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For our current year, we are in the history cycle of 1500 to 1850 AD. For my logic level student, we have planned to read 4 literatures per term (there are 3 terms) (and we are going to read most, not all, of TWTM logic literature list for grade 7) along with Canadian Literature (1 book), Shakespeare and Poetry. I am finding it is still too much for us to cover. How do I know what books to read and which can be cut? I would like to get my list down to about about 2 literatures, Shakespeare and Poetry, therefore I would like to know what book I could cut from our list of TWTM logic literature list for grade 7. And then I would like to know how to go about doing this for the future in any other grade? I would really love to hear from those who are strong in literature and can give me real practical principles to follow. Thank you! 

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Why not rank your books?  I do that with material sometimes.  I make a pile of what I absolutely want to cover - in your case it would be Shakespeare, poetry, and two literature books per semester.  Great. Designate specific times for those and schedule them in. Then rank the ones that you will use if you have time.  Schedules are flexible, and there's no harm in having things at the ready.  You can always keep a book basket of ones to encourage for personal reading.  I often will hand something to my kids saying, "you liked X that we read together, I think you might enjoy the similar theme in Y."

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Yes, that is good, BUT how do I know which literature books should be absolutely covered and which are best to lay aside for my children to pick up on their own alter on? Making decisions based on my limited knowledge and understanding of literature is not a good guide. I wish there was a website or someone that would explain this for me: What literature is an absolute must and what is not, and why? And how can a person cut their literature lists down effectively without losing the essence of why they are learning literature in the first place. 

 

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I'd say right off the bat, bu-bye Pilgrim's Progress. Is that still on the lists? My TWTM is old.

A lot of the list is poems. I don't think it's not doable. I would say ditch anything you're not excited about. Ask here and elsewhere what's not to be missed (which I think will get you more responses than what do I choose or what do I cut). I think Home Again's idea to rank them is good. Also, I'd say if you rank them and then realize everything that made your cut is of a certain sort of book or author, then see what you can do to mix it up. You don't want to have all adventure stories by white male authors. You want some memoirs, some mysteries, some other genres, etc. You want some female authors, some non-white authors, etc. Same thing with time period. If you realize all your books are from the 1800's, then maybe you need to swap one for something earlier.

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1 minute ago, Caralee said:

Yes, that is good, BUT how do I know which literature books should be absolutely covered and which are best to lay aside for my children to pick up on their own alter on? Making decisions based on my limited knowledge and understanding of literature is not a good guide. I wish there was a website or someone that would explain this for me: What literature is an absolute must and what is not, and why? And how can a person cut their literature lists down effectively without losing the essence of why they are learning literature in the first place. 

 

Repeat after me... No literature is an absolute must.

I swear it's true. And I believe in having kids read "important" books and be exposed to "classics." But you cannot cover every book someone thinks is important. Just accept that you will skip something that someone else thinks was on the top of the list. And that's okay! It's more about the totality of what you did than any particular book. You look at the list (or a bunch of lists), you say, okay, we're going to try to do the things that will work for us. You say, I'm going to try to cover a variety of places, times, genres, sorts of authors... and then you let it be the best it can be and let it go. They may or may not pick those up later. They may or may not come to you in college or in their 30's to say, Why oh why did you make me read that?! Or to say, Why oh why didn't you make me read that?! Because you cannot read it all. Let yourself be okay with that.

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6 minutes ago, Farrar said:

I'd say right off the bat, bu-bye Pilgrim's Progress. Is that still on the lists? My TWTM is old.

A lot of the list is poems. I don't think it's not doable. I would say ditch anything you're not excited about. Ask here and elsewhere what's not to be missed (which I think will get you more responses than what do I choose or what do I cut). I think Home Again's idea to rank them is good. Also, I'd say if you rank them and then realize everything that made your cut is of a certain sort of book or author, then see what you can do to mix it up. You don't want to have all adventure stories by white male authors. You want some memoirs, some mysteries, some other genres, etc. You want some female authors, some non-white authors, etc. Same thing with time period. If you realize all your books are from the 1800's, then maybe you need to swap one for something earlier.

 

This is a bit more of what I need. I have done some of this already. I do have a variety of books from different time frames of our historical period, and I have varied the authors. I will look at the certain sort of book to see if I have anything repeated. That will help.  

 

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5 minutes ago, Farrar said:

Repeat after me... No literature is an absolute must.

