Jump to content


How do you approach literature?

Recommended Posts

My guess is that this topic has already been covered but I wasn't even sure how to search for it. So, I'm very open to just having a link posted with a prior discussion.:)


How do you approach literature with your high schooler? Do you do a year of American, a year of British, etc.? How do you organize the course? How do you choose which books to read? Do you use a curriculum to help with analysis?


I admit to being pretty dense here.:lol: I am not good at analyzing literature. My son and I are reading Farenheit 451 right now and I confess that I'm having a hard time really following the story and picking up on everything I should be picking up on.


We have used several Progeny Press guides which have been very helpful. We're using the one for Farenheit 451 right now. However, there are only so many of those guides.


I would be very thankful for any guidance I can get on this. We'll be in 10th grade this year.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I used the WTM way of tying lit to history, for our first two years, anyway. I went with Omnibus 1 and 2, tweaking a lot. I went with interest-led history/lit for grade 11, so we used Sonlight 300, again, with tweaking. I didn't care for the Sonlight commentary, so we used mainly Cliffsnotes and Sparknotes, as well as just discussion.

This last semester, we are doing 50 short stories, and filling in some gaps, so that, if I have to arrange ds' transcript in typical American Lit, Brit Lit, World Lit order, I can. We are also using Progeny Press poetry for a good overview.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What I am doing is choosing lit that will be read/studied for analysis purposes and lit that will be read to help with the study of history. Sometimes there is a mixing but not always. This year we are studying US history and there are and most of the lit that is being read for analysis is from American authors but not all is. My oldest ds loves fantasy books and loves C.S. Lewis so one of the books to be analyzed is by George McDonald because of his influence on Lewis and we have a couple of pieces of Shakespeare that are being studied.


I can handle it this way because our transcript will an accumulative transcript. All the books read by US authors will be place on a list of US authors and all the Brits will be on a Brits list and world will be on a world list and the boys will get credit for US lit, British Lit, and World Lit. In the future I might put together a Brit only list ,etc... but last year we had a mixed list that was read only and this year we have a mixed list that will be analyzed. So far the approach that I like the best is Teaching the Classics, http://www.centerforlit.com


That written my boys are visual spacial thinkers and do not fall into the WTM mold perfectly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"see" what we would not have seen before in longer works of literature. Take a look at CLE reading 7 for your younger dc.


For your older dc I recommend IEW Windows to the World. Once you have practice analyzing short stories and poems then it's easier with longer novels. You could also use the online free study guides for many novels - Sparknotes, etc (google search).



Here's what's included in CLE reading 7:

