Menu
Jump to content

What's with the ads?

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

AlmiraGulch

A Couple of Questions About Literature and Writing

Recommended Posts

How do you go about teaching literary analysis? Is there a program to follow that teaches you how to teach this to your kids? What have you done? I was a great student of literary analysis, but as I think about teaching it to my rising 9th grader, I'm at a loss.

 

Also, how do you teach them how to cite their work, and what style is best to use? I'm in graduate school and we're required to use APA style, but what is required of undergraduate students these days? And again, how do you go about teaching it anyway?

 

 

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For a very gentle introduction to the idea of literary analysis, I'd suggest reading the book Deconstructing Penguins: Parents, Kids, and the Bond of Reading by Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone. This book is about teaching literary analysis to elementary aged children through a book discussion club. It should give you a general idea.

 

A book you might follow up with is How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines by Thomas Foster.

 

I'd also suggest reading The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had by our board host Susan Wise Bauer.

 

Others will doubtless chime in with some great suggestions.

 

Regards,

Kareni

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love that Deconstructing Penguins book. I'd also recommend teaching them to analyze literature through writing. In other words, if you want them to find something in a written text, teach them how to write it. The two should not separate too far from each other, though of course it is always easier to find something than it is to create it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, I don't want to hijack this thread but I am :bigear: because this is something I have been trying to figure out. My kids are still very young (almost 9 and 6, finishing up third grade and kindergarten, respectively), but I really need to figure out how to teach dd the basics of literary analysis. The thing is, I have read Deconstructing Penguins, How to Read Like A Professor, and Well-Educated Mind (and a few other books along the way). I loved each of these books, felt inspired by them, learned a bit from each, but I still need a resource to help me know how to teach literary analysis to my daughter. Is there a curr. that leads one through this step by step? There has to be something out there that would help us learn how to identify protagonist, antagonist, major themes, literary devices, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think lit analysis is best accomplished through writing and discussion. I am not aware of a step-by-step guide, but I personally don't think that such a guide would yield great results in respect of lit. analysis. I suppose it depends on your goals for the student. As an attorney, I value the socratic approach in teaching. I have employed that method with my children from before they were literate. Engaging them with questions (not leading) about what is going on in the text, how to identify the logical progression of ideas/action, the characters in relation to self and others, different methods the author employs to engage the reader, etc.. In the process of this discussion about books and ideas, I teach them the terminology that goes along with it.

 

When it comes to learning how to analyze anything, I personally find worksheets and didactic teaching a waste of time. Reducing lit. analysis to something formulaic renders the process meaningless. Again, though, it depends on your goals for your students.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

re: Teaching Literary Analysis:

We started very gentle, basic literary analysis in 7th grade here, using literature programs, lit. guides for specific works, and going over some literary element resources. As we moved into high school, we still use parts of lit. programs and lit. guides, but our discussions are much more interactive and often start from a question in a guide/program, but end up ranging far and wide on what WE saw in the work. The writing we do on the literature usually stems from a writing assignment idea or prompt from a literature guide/program.

 

For literature in high school, I guess you'd say we do a modified "WTM/WEM Great Books" method (WTM = Well Trained Mind; WEM = Well Educated Mind, both by Susan Wise Bauer), which involves reading background material on the author/times the work was written in, and then reading/discussing/analyzing/writing about the literature, based on the open-ended WEM questions, the Socratic line of questioning, things we saw ourselves, etc.

 

I come from a literary/film analysis background, so, like you, I come at this with a bit of a head start. Once you get rolling and have used a few lit. guides and programs, you'll really have fun getting into the literature with your DD! :) This is the third year of doing lit. this way with our DSs (gr. 10 and gr. 11), and we have had some *fantastic* discussions this year. In our first year, it was VERY much me asking VERY leading questions, and the few times we got any discussion, it was almost always just comparison -- DSs seeing similarities/dissimilarities between the lit. and a movie or TV show. We just slowly, gently, patiently plodded along, getting more skilled as we went. Now DSs are really seeing for themselves and bringing up: the literary elements, how they work, picking out themes and worldviews, supporting them with examples, comparing the themes in one work to other literature, etc.

 

 

re: Teaching Citing Sources/Writing Formats:

As for teaching composition and the mechanics of citing, format, etc., again, there are writing composition programs available, and there are lots of informative online resources. I'll link middle school level resources below. Welcome to high school! Warmest regards, Lori D.

