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Need help making a very tiny literature list for Middle Ages/Ren/Ref

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This is for rising 6th grade dd. I am so bad about trying to do too much. So I just want to choose maybe 4-5 in-depth lit books to cover for the year, and have quality over quantity. (Lit, not historical fiction-she will read some historical fiction on her own.)


Song of Roland is so long, Beowulf is too violent for her, Canterbury Tales-eh....and anyway, aren't these all kind of hard for 6th grade? She is advanced and I know the ps is doing Beowulf in gifted classes, so I feel I should do something along those lines for difficulty.


I will definitely do a Shakespeare, probably a comedy.


She's going to read King Arthur (Green) and Robin Hood (Pyle).


We're also doing small portions of LL7 and BJU Lit 7, but I would like a few tied in with our history. Thanks!

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What about:


The Prince and the Pauper

Otto of the Silver Hand (Pyle)

Joan of Arc biography by Mark Twain

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

Canterbury Tales retelling by Geraldine McCaughrean


Also, maybe look for a good retelling of the Faerie Queen?

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6th grade is a great age to use Garfield's Shakespeare Stories prior to watching a production. (FWIW, my dd loved Patrick Stewart's Hamlet last yr.) http://www.amazon.com/Shakespeare-Stories-Leon-Garfield/dp/0395861403/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1311506999&sr=8-1


Sir Gawain and the Green Knight as an audio has been enjoyed by my kids at that age.


FWIW, just b/c it can be done doesn't mean that it needs to be. ;) I think that the interest level for a 6th grader is very important. My dd is capable of reading adult books, but she doesn't like to. She is much happier reading books like Pyle or Sutcliff versions and doing performances or audios of classics. If I was going to choose a title, I would probably choose Song of Roland.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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In-Depth Literature ideas:


First Quarter of School Year:

1. Farmer Giles of Ham (Tolkien) -- short story

2. Smith of Wooten Major (Tolkien) -- short story

3. Canterbury Tales: The Nun's Priest's Tale (McCaughrean) -- abridged retelling; short story length; very fable-like

4. Canterbury Tales: The Pardoner's Tale (McCaughrean) -- abridged retelling; short story length; very folktale-like

5. several Shakespeare sonnets


Second Quarter of the School Year:

6. King Arthur (Green) -- young adult nov


Third Quarter of the School Year:

7. Robin Hood (Pyle) -- young adult nov


Fourth Quarter of the School Year:

8. The Great and Terrible Quest (Lovett) -- young adult novel


When it Works Out During the Year (maybe one per semester:

watch the plays rather than read them -- the day before, go over a summary of the plot and characters and things to look for/listen for, and then the day after discuss the play


9. Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare) -- comedy

10. Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare) -- tragedy



Historical Fiction ideas:

- Catherine Called Birdy -- OR -- The Midwife's Apprentice (Cushman)

- Otto of the Silver Hand (Pyle)

- The Door in the Wall (De Angeli)

- Adam of the Road (Gray)

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The Once and Future King is one of my favorites for the Medieval period. Obviously a very fictional account - but really - they all are :)

Perhaps Robin Hood?

Two Shakespeare plays (find two you think she would like) would be perfect for Ren. Maybe the Crucible as well....

Now for the Reformation, Erasmus' Praise of Folly. I know it sounds a bit much - but I think a lot can be garnered from it - especially about the background for the Reformation. It is also pretty darn funny, and rather short. You could seriously study most of the Reformation themes using chapters/sections of this book in a very interresting way. Erasmus would also be a great person to do a biographical study on. He was a VERY interresting figure at the time.

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If you're looking to do Shakespeare, my dd loves the Ambrose productions. You can stream them online or find them at your library. We've been watching the comic selections (Merchant of Venice, Midsummer Night's Dream, etc.), and she loves the humor in them. There are usually free lit guides for them online if you google. We'll use the guide and pause to discuss between scenes. I never connected with Shakespeare in the way she does, so it's marvelous to see in her. Like 8, I think it's good to have read pre-cursor versions. She has read of course Garfield, Lamb, and the usual suspects, but we also have this really good comic-style series by Oxford. I got it from VP, so maybe they still have it.


You know you could also look at the VP catalog and select books they mark with a +...


BTW, I copped out on the Middle Ages and finally let her do the online, self-paced class from VP. She loved it.

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Thanks SO much-I am much more excited after reading some of the suggestions here. They seem much more appealing. Level-wise, she can handle more, but really, I want it to catch her interest too. I can't wait to look into these recommendations!


As for Shakespeare, she has been a big fan of the Bard since she was six and we read several children's versions of Midsummer N's Dream before seeing the ballet. Since then we've seen the full stage production of it three times, and we've read Lamb and Garfield (LOVE them both) and watched Ambrose for several other plays before seeing the full length. We've mostly just done comedies though. We just last week read the Lamb and Garfield and then saw a local full-length production of Merchant of Venice! We have the "comic book" one for M'summer Night's Dream that OhE mentioned from VP; maybe we should do Garfield and the "comic book" of Romeo and Juliet or Hamlet; that would bump it up a bit.


Lori-thank you for breaking it out by quarters-that is exactly what I need to do. I had just ordered the McCaughrean Cant. Tales from library to look over; I like your sensible idea of just picking a COUPLE of them to read.

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