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What should we use for literature (11th grade)?


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We will be doing Crash Course World History with worksheets/tests for history (since sometimes lit. is matched to history).  Dd just had neuropsych evals.  She doesn't have dyslexia as such and has good comprehension etc. but she has some tracking issues (which the neuropsych couldn't specifically explain) and so has a hard time reading.  She reads at a solid 9th grade level.  She also has considerable trouble with writing and is writing at a 5th grade level (at least for the test - in practice it is a bit higher and she has written essays for me but not fullblown research papers and she is slow as molasses.  Any ideas of what we should do for literature?  Of course, what I used for ds at this age won't work for dd. . . .

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Do you *want* to match up the History and Lit.? Or would you prefer to do some books that are inspiring/important to *you* that you'd like to have the opportunity to share with DD in your shrinking "window of opportunity" that is 11th grade? Or, what kind of books does DD like? I'd vote for a "DIY" year of Lit. to fuel her interest and give her practice/confidence. Or what about keeping the reading gentle by going with a number of short stories, and then focus your analysis/discussion for watching some plays and faithful film versions of classics that you'd like DD to have a working knowledge of?

As far as writing: I have had older high school students also writing at below middle school levels. What seems to help is getting solid at what goes into a single paragraph, and then after doing that for weeks, writing a variety of types of essays (definition, compare/contrast, process, analysis, etc.). Then we move to a few 3-5 paragraph essays, where you are expanding the individual sentences needed for a complete paragraph into their own complete paragraphs.

I've also had struggling writer students do very short research papers of 2 pages (in the double space MLA format), so about 400-500 words. We just take it one "bite" at a time and take 8 weeks to complete the process. But at the end, they have researched, come up with a solid introductory paragraph that includes the thesis statement (topic, claim, direction), 3 points of support (each in its own paragraph of a topic sentence, sentences of detail/support, commentary sentence (if needed), and concluding sentence), and a concluding paragraph.

All that to say, slow as molasses is okay! Quality over quantity is what's important.

You might take a look at Sharon Watson's The Power in Your Hands (gr. 8-12 writing program). You can just slow it down, or shorten the assignments to accommodate DD's current working level. But Watson's informal tone is such that I think your DD could handle the ideas presented and the level of writing instruction.

Just some rambling ideas! Warmest regards, Lori D.

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13 hours ago, Lori D. said:

Do you *want* to match up the History and Lit.? Or would you prefer to do some books that are inspiring/important to *you* that you'd like to have the opportunity to share with DD in your shrinking "window of opportunity" that is 11th grade? Or, what kind of books does DD like? I'd vote for a "DIY" year of Lit. to fuel her interest and give her practice/confidence. Or what about keeping the reading gentle by going with a number of short stories, and then focus your analysis/discussion for watching some plays and faithful film versions of classics that you'd like DD to have a working knowledge of?

As far as writing: I have had older high school students also writing at below middle school levels. What seems to help is getting solid at what goes into a single paragraph, and then after doing that for weeks, writing a variety of types of essays (definition, compare/contrast, process, analysis, etc.). Then we move to a few 3-5 paragraph essays, where you are expanding the individual sentences needed for a complete paragraph into their own complete paragraphs.

I've also had struggling writer students do very short research papers of 2 pages (in the double space MLA format), so about 400-500 words. We just take it one "bite" at a time and take 8 weeks to complete the process. But at the end, they have researched, come up with a solid introductory paragraph that includes the thesis statement (topic, claim, direction), 3 points of support (each in its own paragraph of a topic sentence, sentences of detail/support, commentary sentence (if needed), and concluding sentence), and a concluding paragraph.

All that to say, slow as molasses is okay! Quality over quantity is what's important.

You might take a look at Sharon Watson's The Power in Your Hands (gr. 8-12 writing program). You can just slow it down, or shorten the assignments to accommodate DD's current working level. But Watson's informal tone is such that I think your DD could handle the ideas presented and the level of writing instruction.

Just some rambling ideas! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Despite having trouble with reading, she is a voracious reader.  She reads a lot of dystopian books.  The last two years we did more interest led/ dystopian focus.  This year I really want to get some classics into her.

She actually can write a 5 paragraph essay with some facility even if they don't have a lot of imagination.  That's why I personally would put her a bit higher than fifth grade level.  She's started to do some papers with footnotes. 

