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
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.