SUNRISE READING 700 – The Road Less Traveled



Labeling similes and metaphors

Interpreting similes and metaphors

Identifying the main ideas of paragraphs

Learning to form correct mind pictures from the story

Reviewing alliteration

Working with the Latin word parts

co-, con-, com-, col-

Learning about theme

Learning about imagery in poetry

Studying etymologies of words

Identifying internal and external


Learning to accept differences in


Working with personification

Working with the Latin prefix pro-

Learning to correctly read poetry

Reviewing mood in a poem

Working with humor in a story

Interpreting various dialects

Learning good judgment in reading

Learning about symbols

Working with the Latin word part


Studying about history and legend

Working with rhyme scheme in poetry

Learning qualities of parables

Thinking about fads

Studying humor in language

Reviewing internal and external conflict


Studying various Latin roots

Writing paraphrases

Identifying allusions in a story

Reviewing onomatopoeia

Working with the Greek word auto-

Finding where something is first introduced

Observing characters’ various reactions to a problem

Identifying the conflict

Working with story plot

Determining the importance of story

details to the plot

Thinking about heroes

Marking rhyme scheme

Identifying alliteration

Working with an expanded metaphor

Interpreting the story

Using context clues to define words

Thinking about right and wrong ways

to treat people

Working with the word part uni-

Learning about monologue

Interpreting figures of speech

Working with setting and mood

Determining rhyme scheme

Learning about and writing a parody

Practicing clear thinking

Making inferences

Determining character from speech

and actions

Reviewing static and dynamic characters

Organizing a paragraph in sequence


Developing good diction

Choosing words with good connotation

Working with imagery

Marking meter in a poem

Working with the word part peri-

Working with setting and plot

Reviewing conflict, crisis, climax, and


Writing the story from a different point

of view


Classifying related items from the


Working with the Greek word part tele-

Writing a basic outline of the story

Choosing correct descriptions of characters

Using context clues to find vocabulary


Working with metaphors

Marking rhythm pattern

Using the dictionary

Working with figures of speech

Determining broad and specific setting

Working with conflict and crisis

Finding vivid descriptions

Working with the Greek word phobos

Reviewing expanded metaphor

Interpreting symbols

Thinking about prejudice

Communicating clearly

Determining the reason for happenings

Working with the word part aqua-

Identifying setting and plot

Deciding which details are important to

the plot

Learning to think about what you hear

Writing rhyme scheme

Learning about eye rhyme

Interpreting the poem

Reviewing prejudice

Thinking about personal responsibility

Working with irony

Working with the theme of the reader


Reviewing characteristics of parables

Choosing the correct paraphrase

Comparing two similar stories

Classifying items

Working with the Greek word bios-

Making analogies

Learning the difference between imply

and infer

Finding allusions

Interpreting unfamiliar terms

Recognizing faulty thinking

Determining premise and conclusion

Learning about parallels in poetry

Identifying figures of speech

Working with the root word solus

Working with the Greek word part geo-

Working with the Latin word scribere

Identifying premise and conclusion

Learning about four reasoning


Working with plot

Interpreting the image in the poem

Marking rhyme scheme

Writing contrasting parallels

Working with the Greek word chronos-

Thinking about fairness

Marking rhythm pattern

Matching synonyms


Defining stoop

Reviewing clear thinking

Working with the suffix -ism

Interpreting the metaphor

Learning about free verse

Dividing a poem into stanzas

Identifying faulty thinking

Reviewing conflict

Working with the Greek word micro-

Dividing a poem into stanzas

Writing clear sentences

Thinking about racism

Thinking about slavery

Reviewing irony

Learning about sarcasm

Determining setting

Making inferences

Reviewing premise and conclusion

Reviewing various word parts

Reviewing metered and free verse

Comparing and contrasting characters

Thinking about consequences of sin

Determining the symbol in the story

Choosing synonyms

Finding similes and metaphors

Working with the word part inter-

Considering different points of view

Matching themes with story titles

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I used WTM/WEM with my older dd in 9th gr. It provided me with all that I needed for a well-rounded study of history/Great Books. If we ever got stuck on anything, Sparknotes came to the rescue. We both enjoyed our history studies that year. I had begun the year with Omnibus I, but it was not a good fit for us. I wanted something that did not do most of the thinking for us.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I recommend it for your literature studies. They divide their studies into 4 eras. With each one, they have reading assignments of great works. THEY have done all the work for you, the teacher/parent, and provide information for you to read through during each week while your student reads his/her works. You have discussion time. Your children learn (as rhetoric level students) how to fully analyze literature. You will cover world literature, medieval, American, etc.; it'll just be sometimes a mixture, depending on the timeframe you are studying. I like doing literature this way and it is also the "Well-Trained Mind way" just with a structured curriculum to help you work through it with your student to make the most out of it.


I had trouble really helping my daughter make the most of her great reading ability and interest and being able to give her meaningful writing assignments to go along with all that she was reading all the time. TOG takes all the guesswork out of it for me. She was challenged this year and looks at things she reads even more deeply and carefully than before.


Take a serious look at the Lampstand Press website and TOG curriculum. It is a curric. that includes history, etc., but you pick and choose out of it what exactly you want to use.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you all for the help, especially the Teaching the Classics link. That looks great!


I'm thinking of doing mostly American lit. this year because he is taking US History (through The Potter's School). Now I'm trying to come up with a list of what to read.;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You might also search for a post from Nan in Mass, on her use of TWEM (The Well-Educated Mind) to discuss the literature of her choosing with her sons. Her method inspires me! (Sorry, I don't know how to put a link to that thread in here:confused: - still learning the boards).


Cindy in Indy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...