English Lessons Through Literature Level 1 large (8.5 x 11) format
Level 1 Literature List: Beatrix Potter Stories, Just So Stories, Five Children and It, Jungle Book, Pinocchio, Orange Fairy Book, Velveteen Rabbit, Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, Aesop for Children.241 pgs. pb.
Reading Lessons Through Literature is a pick-up and go Orton phonogram reading program organized around the stories in The Elson Readers. Like other Orton phonogram programs, it focuses on teaching reading through spelling. First children learn the basic phonograms. Then they begin writing their spelling words, analyzing them, and reading them for practice. And finally, they begin to read stories which include the words they've learned. RLTL teaches 75 basic phonograms. In Level 1, the spelling lists are organized around the stories in The Elson Readers Primer. Level 1 includes instructional material, the spelling lists, and The Elson Readers Primer, so there are no additional readers to purchase. In the Primer, multi-letter phonograms are underlined and multi-syllable words are separated between syllables to help the beginning reader.
"Through literature" is the operative phrase in this series. It's 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).
The five levels currently available can be used for grades 1 through 6. 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). In the upper levels, the "nugget" is something more like a "chunk." Systematic grammar instruction starts in Level 2 and is pretty impressive, covering everything from punctuation to parts of speech to types of sentences and includes diagramming in Levels 3-5. In fact, in Level 2 and up, the lesson
English Lessons Through Literature is a secular language arts series. The general approach and most of the content is the same as a previous edition; the only difference is that any faith-based content has been removed. This makes this secular version somewhat unique since most of the Charlotte Mason language arts programs have faith-based content.
The seven levels (Aspiring, Blossoming, Cultivating, Discerning, Enlightening, Flourishing, and Growing) can be used for grades 1 through 8. The author recommends starting Aspiring in 2nd grade but 1st is also an option. The 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. The instructional nugget is next and "nugget" does seem like the best description particularly in 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 beginning in Cultivating. In fact, in Blossoming and up, the lesson title reflects the grammar covered (i.e. #38 in Blossoming is titled State of Being Verbs; Review: Pronouns) leaving no doubts about the general grammatical scope and sequence. In Discerning & Enlightening there is an appendix that provides additional writing lessons for older students. The appendices in each Volume include valuable information – memory work lists, a segment on the correct use of words, diagramming references, and sometimes literature passages as well as additional writing lessons and writing/editing protocol in the upper levels. The author also encourages the use of a personal spelling journal.
Writing instruction incorporates the classical progymnasmata (a bit unusual for a Charlotte Mason program). Aspiring through Flourishing focuses on fables and narrative while Growing explores chreia and maxim.
Workbooks are available for Aspiring through Flourishing and provide all the exercises and copywork. Though technically optional, they are a major time-saver for the teacher. In the lower levels (Aspiring through Discerning) they are available in several handwriting styles (Manuscript, Slant Cursive, Vertical Cursive, Basic Italic, and Cursive Italic). In the Enlightening and Flourishing levels, workbooks are provided in a print font.
There is very little teacher prep in this series. You will want/need to get a copy of the read-aloud books and make a copywork master (if not using the Workbooks), That’s about it! The daily lessons are pick-up-and-go. Full-color versions of the picture studies (black and white in the volumes) are available on the author’s website, so you may want to provide access to those just to make the whole study more enjoyable for both of you. Your student will ultimately be compiling a notebook to include copywork, definitions, exercise. Although prep is minimal with these courses, the daily lessons are based on teacher-student interaction.
You can probably tell that I’m enthusiastic about this series. It’s well-constructed, easy-to-use, has a strong emphasis on literature plus an equally strong emphasis on systematic grammar and mechanics as well as writing skills. You only need to add phonics/reading instruction and perhaps a systematic spelling to have a well-rounded approach to English and Language Arts. The author's series Reading Lessons Through Literature is an excellent complement providing, phonics, spelling, and reading. ~ Janice
These materials offer complete coverage of both writing and grammar.