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Ds was in brick and mortar school where his English teacher brought in a box of what she considered “classics” and let the kids go through the books and choose what appealed to them. Then they had to write about the book including explaining what made it a “classic”. 

You could perhaps do similar at a classic section of a brick and mortar bookstore. 

Edited by Pen
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On 9/1/2018 at 9:21 AM, Jean in Newcastle said:

Despite having trouble with reading, she is a voracious reader.  She reads a lot of dystopian books.  The last two years we did more interest led/ dystopian focus.  This year I really want to get some classics into her...


The series of programs of Excellence in Literature covers classics. It is a writing-heavy Lit. program, but you could easily adapt it and reduce the volume of assignments and length of assignments to fit your DD. It roughly covers 1 work per month (9 units, and 9 months of the school year), but you can also adapt that to fit you need -- drop a unit or two, or just decide to take a full year to complete the program. There is also an optional "Honors" for additional reading, but I would guess that you could substitute those book selections for the title in the regular unit if you would prefer to do the Honors title. Most frequently, the Honors title is a different title by the same author.

BJUP covers excerpts of classics (although you can go ahead and read the full works), and it is very thorough, but probably way too much teaching info and depth. Lightning Lit is probably a good match writing-wise (not heavy), but each 1-semester program is hyper-focused on such a narrow time period/area that it includes "secondary" works along with classic works -- more than what you might like. And we found LLATL to be frustratingly lite on teaching info about literature topics and analysis -- the program is a good fit for a motivated independent learner, as it is mostly about leaving it up to the student to research and learn about the work, and to think about the work. It might be a fit if just wanting general exposure to classic works, without worrying about digging into the works very deeply.

Perhaps go DIY, by coming up with a list of "classics most frequently covered in high school" from college-bound reading lists, or "top 100 lists". Below are a few titles that are easier reads to get you started, and below that are some links to reading lists to give you ideas. If you'd like lit. guides to go with individual titles, these are all more helpful/meaty:
Glencoe Literature Library -- free, online
Penguin Teacher Guides -- free, online
Garlic Press Discovering Literature: Challenger level guides

classics that are gentle in writing style/sentence structure
To Kill a Mockingbird (Lee)
Animal Farm (Orwell)
The Old Man and the Sea (Hemingway)
The Pearl (Steinbeck)
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Carroll)
The Outsiders (Hinton)

classics that are the next step up, vocabulary/sentence structure wise:
The Hobbit (Tolkien)
Treasure Island (Stevenson)
Call of the Wild (London)
Jane Eyre (Bronte)
Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Twain)
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Twain)
Frankenstein (Shelley)
Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (Stevenson)

College-bound booklists, if going the DIY route for English:
College Board: 100 Great Books for College-Bound Readers
Great Schools: 101 Books for College-Bound Kids
Arrowhead Library System: College-Bound Reading List

Literature most commonly-covered in high school:
21 Classics You Probably Read in High School
Literary Pursuit: Top 10 Most-Taught Books in High School

30 Books Most Commonly Covered in High School (in chronological order of when written)
The Iliad (Homer) and/or The Odyssey (Homer)
Shakespeare plays -- do a tragedy and a comedy
Pride and Prejudice (Austen) -- or other Jane Austen work
Frankenstein (Shelley)
Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights (Bronte)
The Scarlet Letter or The House of Seven Gables (Hawthorne)
a short story by Edgar Allen Poe
something by Herman Melville -- usually: Moby Dick or Billy Budd or Bartleby the Scrivner
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
something by Charles Dickens -- usually: Great Expectations or Tale of Two Cities or David Copperfield or A Christmas Carol
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Twain) -- and do Tom Sawyer first, if not already done
Treasure Island (Stevenson)
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Stevenson)
The Red Badge of Courage (Crane) -- or possibly his short story "The Open Boat"
Call of the Wild (London)
All Quiet on the Western Front (Remarque)
The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
Brave New World (Huxley)
Animal Farm (Orwell)
1984 (Orwell)
Lord of the Rings trilogy (Tolkien)
Catcher in the Rye (Salinger)
something by Ernest Hemingway -- usually The Old Man and the Sea or A Farewell to Arms or a short story
To Kill A Mockingbird (Lee)
something by John Steinbeck -- usually: The Grapes of Wrath or Of Mice and Men or The Pearl
The Diary of Anne Frank (Frank)
Lord of the Flies (Goldman)
choice of an American play
Cry the Beloved Country (Paten) or Things Fall Apart (Achebe)
Farenheit 451 (Bradbury)

 

On 9/1/2018 at 9:21 AM, Jean in Newcastle said:

She actually can write a 5 paragraph essay with some facility even if they don't have a lot of imagination.  That's why I personally would put her a bit higher than fifth grade level.  She's started to do some papers with footnotes. 


