Monday, March 31, 2014

Extending the Study of Literature....

It's no secret that we love great living books here on Drywood Creek.  We read and discuss literature daily.  It's the base of our education.  This is easy with early elementary kids because I read everything aloud and we're all on the same page.  However, as the kids progress and begin to read on their own, it becomes impossible to keep up with each and every book they read.  I believe this is where study guides can come into play.

I just found this awesome site with free literature study guides.  I printed the guide for Johnny Tremain and The Scarlet Letter since these are both books I'm currently readingBoth guides are 22 pages long and offer an author biography, introduction to the novel, historic background information, pre-reading activities, vocabulary previews, story maps, personal response questions, analytical questions, writing prompts, and ideas for extending the study.  Though they are secular in nature, I did not find anything offensive in either guide that I printed.  Actually, I found questions that could easily tie into scripture or Biblical response.

As noted, I'm currently reading aloud Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes.  Today, we also started America's Paul Revere by Esther Forbes.  Printing this study guide was very timely.  I read Esther Forbes' bio aloud as a spin off of Johnny Tremain and an introduction to America's Paul Revere.  The kids and I found the information regarding her life very interesting.  We also reviewed the vocabulary presented in the guide and I used a couple of the questions as prompts for discussion.

I would not recommend giving these guides to elementary age children to complete on their own.  I feel the guides are aimed for an upper middle or high school level.  I also feel it's not necessary to use a guide for every book read.  Completing 2-4 guides per school year at a high school level is enough.  It's OK to read some books just for pleasure.  I also think daily written narration is very important at the high school level and a study guide should not be a substitute for this.

I am reading The Scarlet Letter on the side as part of my attempt at "mother culture".  I plan to utilize this study guide to promote thought and understanding as I read.  May I encourage you to give it a try :)


  1. oo, thanks for sharing this! I'm adding it to my list of sites to check out.

  2. Thanks for sharing the link to the literature guides - super helpful!