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Teaching Literature: Beginning to Understand Stage

Besides being relaxing and enjoyable, reading good literature offers a number of benefits to learners. It also builds a common experience among the reader and listeners; it provides models of excellent grammar, fluency, and writing; it helps develop critical thinking skills; and it offers the opportunity to understand and discuss problems. Reading literature can benefit all ages, but some of the best practices in teaching literature vary by the age of the student. Here are some tips and ideas for teaching literature in the Beginning to Understand stage.

Tips for the Beginning to Understand Stage

5th - 8th Grade

As your child enters middle school, she will be able to enjoy longer novels with more mature themes. These are prime years for modern fiction and humor. Here are some tips for maximizing enjoyment while learning:

  • Continue to read great literature from a variety of genres.
  • Even though your child may be an excellent reader, continue to read aloud or have your child listen to audio books.
  • Connect literature to other subject areas. Read about historical figures and famous scientists. Have your student read from primary sources (documents, letters, journals, etc. written within the time period, such as the Declaration of Independence) that connect to the book they are reading.
  • Teach literature genres, elements (such as character, setting, and plot), and techniques (such as alliteration and metaphors).
  • Use literature to teach writing genres. Reading a variety of great literature will improve your child’s vocabulary and writing skills.
  • Occasionally have your child do a project associated with what he is reading. There are hundreds of ideas online, such as creating a map or drawing of the story’s setting, making a poster about a character, or writing a different ending to the story.

With five kids in their teen and early adult years, Rebecca shares the many ups and downs of parenting, homeschooling, and keeping it all together. As the Well Planned Gal she mentors women towards the goal of discovering the uniqueness Christ has created in them and their family and how to best organize and plan for the journey they will travel.

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