English Lessons Through Literature

"Through literature" is the operative phrase in this series. It is what you would expect, after all, of a series incorporating a Charlotte Mason approach to language arts skills. Together the teacher and student travel through literature - poetry, well-loved books, fables, and stories. You pause along the way, of course, taking time to appreciate the story and learn the grammatical structure of the English language, giving the student opportunity through copywork and some narration to become immersed in quality writing models. Picture studies complement the literature and provide the means for students to put their thoughts into words and develop their observation skills. Just for good measure, the author has included some memory work grammatical lists and definitions. Taken altogether, the result is an easy-to-use, holistic approach to English that is thoroughly consistent with Charlotte Mason, and yet meatier than most programs with a similar bent. It also has a more updated "feel" than many CM language programs even though many of the literature selections are "timeless" (i.e. a little old-fashioned).

English Lessons Through Literature is on its second version. The original (Levels 1-5) is now out of print, and has been replaced by a secular version (Aspiring, Blossoming, Cultivating, Discerning, Enlightening, Flourishing). The general approach and most of the content is the same; the only difference is that any faith-based content has been removed in the second version. This means that some exercises/activities have been tweaked and a few changes have been made in the Literature selections. But, all-in-all, the two are comparable in terms of course content and rigor. And, it makes the secular version somewhat unique since most Charlotte Mason language arts programs have faith-based content.

The six levels available can be used for grades 1 through 8. These volumes are designed for the teacher and provide three lessons per week for 36 weeks (108 lessons per level). Each lesson follows a similar format. In each level, whole books are provided as read-alouds, with chapters to be read daily as the first lesson item. Fables, stories, excerpts, and poetry are also regularly used. Occasionally, the student is asked to think about something from the reading, but the author avoids comprehension questions. Next is the instructional nugget (probably the best description particularly in Levels 1 & 2 (Aspiring/Blossoming). In the upper levels, the "nugget" is something more like a "chunk." Systematic grammar instruction starts in Blossoming and is pretty impressive, covering everything from punctuation to parts of speech to types of sentences and includes diagramming in Cultivating - Flourishing. In fact, in Blossoming and up, the lesson


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