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Literature Analysis ~ When do you teach it?

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I am noticing that TWTM really does not suggest teaching analysis as far as teaching literature  terms like foreshadowing, hyperbole ect....  Or am I missing something?  I have been looking at Christian Light Reading and it teaches a ton of literature analysis/terms.  I have not seen these types of things in any other program thus far.  Is it important to learn this stuff or should I just let my kids continue to just read the books and discuss them with me?

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You might find Susan Wise-Bauer's audio download ($4), and free workshop summary handout  helpful.


I always recommend caution and knowing each student very well before formalizing literature studies, as for some younger students, it can kill a love for books, or turn reading literature into a "checklist" of literary elements to find, or turn literature studies into something like a "math equation to solve". ;)


Andrew Kern's free audio download of "Teaching Literature Without Killing It" might be a good place to start as a balanced perspective… (scroll down the list about 3/4 of the way; it is the first title in the section "free selections from 2012 conference")



Similar to Upennmama, we did not do a more formal introduction to literary terms until about 6th-7th grade (we also used Figuratively Speaking, as well as Prose & Poetry), and more more beginning literary analysis/discussions until about 7th-8th grade. 


Specific Literary Element Resources:
Suppose the Wolf Were an Octopus (by grade level, K and up)
Story Elements (by grade level, 1st and up)
Teaching Story Elements with Favorite Books (gr. 1-3)
Teaching Story Elements with Short Stories (gr. 4-8)
Figuratively Speaking (gr. 5-8)
Prose and Poetry (gr. 6-9)

Book Examples of Specific Literary Elements
Books to Teach Literary Terms -- list from the Archer Street School Library
Literary Elements in Picture Books -- list from Spring Branch Independent School District

Programs for Teaching/Incorporating Literary Discussions:
Michael Clay Thompson: Literature Program
Christian Light Education (CLE) Reading -- workbook-based; by grade level, gr. 4 and up teach literary analysis
Classics in the Classroom
Teaching the Classics -- program for parent to learn how to discuss literature through Socratic questions

Art of Poetry (gr. 6-12) -- poetry appreciation and beginning analysis

Past threads on literary analysis for elementary students:
Figures of speech -- when to introduce these?
DD (10yo) wants to do literary analysis

Edited by Lori D.
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Developmentally it is most appropriate in the middle stages of development, which many kids are hitting from 10-13. It varies a bit but when they're moving from straight fact assimilation and starting to think more deeply and make connections in dialogue it's great to add that into your reading.


Prior to that the questions focus more on concrete things, like who did something or where the story took place. Deeper analysis can be a bit problematic as little kids try to systematize it instead of actually thinking inductively. But it truly does vary - some children seem to hit his much earlier or later in terms of readiness.

Edited by Arctic Mama
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Developmentally it is most appropriate in the middle stages of development, which many kids are hitting from 10-13. It varies a bit but when they're of of fact assimilation and starting to think more deeply and make connections in dialogue it's great to add that into your reading.


Yes -- and I'd even back that up to more like age 12-14 for the average student. Analysis requires that the logic and abstract thinking portions of the brain have begun to develop and on average, that starts about age 13-14. 


At least that's what I'm seeing is much more the norm in my gr. 7-12 Literature and Composition co-op classes. Even kids who really enjoy reading, are strong readers, are good thinkers, and whose families have covered literary elements in the elementary/early middle school grades, are really only just beginning to "click" at age 12 or so with what these literary devices are, how to see them, and esp. what they are doing in the Literature.


So introducing literary elements at age 11, 12, 13 (early middle school) in prep for starting to use those tools along about age 13, 14, 15 (late middle school/early high school), is a great natural progression for the average student. :)

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Agreed. And sometimes the click is almost audible :p


I can usually tell when the conversation and questions begins to shift deeper to motivations or themes instead of just facts.

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I like Figuratively Speaking a lot. I just don't know if it's enough for retention *for my kids* when there are just a few pages of exercises per concept...unless I were to work really hard myself to work it into whatever lit we are reading... again and again. I find CLE a lot less work for me with all the review. And I like that it takes only half a year so there's time for reading real lit.

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CLE does cover it ALL... It is very thorough.  We are using the CLE LA 7  and one of the light units is a novel study... so she would basically apply everything she would learn from CLE Reading to a novel.  I think that is the route I will go for now.  I don't think I will have her do the workbook as intended for reading, but use it as a discussion guide.  She tends to retain things when discussions are involved rather than just filling in a workbook.  


I am ordering Fig. Speaking though... looks like a wonderful resource to have on hand!

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The AP exams never wanted to impact high school class content, but it is inevitable that they did. More surprisingly, whatever is on the AP exams now becomes the final goal, and the AP exams now leak all the way to Kindergarten.


College used to be college. Literary analysis was tertiary education, that was only studied by the minority and as a capstone to previous studies. College used to have less effect on the primary, elementary, and secondary education. There was more focus on what children needed to know to function in their world better and their developmental readiness. Now education is one big race to the AP. Sometimes this model is top-heavy and impractical and inefficient and ungrounding and invalidating.


HOMEschooling used to be an extension of the HOME. Now many people homeSCHOOL. It is an OPTION to drag college/AP literature analysis into primary-secondary education, but it is not THE way to read and discuss books.


Who are YOU? What is important to you? What is your holy book and how do other books join the conversation started by your holy book? If you are a HOMEschooler, then there may be more important things to discuss than AP literature terms.


I'm taking a break from tutoring right now. But, if I tutor again, it is incredibly unlikely I will take the time to teach AP lit style terms. I got a whole lot of other things I would want to share with a student first. AP lit terms are like using an Inuit language with lots of words to describe snow to talk to some children living on an island. I choose to use a language/terms that fit my environment. I got lots and lots to say, but not about all the different kinds of snow to island kids.

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