 

 

Resources for Teaching Literary Elements

Story Elements (gr. 5-6)

Story Elements (gr. 7-8)

Story Elements: Understanding Literative Terms & Devices

Figuratively Speaking: Using Classic Lit. to Teach 40 Literary Terms

Walch's Toolbox: Prose and Poetry

 

 

1 year Programs which teach literary analysis

 

Lightning Lit. & Comp. 7 (gr. 6-8) =

program description

scope and sequence

sample student lesson

sample teacher guide

 

Lightning Lit. & Comp. 8 (gr. 7-9)

program description

scope and sequence

sample student lesson

sample teacher guide

 

Literary Lessons from the Lord of the Rings (gr. 7-12)

scope and sequence

literary terms covered

table of contents

samples

 

Christian Light Education Reading program component (by grade level)

(scroll down almost halfway to get to the pages with the scope and sequence for the reading program; starting in 4th grade, through 8th grade, literary elements/literary analysis is taught)

 

Excellence in Literature: American Literature (gr. 8-12)

 

 

Literature Guides

Discovering Literature, challenger level, from Garlic Press Pub. (secular; gr. 6-12) =

Portals to Literature (secular; gr. 6-12)

Progeny Press (Christian; middle school and high school levels)

The Great Books (Christian worldview perspective -- high school level, but some can be used in middle school)

Glencoe (free online; middle school and high school)

 

 

1 semester Program which teaches annotation and how to write a literary analysis essay

Windows to the World

 

 

Programs to Help You, the Teacher, Teach Analyzing Literature

Reading Strands

Teaching the Classics

Deconstructing Penguins (book showing how a couple led elementary-age students and parents through literary discussion)

How to Read a Book (can do this one WITH a high school student)

 

 

Resources on Composition, Formatting Papers, how to teach writing and grade writing, etc.

Marcia Somerville Writing Workshop (2 seminars on CD on teaching/grading writing)

Jensen's Format Writing

Put That in Writing level I or level II

Writer's Inc. (writing and formating resource book)

http://owl.english.purdue.edu/ (free online writing resource)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It sounds like you really have the tools you need already with you--you have a love of literature and an ability to understand the literary devices used to make writing beautiful. As you look at pieces together, you can point out plot development, generally accepted archtypes as they come up, figures of speech and sound devices. You can also learn about the author's life and the time in which he wrote and discuss how these factors may have affected his writing. You would be amazed also at how you can review sound devices and figures of speech in music, advertisements and movies. Your child can make charts where she maps the plot of a literary piece or a film you experienced together; you can begin a "shopping list" of figures of speech and post them on a wall in your classroom (or in a notebook) as you and your child come across them in everyday life or in literature. I think teaching lit. analysis is more about giving your child the vocabulary to identify something with which she is already familiar. Certainly writing plays an important part in analysis, but if you are looking for a starting place, you may want to begin with just some general terms and examples. A book for you that is the most comprehensive I have seen on analysis is A Handbook to Critical Approaches to Literature (Harper & Row, publishers). It covers more than 15 methods of analysis.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While literary analysis is really a solid rhetoric stage skill, there are things you can be doing as stepping stones into literary analysis with young children. Check out past threads (below) on literary analysis with elementary aged students. Enjoy your literature journey together as a family! Warmest regards, Lori D.

 

Literary Analysis

Book to teach ME literary analysis?

Literary Analysis... talk to me

Literary Analysis?

Teaching literary elements??

What's a good first book to do literary analysis with?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you so much to everyone who has taken the time to respond!

 

Any input regarding teaching how to cite their work? Again, I have to use APA style and, frankly, I just bought a software program that does it for me.

 

Does anyone know the common style for citing references in most high school and undergraduate programs?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
http://hrsbstaff.ednet.ns.ca/mshaw/Revised_Analysis_Sheets%5B.pdf

 

Jill Pike has a syllabus for using IEW WTTW and Teaching the Classics in the IEW Families Yahoo group files for $10 - you can look at the whole thing for free.

 

Thanks! I was searching the IEW site today for something else and came across this. I'm glad to hear positive things about it from you and a few others who have been kind enough to respond to my post. We've had very good success so far with IEW, so the teaching style should be familiar if we go this route.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Does anyone know the common style for citing references in most high school and undergraduate programs?

 

MLA is common but not universal. If you're lucky the college will dictate one, otherwise individual professors will choose for their individual class. We went with MLA because there were many copies available free, but I plan on telling dc to ask in their freshman English class.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Regarding formats: Writers, INC (a very good writing handbook I've had for a few years now) has a section that covers both MLA and APA formats quite thoroughly. I don't know which is typically used in high school or for undergrad, but Dd has used IEW History-based writing lessons and I believe Volume 1 introduced MLA Format.

 

Regarding literary analysis: The best literary analysis curriculum for high school that I've found is IEW's Windows to the World. Dd is using it this year in 9th grade, and I've been very pleased. As Lori D. said, it teaches annotation, and it does a good job teaching analysis and how to write a literary analysis essay. Dd also did Lightning Lit 7 & 8, which were very good, gentle introductions to the basics. I only wish I'd found these resources sooner...

Ds did Stobaugh's Skills for Literary Analysis in 9th. I wouldn't recommend it unless you already have extensive knowledge of literary analysis (and essay writing) yourself, and can easily lead your child in discussions about literary elements. Stobaugh does not provide much teaching support beyond a general framework. Usually the teacher instructions are boiler plate from chapter to chapter and run along the lines of "Discuss {literary element} with your student using examples from current movies, books, etc." For me, with practically no literary background, this was difficult. It also lacks clear guidance in how to write a literary analysis essay. The general guidelines are there--introduction, thesis statement, 3 points supported by examples, conclusion--but it doesn't teach HOW to come up with content to write for any of these things. The sample essays aren't helpful--they are often poorly written and usually don't seem to demonstrate the lesson at hand (in one case, the sample essay is an example of what NOT to do! Sigh.)

