LITERATURE

LITERATURE

WHY

Classic literature and literary fiction are vital for the development of the moral imagination. The moral imagination is the ability to understand eternal truth (right and wrong ) and the thoughts and feelings of others. Literature develops empathy in your children.  In one study comparing different genres of books and their ability to evoke empathy among readers, literary fiction was the most powerful in evoking empathy. 

But developing the moral imagination isn’t the only reason to read literature; it also introduces your children to living ideas through people living in different times and cultures. As the author Grace Lin wisely stated “As much as kids need books to be mirrors, kids need books to be windows. Make sure your child has books that are mirrors and books that are windows: Because if you do, you’re setting a path for self-worth and empathy – and that is a brick road worth following.”

It exposes your children to advanced vocabulary and gives them opportunities to practice reading comprehension more than the popular fiction written for children today.  The best way to raise excellent writers is to introduce them to excellent writing. 

SCOPE + SEQUENCE

Children in the early years benefit the most from nursery rhymes as well as any other high-quality picture books with rhyme and rhythm.
Although you may have already started reading fairy tales before formal lessons, now is the time to read them regularly. Children need fairy and folk tales; they nurture a child's imagination and budding morality.
Now is the time to read Greek and Norse myths, Robin Hood, and King Arthur. At this stage children are developing a sense of adventure and risk, and will thrive on these stories.
Much can be learned from reading the Bard's plays: morality, citizenship, tragedy, comedy, and much more. Shakespeare is best experience by reading/acting the plays with others, not as a book read alone. Many families choose to incorporate Shakespeare in Family Gather time.
Charlotte Mason said that literature should go "pari passu" with history. Children should choose from a list of classic literature that were written during the historical time period they are studying.

HOW TO TEACH

Before you begin reading, ask your child to summarize what happened in the last chapter.  Once you finish the reading, ask your child for a narration. You can use open-ended questions to encourage discussion, but remember that a child’s original narration must come first. Your child may also choose to draw a picture of a scene from the tale in addition to narration. 

As your children get older they may use open-ended questions for written narrations/essays. Form II (10-12 years old)  is an excellent age  to begin gathering with other children/families to discuss literature and read Shakespeare together.

RESOURCES