I swear it's true. And I believe in having kids read "important" books and be exposed to "classics." But you cannot cover every book someone thinks is important. Just accept that you will skip something that someone else thinks was on the top of the list. And that's okay! It's more about the totality of what you did than any particular book. You look at the list (or a bunch of lists), you say, okay, we're going to try to do the things that will work for us. You say, I'm going to try to cover a variety of places, times, genres, sorts of authors... and then you let it be the best it can be and let it go. They may or may not pick those up later. They may or may not come to you in college or in their 30's to say, Why oh why did you make me read that?! Or to say, Why oh why didn't you make me read that?! Because you cannot read it all. Let yourself be okay with that.

 

"No literature is an absolute must." There I repeated it after you. Yes, I will keep repeating this to get it into my head. Thank you. 🙂 

I guess I just find choosing books based on my preference could lend to a lack of covering the variety that is needed. That is why I didn't want to use my own preferences. I want to have discussions about the 'challenging topics' with my children, not avoid them, which could happen if I went with what I liked. lol  But your suggestions above were helpful. 

 

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Wow, you're right -- that's a boatload of reading!

First, I would look hard at the specific student before me to determine what was appropriate for amount of reading and types of books -- last thing you want to do just as the student is on the cusp of being able to/interested in thinking and discussing is to kill any interest in reading. So:
- What is the student's reading level?
- Is the student strong/faster, or average, or weak/slower with reading?
- And most importantly, what is the student's *interest* in reading -- likes to read, or not? Likes to read works connected to the History study, or prefers other genres?

Without knowing more about your student, my initial thoughts would be:

1. first, make Shakespeare and poetry more informal 1x/week:
- *watch* rather than *read* a few Shakespeare plays this year (go to some live performances after a day or two of prep!)
- make poetry reading more informal ("Poetry and Tea time", and do it once a week, or every other week, in place of the regular literature)
- or if really pressed for time:  1 day/week, in alternate units, learn about then watch then discuss a Shakespeare play, and after several weeks, switch to a few weeks of poetry
- and then the other 4 days/week read through your other literature choices

2. then, go with your 1 Canadian work, + 3 classic works from the WTM list; alternate those 4 books with 4 works of DS of high interest to him -- YA works, historical fiction to go with your history, exploring a genre he is really interested in... etc. That's 1 book a month for the school year, with time once a week to cover poetry and Shakespeare -- and not get overwhelmed with too much Literature.

I don't currently have a the WTM on my shelf, but am looking at the list for early modern (is that what you'd be doing for 7th grade?) from SWB's handouts here. From that list, I'd say the following is do-able by (and of age-level INTEREST for) an average 7th grade reader:

The Reading List
- use the poets/poems in her list as what you choose from for your weekly poetry & tea time
- pick a handful of famous fairy tales (SWB lists 3 different collections; choose a few stories from each author for a range of story types)
- since you are Canadian, I wouldn't worry about Ben Franklin or Frederick Douglass -- also, those are better tackled in high school, IMO
- classics well-suited for middle school (reading level AND interest level):
     Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
     The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain
     A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
- optional -- do or don't do, depending on student interest/ability:
    
“A Voyage to Lilliput” Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift
     The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle, Washington Irving
     20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Jules Verne

SUPPLEMENTAL READINGS -- Historical novels and biographies to find at your library
- all are American History based, so you could skip them and focus on Canadian historical fiction of the time period
- also a lot of these listed are a bit young for 7th grade, or are more of "girl interest" than "boy interest"
- also, there is not a lot of diversity in SWB's historical fiction supplements, so maybe try some alternatives??

a few quick other historical fiction ideas:
Master Cornhill (Magraw) -- plague, the 1666 Great Fire of London
- A Parcel of Patterns (Walsh) -- plague, 1666 England
Arrow Over the Door (Bruchac) -- 1750s, Colonial U.S. French/Indian War -- may be young for DS
- Fever 1793 (Anderson) -- late 1700s;  U.S. pandemic -- based on a real event
- Chains (Anderson) -- 1770s U.S. Revolutionary War -- first book of a trilogy
- Sophie's War (Avi) -- 1770s U.S. Revolutionary War -- may be young for DS
- Carry On Mr. Bowditch (Latham) -- 1790s/1800s U.S., fiction, but the life of real man who revolutionized navigation for sailing
- Betsy and the Emperor (Rabin) -- early 1800s; France, Napoleon

Edited by Lori D.
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7 minutes ago, Lori D. said:


2. then, go with your 1 Canadian work, + 3 classic works from the WTM list; alternate those 4 books with 4 works of DS of high interest to him -- YA works, historical fiction to go with your history, exploring a genre he is really interested in... etc. That's 1 book a month for the school year, with time once a week to cover poetry and Shakespeare -- and not get overwhelmed with too much Literature.