Just from what I see with my own DSs and my Lit. & Comp co-op classes, I would rank "the ability to write a 5-paragraph essay with some facility" as writing at the level of an average 8th-9th grader. The average 5th grader is just beginning to learn what goes into a paragraph and how to write a complete paragraph. And most of my high school students (whether grade 9 or grade 12) have never done a research paper before hitting my classes. So I don't think your DD is really very behind in writing. 😉

Also, just a side note about footnotes: a majority of college papers tend to be written in MLA or APA format, which have moved away from footnotes, and instead use in-text citations (also called "parenthetical citations"), which are very brief (author last name and page #) citations that occur within the paragraph, right next to the piece of information that is being cited. These citations are also fully fleshed out with full citations at the end of the paper as either a Works Cited page (MLA) or Bibliography (APA). I find that the OWL (Online Writing Lab) at Purdue website is a wealth of information about all kinds of writing topics, including formatting in MLA, APA and Chicago styles. 😀

Edited by Lori D.
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Just thinking "aloud" here:

She's read:  The Outsiders

Alice in Wonderland (as a read aloud)

The Hobbit

LOTR

She's seen a number of Shakespeare Plays (The Tempest, Midsomer's Night Dream, Much ado About Nothing, King Lear and Henry V)

Kidnapped by RLS

Diary of Anne Frank

Farenheit 451 (which is one of her favorites)

Into the Wild (Krakauer)

The House of the Scorpion (don't know if that qualifies as a classic)

I'm pretty sure she read Gulliver's Travels and A Brave New World on her own but I don't know how much she got out of them.

The Giver

Where the Red Fern Grows

My Side of the Mountain

The Hunger Games triology

We use the OWL site a lot for writing. 

 

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So, it sounds like you have been getting some exposure to classics -- yea! (:D

Perhaps it's time to make a list of the top 12 works you want to make sure that the 2 of get through before the end of graduation? And you could make an additional list of works that you could watch (and discuss?), so she'll have familiarity with more major classics and understand the cultural references. I'm thinking of some works by Dickens and Austen, for example.

I can't quite discern from your posts: do you think you'd like to "do-it-yourself' (possibly with individual lit. guides)? Or do you prefer to have a program? Or would DD prefer live discussion with a class? There are pros and cons to each option.

Also, wasn't quite sure if you would prefer to match the lit. with your World History... Or if you would prefer to "gentle step up" with classics... Or if you'd prefer to just make a list of classics you want to cover in high school in order of most desired first, and on-down, and get to as many as works out in the next 2 years...

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16 hours ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

 


lol. Too many great books, programs, and options. I know! (:D

BTW -- I do see that Excellence in Literature has a World Literature that could be used with a World History overview, but *man* are those some LONG, STOUT reading selections, as it includes doing the full versions of The Odyssey, The Aeneid, Don Quixote, Les Miserables, and Faust -- plus 4 other works! [insert fainting emoji]. 

HOWEVER, if preferring a program, you might actually take a look at the LLATL: Gold: World Lit. That is the one volume I do NOT have personal experience with (we used bits of the American and British Lit volumes), and it looks to have more direct teaching instruction than the other 2 high school volumes. And, it covers works that would fit in nicely with your World History, as it shoots for works from different times and different nations, and is divided into 5 units that also try to cover different types of Literature. It looks like quite a few works are done as excerpts rather than complete works -- but that would give you a broader exposure and familiarity to more classics...

Early Literature
- myths, fairytales, folktales, fables
- African proverbs/parables
- Epic of Gilgamesh & the Bible
- sacred texts
- Tanka poetry/haiku
- ancient poetry
Epic Poetry
- The Odyssey (Ancient Greece)
- The Mahabharata/Ramayana
- The Aeneid (Ancient Rome)
- Beowulf (Middle Ages)
- Song of Roland (Middle Ages)
- The Nibelungenlied (Middle Ages)
Medieval/Renaissance
- 1001 Arabian Nights
- Ghazal and The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
- Canterbury Tales
- sonnets
- Romeo and Juliet
- Don Quixote
Enlightenment/Romanticism
- Pilgrim's Progress and The Divine Comedy
- Gulliver's Travels
- Faust/Doctor Faustus/Devil & Tom Walker/Picture of Dorian Gray
- Les Miserables
- Importance of Being Earnest
- 9 short stories
20th Century
The Little Prince
- Cry The Beloved Country

See more at the publisher's website, and more sample pages at Christian Book.
 