Ds and I struggled along to the end, as I knew of no other curriculum to try (didn't even know about the WTM boards then.) We used Star Trek and Redwall for a lot of our discussions, and with extensive help from me ds went from staring at a blank page to being able to write some semblance of a literary analysis essay. The books and readings were good, and ds put together a nice-looking portfolio at the end. I just wish the learning had been better.

This year (ds's senior year--we did Omnibus for 2 years inbetween), I've had ds use the online Glencoe literature guides for several of the books he's done for literature. These have really been excellent in providing good discussion questions and good writing topics. We turned to IEW in 10th and the Elegant Essay in 11th for essay writing instruction, and this year I've had ds look a bit at Windows to the World to see some of the pieces he missed.

HTH

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This info is in some of the other threads, but just in case you miss it I wanted to mention it here.

 

Available online to download, it is easy to do.

 

She does lectures on writing which are also helpful.....

 

Oh yes, my son has been using the MLA style..

 

Joan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would take a look at Windows to the World.

 

There are samples for you to look at, and I believe that all IEW materials come with a money-back guarantee; you can take a look at them and return them if it's not what you want. Unlike most titles that I have looked at, WttW actually teachers the student to write in her books. And then Lesha takes them step-by-step through different types of Literary Analysis Essays. It's all pretty straight forward. If you already know how to do this, a quick flip, flip, flip through the books should let you know if this title will simplify or complicate the "teaching" end of this one for you and yours.

 

The two books set coupled with Susan Bauer's mp3's on Literary Analysis and High School Writing would be a great place to start. (Note: Susan's High School Writing talk includes guidance for items other than just writing a literature paper, but it did fill in gaps in my thinking. Well worth the four bucks IMO.)

 

Windows:

http://www.excellenceinwriting.com/ILA-T

 

Susan's Lecture on Literary Analysis - doesn't specifically cover the high-school end of this. (darn) BUT it does contain some good advice about the process of reading, thinking, chatting, and THEN writing. It made me re-think some of the ways I do things around here. And all of the re-thinking has been REALLY worth it. :001_smile: So you may or may not find it useful. I did!

http://www.welltrainedmind.com/store/what-is-literary-analysis-mp3.html

 

Susan's Lecture on High School Writing:

http://www.welltrainedmind.com/store/high-school-years-mp3.html

 

Just another perspective. :001_smile:

 

Peace,

Janice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Literary analysis requires that you get outside of a text (if only for a moment) and examine it as something more or less static and even pinned to a wall.

 

it's a great exercise, just like dissecting a frog or pinning a dead butterfly to a board can be, but please note that a dead frog is not a frog. It's a frog's body.

 

To know frogs you have to go to the pond. To know dogs you have to play with them. To know anything living you need to experience it as a living thing first.

 

As adults, we can easily forget how alive a book was for us and we can kill it right in front of our children by asking them to analyze it too soon.

 

So I agree with the attorney above (sorry, I can't find your name :confused: ) that it should begin with dialogue. That dialogue needs to cultivate the child's natural thinking ability and it needs to be done in a manner consistent with the nature of story.

 

So here's what I would suggest and what I try to do when I teach any story.

 

Ask your child whether any character should have done anything he did. After all, every story is about a person who does something because he decides to do something and there are reasons he does it and consequences for doing it. (Did you follow that?!).

 

For example, if I'm reading the story of Joseph, I might ask, "Should Joseph have served Potiphar faithfully?" Or if I'm reading The Lion the Witch and the Wardrope I might ask, Should Edmund have followed the white witch?

 

I don't want them to come up with an inspired answer but to think about both sides of the question (if there weren't two sides to the question there would not have been a story). So I follow up with, "Can you come up with reasons why he should have? Shouldn't have?" What ever position they take, I ask for reasons for that side. AND for the other side.

 

After a while I ask them to compare characters with each other. This can lead to some great insights into the question. It also gets them thinking - naturally and organically - about characters. Now character analysis isn't an abstract study in which they observe the book so they can complete a worksheet. Now it is a dynamic study in which they read the book because they want to know what a character was like and whether he should have done something.

 

Pretty soon I start asking more questions (all about the same main question), such as "What was going on at the time?" "What caused or prevented him from doing it?" "What consequences would follow doing or not doing it?" "What do you mean by X?" "who is x (e.g. Edmund, the white witch, etc."), etc.

 

This becomes a very laid back, relaxing way to teach a book because the questions are pretty simple and you aren't trying to tell your child what to think. instead you are giving him tools (questions) that he can use to think.

 

Right now, as an example, my ninth grade son is writing an essay on whether Achilles should have withdrawn from the battle in the Iliad. It's fun watching them take sides and get invested in their positions.

 

And meanwhile, they're not only beginning to do literary analysis, they are doing it for a reason that matters to them.

 

They get to play with the frog first. Later you can kill it and dissect it even more closely!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...