The Upper School literature study guides (Grades 8-12) continue in the tradition of training students to read actively, but have been expanded and developed to lead students through a four-stage Trivium based continuum to the acquisition and expression of the Central One Idea of a story or poem. The students are guided to read and think through the grammar, logic, and rhetoric stages towards the essence of a story: the central proposition that gives the story its ultimate meaning and expression.
The Upper School guides require students to think in increasingly rigorous and complex ways, to make connections from particular to abstractions and back again, to compare and contrast, and to sort and classify. The guides feature helpful reading notes, extensive vocabulary training, comprehension questions, Socratic discussion questions, work with quotes, and literary and rhetorical devices presented in bold to prepare students for sophisticated literary analysis and/or future work in AP Literature and college classes. The guides also feature essay prompts with space for students to write the essay. The prompts are related to their work in the guide, and in particular to what they have determined to be the Central One Idea of the story or poem. This then becomes their thesis which they must argue for and defend in their essay. Active reading and thinking leads to good writing; and these three to wisdom and virtue - the directed aim and purpose of the Upper School literature guides.
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