The Hobbit. I'm the one who is actually reading that at the moment, but I think DS would enjoy it.

 

Reading aloud to DS is a trial. I'll remind him to turn off the cell phone, but invariably, he "forgets" and the phone goes off a few minutes into the reading. Next comes a 5 minute bathroom break, followed by an urgent need to test his blood (DS is diabetic) or get a drink. Right about then, my mom usually comes into the room and asks what we're doing, then proceeds to go and turn on the TV (at a volume level loud enough that the neighbors can hear it but she claims she still can't hear it while sitting in the same room). By the time 15 minutes or so has elapsed, DS claims he has no idea what I've just read and declares that he's too old for me to read to him. The only time I can actually get him to listen is when we're both too tired to really do much thinking/learning/teaching effectively.

 

Anyway, we do have Teaching the Classics, though we never used it so I'll take another look at that. And I'll dig out my copy of TWEM. I'm definitely going to see if anyone I know has a copy of Figuratively Speaking that I can take a look at.

 

Has anyone used the High School Level Lightning Literature programs? Maybe we can jump in there and supplement with other guides?

 

I prefer to have the program laid out for me, because we're more likely to get it done. It seems like there's always some sort of craziness going on around here and by the time I plan out how to do something we run out of time to actually do it.

 

Oh, and to answer the questions... DS is 15 but doing mostly junior high level work this year to get caught up. We're figuring on it taking 5 years for DS to complete high school, so we consider this year to be his pre-freshman year. I've yet to be able to figure out his learning style... Can learning styles vary by subject? Anyway, that's a topic for another day and another post.

 

Sue

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I prefer to have the program laid out for me, because we're more likely to get it done. It seems like there's always some sort of craziness going on around here and by the time I plan out how to do something we run out of time to actually do it.

 

Oh, and to answer the questions... DS is 15 but doing mostly junior high level work this year to get caught up. We're figuring on it taking 5 years for DS to complete high school, so we consider this year to be his pre-freshman year. I've yet to be able to figure out his learning style... Can learning styles vary by subject? Anyway, that's a topic for another day and another post.

 

Sue

 

My 8th grader is doing LL 7/8 this year & I agree it's probably not what you're looking for, unless you have the money to invest in it as a simple tool for part of your year.

 

My son is indeed enjoying the literature we've read so far (Tom Sawyer & A Christmas Carol & some shorter works), but the lit analysis is just an intro. LL7 especially doesn't have a lot, and even LL8 is just an overview to things like how Dickens uses different methods to flesh out "character" -- A Christmas Carol is an excellent choice for doing that, but you could also just get a list of basic literature components online or somewhere, and go over that instead of using all of LL7 and/or 8.

 

Knowing those components (setting, characterization, plot lines, foreshadowing) is just the beginning. The real meat of high school is analysis. I tutor high schoolers & we look at themes, lots of irony, points of view, etc. Lots of need to back up statements with specific examples from the text.

 

 

 

Another thing I thought I'd suggest is audiobooks. I was worried about using them too much, and recently heard Mr. Stobaugh (who is into being uber-analytical of literature), and he felt audiobooks are great both for speeding up and for slowing down readers who are skimming too much. My son benefits from hearing unfamiliar vocabulary used properly.

 

I usually sit next to the CD player & stop as I see the need. I might ask if he understood something. Or if he looks like he's not paying attention, I'll ask what just happened.

 

Let your son know that great minds throughout history have enjoyed read-alouds well into adulthood. But if it still just isn't his cup of tea, then maybe audiobooks would help?

 

Julie

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Another thing I thought I'd suggest is audiobooks. I was worried about using them too much, and recently heard Mr. Stobaugh (who is into being uber-analytical of literature), and he felt audiobooks are great both for speeding up and for slowing down readers who are skimming too much. My son benefits from hearing unfamiliar vocabulary used properly.

 

I usually sit next to the CD player & stop as I see the need. I might ask if he understood something. Or if he looks like he's not paying attention, I'll ask what just happened.

 

Let your son know that great minds throughout history have enjoyed read-alouds well into adulthood. But if it still just isn't his cup of tea, then maybe audiobooks would help?

 

Julie

 

 

What a great suggestion.

Thanks,

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If you're on the IEWFamilies email loop, check out Jill Pike's lesson plans for using Windows to the World. I couldn't figure out how to actually do the program until I got Jill's lesson plans.

 

You can see the lesson plans in the files section at IEWFamilies. If you actually use them, you need to send a $10 check to Jill, but looking is free.

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  • 1 year later...
Hi Sue,

What age/grade is your DS? And is a math/science kind of guy? Liberal arts? Mechanical? That can also play into interest in literary analysis and how much "sticks" -- and help you determine how much you want or need to invest in literature and literary analysis. ;)

 

 

Windows on the World has a *terrific* section about halfway through the program on how to write a literary analysis essay -- BUT, for many students, annotating is a HUGE hurdle to getting into literature, and annotation is the method used by Windows on the World to help students practice seeing / remembering things that stuck out to them in the reading. Frankly, annotating is not for everyone. Also, as you pointed out, Windows on the World assumes you already are starting to "see" things in the literature, to be thinking in terms of symbols, repeated images, themes, alliteration, metaphor, irony, etc. If you aren't very familiar with those literary terms, it makes it hard to see deeper than the plot line in a piece of literature.

 

If your DS is already in high school, I'm not sure I'd suggest backing up to Lightning Lit. 7. While it is a wonderful, gentle introduction to reading classic literature and beginning literary analysis, it really is geared for middle school students. It is also fairly "lite", and I think a high schooler would get much more from some other programs.