I don’t know what I prefer!  We will do The Odyssey because I want to and I already have a literature guide. Dd doesn’t want a class. 


Sounds like doing the Odyssey and having a guide for it already is a step in the direction of going DIY. (And, as a side note, if you want a secondary guide, the Garlic Press Discovering Literature guide for The Odyssey is a great one -- very meaty!) 

Also, The Odyssey fits in with a study of World History, if doing a 1-year overview of history. In case it helps, below are some more ideas to push you along if you end up going DIY all the way. You could roughly plan for four 9-week "units", doing works in several ways for each unit -- works that you do as more formal study; works that you just listen to as read-alouds or audiobooks, and works that you watch good film versions of the work for exposure to classics. Example of possible 2 units:

ANCIENTS (2500BC-500AD)

"formal literature":
1-2 weeks = Mesopotamia = Gilgamesh and Other Babylonian Tales (Westwood)
     (abridged prose retelling of The Epic of Gilgamesh, plus 3-4 Babylonian myths)
     free study guide resources: Mr. Dann's webpage

1-2 weeks = Greek Myths -- most are short story length; ideas of options:
     Tanglewood Tales and Wonder Book (Hawthorne) -- 5-6 myths in each book
     Bulfinch's Mythology: Age of Fable: Stories of Gods and Heroes -- there are 40 myths, so pick & choose
5-7 weeks = Greece = The Odyssey

read aloud and/or free reading:
Greece = Oedipus the King (Sophocles) -- play -- have fun doing it aloud together as "reader theater" (:D
  (or do all 3 plays of the trilogy: Oedipus the King; Oedipus at Colonus; Antigone)

Greece = YA: Black Ships Before Troy (Sutcliffe) -- abridged prose retelling of The Iliad
Greece/Rome = YA: In Search of a Homeland (Lively) or The Aeneid for Boys and Girls (Church) -- abridged prose retelling of The Aeneid

literature that could be watched:
Greece = Jason and the Argonauts (1963) -- film adaptation of the Greek myth
Greece = The Odyssey (1997 TV mini series)
Rome/Israel = Ben Hur (1959) -- film adaptation of Lew Wallace's novel
_____________________

MEDIEVAL/RENAISSANCE (500-1650)

"formal" literature:
3 weeks = Anglo-Saxon = Beowulf
3 weeks = British = a King Arthur work
     Bulfinch's Mythology: King Arthur and His Knights -- selections 
     The Story of King Arthur and His Knights (Pyle)  -- excerpts 
     The Once and Future King (White) -- 4 "books", each for 1 stage of his life; a long work, so either excerpts, or just 2 weeks each for other works

3 weeks = British = selected Canterbury Tales
     Special Edition for Young Readers version is a prose adaptation, but does a good job of echoing the original language
     McCaughrean's prose adaptation gets a lot of praise and is widely used


read aloud and/or free reading:
Spain = Don Quixote (Parry) -- abridged/adapted version
Middle East = 1001 Arabian Nights -- find a version you like; the Tenggren's Golden Tales from Arabian Nights has lovely illustrations

literature that can be watched:
British = Ivanhoe (1952 or 1982 movie, or 1997 TV mini series) -- written by Walter Scott in 1800s, but set in Medieval times
British = Shakespeare play(s)
___________________________

It's super-tough to narrow the 1800s-present down to just a few major works. It might be a little easier if you were planning to do 12th grade as the major British and American works from 1800-present... Just a thought! Warmest regards, Lori D.

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We got LLATL-gold American and Brit. Lit. today. I also plan to do some of the selections in the World history book. This will not be all this year. But also next. (And maybe some even the next year because we will probably do a year thirteen). Or we might not do all as studies. She reminded me today that I promised to buy her a book of her own choosing for each classic she reads. 

Btw- the lit. guide I have for the Odyssey is the Garlic Press one. 

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  • 2 months later...
9 minutes ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

Thanks to those who recommended LLATL gold. Once we finished The Odyssey we started LLATL and it is going really well. 


Thanks for updating! I always like to hear what people end up going with, and how it is working for them. 🙂

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