 

 

Clarification needed. What is 'YA' mean? 

 

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9 minutes ago, Lori D. said:

Wow, you're right -- that's a boatload of reading!

First, I would look hard at the specific student before me to determine what was appropriate for amount of reading and types of books -- last thing you want to do just as the student is on the cusp of being able to/interested in thinking and discussing is to kill any interest in reading. So:
- What is the student's reading level?
- Is the student strong/faster, or average, or weak/slower with reading?
- And most importantly, what is the student's *interest* in reading -- likes to read, or not? Likes to read works connected to the History study, or prefers other genres?

Without knowing more about your student, my initial thoughts would be:

1. first, make Shakespeare and poetry more informal 1x/week:
- *watch* rather than *read* a few Shakespeare plays this year (go to some live performances after a day or two of prep!)
- make poetry reading more informal ("Poetry and Tea time", and do it once a week, or every other week, in place of the regular literature)
- or if really pressed for time:  1 day/week, in alternate units, learn about then watch then discuss a Shakespeare play, and after several weeks, switch to a few weeks of poetry
- and then the other 4 days/week read through your other literature choices

2. then, go with your 1 Canadian work, + 3 classic works from the WTM list; alternate those 4 books with 4 works of DS of high interest to him -- YA works, historical fiction to go with your history, exploring a genre he is really interested in... etc. That's 1 book a month for the school year, with time once a week to cover poetry and Shakespeare -- and not get overwhelmed with too much Literature.

I don't currently have a the WTM on my shelf, but am looking at the list for early modern (is that what you'd be doing for 7th grade?) from SWB's handouts here. From that list, I'd say the following is do-able by (and of age-level INTEREST for) an average 7th grade reader:

The Reading List
- use the poets/poems in her list as what you choose from for your weekly poetry & tea time
- pick a handful of famous fairy tales (SWB lists 3 different collections; choose a few stories from each author for a range of story types)
- since you are Canadian, I wouldn't worry about Ben Franklin or Frederick Douglass -- also, those are better tackled in high school, IMO
- classics well-suited for middle school (reading level AND interest level):
     Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
     The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain
     A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
- optional -- do or don't do, depending on student interest/ability:
    
“A Voyage to Lilliput” Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift
     The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle, Washington Irving
     20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Jules Verne

SUPPLEMENTAL READINGS -- Historical novels and biographies to find at your library
- all are American History based, so you could skip them and focus on Canadian historical fiction of the time period
- also a lot of these listed are a bit young for 7th grade, or are more of "girl interest" than "boy interest"
- also, there is not a lot of diversity in SWB's historical fiction supplements, so maybe try some alternatives??

some other historical fiction ideas:
Fever 1793 (Anderson)
Chains (Anderson) -- first of a trilogy
Arrow Over the Door (Bruchac) -- may be young for DS
Sophie's War (Avi) -- may be young for DS
Carry On Mr. Bowditch (Latham)

 

This was really really helpful! Thank you!!! I needed this guidance. 

 

 

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1 minute ago, Caralee said:

 

Clarification needed. What is 'YA' mean? 

 

YA means young adult. It's books written for teens.

In general, I would personally find the TWTM lists to be insufficient because they focus only on literature from the time period. No newer novels, no novels intended for this age group specifically. That's a negative dealbreaker for me personally. I do want my kids to read YA and upper end middle grades novels in middle school. You may have different goals. This stuff is why... in the end, it's still on you to some extent.

Lori's opening guiding question of whether or not it's something they're even capable of is a good one to start with.

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1 minute ago, Caralee said:

Clarification needed. What is 'YA' mean? 


