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What do you use for literature?


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What do you use for literature studies? We've been using Memoria lit guides (which I like) but they are becoming tedious. I would like to do something more Socratic like "Teaching the Classics" (Do I need the DVDS or can I just use the book...???) What other resources are people using for literature? Kolbe?? Deconstructing Penguins? And what great ideas so you all have for creating a "product" for the portfolio with out doing a written lit guide? What kind of projects, reports, graphic organizers etc... do you incorporate into literary conversation?


How does lit study look in your HS? (I'm thinking mid elementary level 4-6ish)

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We just read books and talk about them. This year we're also going to read short stories and talk about them. Oh, and we do poetry teas where we read poetry and talk about it.


I'm not trying to be glib exactly... Just to say if lit guides and a curricula works, great, but we like literature to be really no frills and I feel like it's plenty.

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I was going to suggest something but I see you have young ones, still.  Ambleside Online and Farrar suggestions are great.


I like MCT - Literature Guides for when you are ready for Sentence Island.  He has 1 or 2 quotes per chapter that he asks who said that and just some questions after reading the novel for suggestion for discussion.  We narrate the chapter and I give quotes of what a character says.  My son loves this guessing game.  It also leads to deeper discussion.


These suggestions are not far from the suggestions from other posters here.

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Thanks for the responses. My kids are going into 4th and 2nd (my sig is old :001_rolleyes:) I have really liked the structure of the MP guides and I kind of need *something* to satisfy the requirements for our area because I'm using literature as a "reading program." That's why I'm looking for something with a bit more structure than just discussion (not that there's anything wrong with that, and we do discuss the books but I need an artifact and a "course plan.") I will check out the MCT guides. - I've been thinking of doing a kind of structured readers' response journal but I was hoping that the work (i.e. outlining what kinds of structures and devices a kid should be reading for) was already done in another program.

Has anybody used Reading Strands?


Kathryn, tell me about Kolbe. Do you use the whole shabang or just the TM? How's it working for you? Are there writing assignments incorporated?

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My kids are the same ages as yours. We just read excellent books and talk about what we read. 

I do give DS copywork from our lit reading sometimes. They both narrate too, though not all the time by any means.  


I do have a lit list for DD, 4th grade, this year for the first time. Just 9 books. She will read far more than that, but  I have selected some particularly to keep her reading broadly. She chooses challenging works without needing any suggestions from me. 

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With ds, literature has centered around the books for book club each year. I went though TTC and Deconstructing Penguins before I began leading the book club when ds was in 3rd. Both are great resources to help you learn to lead discussion of all the major literary elements and some figurative language. I think the TTC

book might be enough.  Here is a graphic organizer I made for my book club participants to use. I think you could definitely have discussion with your child about each element, and then have him fill in the organizer with summaries. I think it would be good for a portfolio, but I don't live in a state that requires those. 




I love figurative language, and here is a graphic organizer activity that my group enjoyed very much. You choose any topic and write phrases or words centered around that topic. One of my favorite activities was to have the kids create a "figurative language cafe" menu. They had to use figurative language to name and describe all the dishes. 




Last year, I had my group put together an interactive notebook for literature. I found things on Pinterest and used the lapbook templates which are free from Homeschool Share's blog. I had them use a composition book and make a little encyclopedia of literary terms and devices as a reference. I wanted to include pages for them to do at home which were particular to each book (author info, questions to think about before and after reading, etc.), but few completed those pages. The encyclopedia part was done in class. 



As far as TTC goes, you might could buy the book and one of their Classics Club dvds to watch a discussion in action. They are cheaper, and you still get to see how it works. They also have teacher's guides for specific books which include all the socratic questions and their own chart for that specific book. They are very affordable and include suggested answers. I bought one for my very first book club discussion, and it really put my mind at ease. 


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Wow! Thanks Amy in GA!

Those G.O.'s are great I was thinking of making something like that but now I don't have to. Yours are better ;)  Also, I really like the idea of doing an encyclopedia of literary terms and devices. That's the kind of inspiration I need.  I don't think it would be too much work to include the Title, Author, Genre, etc...Maybe I will even incorporate some Copywork and/or narration into a Journal.


I'm glad to know that TTC will be enough and appropriate. I keep looking at it and wondering. I will also pick up a guide (probably The Cricket in Times Square) to check out.... I didn't even know there were guides, so thanks for the links too! :hurray:

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I'm kind of awake, so I'll go ahead and tell you about the notebook. 


I used these pages to plan the notebook out because it helps you keep straight which pages will actually be facing each other. I did a lot of looking on Pinterest for the ideas of what to put on the pages. I found a lot under interactive notebooks. 


After the title page the kids designed themselves, I included the following.

Log of books read (2 pages)

List of Books I Want to Read

Title page for Literary Elements


Point of View



Characters (Protagonist, Antagonist, Foil)

Character Traits (asked them to list traits as they found them in their books read)

2 pages of Types of Characters (Round/Flat, Dynamic/Static)

Author's Purpose


Some blank pages in case there were others I wanted to do

Title page for Literary Devices

This section was definitions and some examples of


















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Lol! I literally just woke up thinking about what I would include and then opened the computer and Voila!!! That's a fantastic list and I think very appropriate to the level of my oldest ds - (really to many levels.) The planning sheets are a great idea too. This is awesome.


I think I will use the front of the notebook like this:

3 pages for each reading book to include Title, Author, Genre, main characters (pro/antagonist,) short summary of the story line (1-2 paragraphs,) a quote and then an example of 1 literary device and 1 literary element from the book. [And one page for a picture :)] Then I will create a glossary of elements and a glossary of terms in the back of the book where my ds can write the definitions. I'm going to get to planning my notebook straight away :thumbup:


Thanks for your help Amy in GA - that's exactly the kind of info I was looking for!

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Trying Mosdos this year as well, for 5th grade. I am using the TM, but only because I found a stellar deal on it. Super excited to get started!

Curious about your stellar deal.  Would you care to share what it was. Maybe I can be on the look out for next year.

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We use... a stack of high quality children's literature. And discussion.


If I had to keep records I'd probably just include the booklist and a short description of how we do lit analysis orally.


For what it's worth, this method has produced strong readers who were more than ready for full-size Great Book courses by 9th grade.

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