 

Not familiar with Novel Ties, but I can highly recommend Literary Lessons from the Lord of the Rings -- the notes for every chapter are extremely helpful for pointing out repeated themes, and suggesting things to look for in future chapters; teaching literary terms; and giving insightful background that helps you begin to see parallels and allusions to other literature.

 

I'd also *highly* recommend using a few of the Discovering Literature series lit. guides by Garlic Press publishers -- especially the "challenging" (high school) level guides. Meaty, with great summaries, very good discussion questions, numerous writing assignment ideas, lots of teaching text on various literary elements and terms, etc. (See these at the publisher: http://garlicpress.com/cgi-bin/shop_gp.cgi?product=LITERATURE -- or at http://www.rainbowresource.com -- enter "Discovering Literature Series" in the search box). I can *definitely* recommend the guides on: The Giver; To Kill a Mockingbird; and The Odyssey. Perhaps try the one on "The Hobbit" (the "prequil" to Lord of the Rings) and then do the Literary Lessons from the Lord of the Rings?

 

 

 

One very simple resource for learning literary terms that we enjoyed was "Figuratively Speaking: Using Classic Literature to Teach 40 Literary Terms" (http://www.rainbowresource.com/search.php?sid=1260508719-631283 -- or at http://www.amazon.com). We did it aloud together, taking about 10-15 minutes per lesson, doing about 2 lessons a week. Once we read about a literary term, we'd practice looking for in whatever we were reading for the next week or two to really get it down, and to really recognize it in literature.

 

We also have found the free online lit. guides at http://www.sparknotes.com and http://www.cliffsnotes.com to be very helpful in guiding us in seeing themes that we might not have seen before. Note: both are secular, and do seem to make sure to mention it if there is the least thing that could be a sexual theme... But you don't have to go there if you don't want, as the guides are usually quite lengthy, so you can just use the parts you're interested in. No vocabulary or questions, just a lot of summaries and analysis, with extra insights on key quotations, key characters, and key themes / symbols / motifs.

 

The other very helpful resource we've used is the questions listed in the first few chapters of Susan Wise-Bauer's "The Well Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had". Nan in Mass who often posts on this board is more science-minded and has engineering-oriented sons, but they have very much enjoyed and very successfully used those WEM questions to guide them into some great literary discussions.

 

 

Like Nan in Mass, we have found that reading the literature aloud together, discussing as we go, is what has brought forth the most fruit in our literature studies and literary analysis. We also apply some of the literary analysis to films, by discussing films after the fact -- repeated images as symbols, etc. I think it is often is easier to start analyzing and thinking in terms of symbols, themes, etc. with films and TV shows than in literature, so perhaps consider using your family "viewing times" as opportunities to practice analysis! :001_smile:

 

BEST of luck, and hope you will find what will help you go further -- and ENJOY! -- along your literary adventure trails! Warmest regards, Lori D.

 

Lori,

Just read your comments as I am browsing the English/Lit posts and wanted to compliment on your post. Great ideas and encouraging. I have 9th/10 graders and we all are "creatively constipated" when it comes to Lit/English and so I am on the search this year for something to help us all become better. I have Figuratively Speaking written down and I may also add The Giver:Garlic Press to my list as well. thanks for posting...helps those like me that are clueless on my journey as a teaching mom!

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One very simple resource for learning literary terms that we enjoyed was "Figuratively Speaking: Using Classic Literature to Teach 40 Literary Terms" (http://www.rainbowresource.com/searc...0508719-631283 -- or at http://www.amazon.com). We did it aloud together, taking about 10-15 minutes per lesson, doing about 2 lessons a week. Once we read about a literary term, we'd practice looking for in whatever we were reading for the next week or two to really get it down, and to really recognize it in literature.

 

Thanks! I put this on my wishlist.

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Since your focus this year is improving your son's composition skills, you might want to consider a curriculum that uses movies to teach literature like Kathryn Stout's "Movies as Literature." It might be a good fit for you and your son because it doesn't involve reading. Trying to improve reading and attention skills combined with reading for the purpose of lit analysis is too much for some students. ML includes lesson plans with discussion questions and suggested answers, extended study ideas, and composition topics that can used either for writing or discussion. Add thirty minutes of silent reading into your son's schedule, and you have lit covered.

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Since your focus this year is improving your son's composition skills, you might want to consider a curriculum that uses movies to teach literature like Kathryn Stout's "Movies as Literature." It might be a good fit for you and your son because it doesn't involve reading. Trying to improve reading and attention skills combined with reading for the purpose of lit analysis is too much for some students. ML includes lesson plans with discussion questions and suggested answers, extended study ideas, and composition topics that can used either for writing or discussion. Add thirty minutes of silent reading into your son's schedule, and you have lit covered.

 

this looks interesting to me! thanks for passing it on!

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Wow, you have a lot of interruptions! I would have a terrible time staying on track! Maybe you can send ds to another part of the house to read, and find a few quiet times as they come up to go over it (maybe after Grandma goes to bed!).

 

I have WttW, and so far, dd is underwhelmed. She has learned the literary elements from high school literature textbooks. I am going to try to at least do the annotation and literary analysis essay portions, though.

 

I LOVE the Scott Foresman literature textbooks. We did U.S. last year, and are doing English Lit. this year. Dd reads the selections, then we go over them together. You can go over them every day if you wish, or your ds could read a few, then you can go over every few days. Everything is laid out in the teacher's edition. Open and go. Great explanations. Most of the pieces are great, and you can pick and chose what you want to read and it still works fine. The back has explanations of all of the types of essays you can write about the pieces. I got both the student's and teacher's edition for under $20 used.

 

If you so a search, there is a thread with all of the ISBN numbers. There are books for 7th grade on.

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