Young Adult

YA books are written specifically for late "tweens" (11-12yo) and teens (13-18yo). Many YA titles tackle some "harder" topic and are great for discussion. Examples:
The Giver (Lowry)
The Book Thief (Zusak)
Maniac Magee (Spinnelli)
Star Girl (Spinnelli)
The Hate U Give (Thomas)

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16 minutes ago, Farrar said:

... In general, I would personally find the TWTM lists to be insufficient because they focus only on literature from the time period. No newer novels, no novels intended for this age group specifically. That's a negative dealbreaker for me personally. I do want my kids to read YA and upper end middle grades novels in middle school. You may have different goals...


Similar to Farrar -- while we did do a lot of Lit. to match up with our History or Geography studies through the years, I never *exclusively* did that, as we would have missed SOOOO many age-appropriate books just because they "didn't match the History window". Middle school is such a fantastic time to start having discussions -- I was so glad we did a lot of YA books in grades 6-9 (along with good books that happened to match up with our History), and then on in to high school, as it really kept alive DSs' interest in books and literature, and we had some fantastic discussions and really wrestled through some tough topics together. 🙂

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Yes, I'm with Lori on this. YA books in general helped spur discussions for my kids that reading something like A Christmas Carol or Rime of the Ancient Mariner simply did not. Which is not to say that you can't have a meaty discussion from an older book. Or that older books don't have their own importance. Reading something like those older works is important for developing one's ability to read difficult texts and appreciate them. But literature serves a variety of purposes and those books don't typically meet all the needs I see that kids have.

But this is individual. I said nothing is a must... I really believe in reading YA... but it's also not a must.

There is a ton of amazing early American themed YA. Rather than Fever or Sophia's War, I strongly recommend Laurie Halse Anderson's Seeds of America series, which is excellent. Especially since you're in Canada, I'll also suggest Elijah of Buxton since it's set most there.

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44 minutes ago, Lori D. said:


Similar to Farrar -- while we did do a lot of Lit. to match up with our History or Geography studies through the years, I never *exclusively* did that, as we would have missed SOOOO many age-appropriate books just because they "didn't match the History window". Middle school is such a fantastic time to start having discussions -- I was so glad we did a lot of YA books in grades 6-9 (along with good books that happened to match up with our History), and then on in to high school, as it really kept alive DSs' interest in books and literature, and we had some fantastic discussions and really wrestled through some tough topics together. 🙂

Thank you Farrar and Lori for your input. Very helpful.

 

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19 minutes ago, Farrar said:

Yes, I'm with Lori on this. YA books in general helped spur discussions for my kids that reading something like A Christmas Carol or Rime of the Ancient Mariner simply did not. Which is not to say that you can't have a meaty discussion from an older book. Or that older books don't have their own importance. Reading something like those older works is important for developing one's ability to read difficult texts and appreciate them. But literature serves a variety of purposes and those books don't typically meet all the needs I see that kids have.

But this is individual. I said nothing is a must... I really believe in reading YA... but it's also not a must.

There is a ton of amazing early American themed YA. Rather than Fever or Sophia's War, I strongly recommend Laurie Halse Anderson's Seeds of America series, which is excellent. Especially since you're in Canada, I'll also suggest Elijah of Buxton since it's set most there.

 

Thank you this is very helpful. I really appreciate you sharing with me all of this. It has shown me how to have balance in our literature selections for each level. 

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Home Again, Farrar, and Lori D., 

I just have to say again a very big THANK YOU! for taking the time to answer my concerns and questions. I really really appreciate it. It has helped me so much and I am feeling much more confident about what books I am choosing. Thank you again!

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On 9/9/2019 at 2:31 PM, Caralee said:

...this is very helpful. I really appreciate you sharing with me all of this. It has shown me how to have balance in our literature selections for each level. 

 

41 minutes ago, Caralee said:

... I  just have to say again a very big THANK YOU! for taking the time to answer my concerns and questions...


Actually, I felt like what we sort of raised new/different issues for you rather than directly answer your original issue...  😬 😂😉 

But so glad you feel good about your booklist for the coming year, and hope you'll both really enjoy reading/discussing your literature, whatever you go with! Warmest regards, Lori D.

 

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7 minutes ago, Lori D. said:

Actually, I felt like what we sort of raised new/different issues for you rather than directly answer your original issue...  😬 😂😉

 

 

Well, while I was asking you this question, I was working through some other "understanding" that related to this, specifically regarding reading with comprehension and writing effectively...and today, after much study, it all fell into place in my mind. But you all were very helpful in this process. Thank you for flushing out my ideas and understanding for me.  🥰

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