If you've taken Adam Andrews' Teaching the Classics DVD course and can't wait to teach your kids how to understand great literature, but you aren't sure you're ready to set out entirely on your own, have no fear—Adam's wife Missy has produced three books of lesson plans to help you implement the Socratic teaching method.
All three Ready Readers guides can be used with any age-level, but don't expect all the books to be 100% grade-appropriate. The first book deals with picture books, the second with children's fiction, and the third with children's classics (like The Hobbit and The Bronze Bow). These aren't intended for kids who've already been exposed to the Teaching the Classics approach, but for students just stepping into the world of literary analysis.
So, while your teens might feel like they're ready for Dostoevsky and Dickens, starting them here is a good idea. Because they're so simple, picture books are an excellent way to teach literary criticism and analysis, preparing the way for more complex work later. The Ready Readers books are designed to instruct young students in reading comprehension, and older students in its more advanced form, literary analysis.
Each book listed is covered by a complete lesson, in which the major elements of the story are identified, questions of plot discussed, and biographical information about the author presented. A series of questions are included to facilitate discussion, though as parents and students progress through these lessons, parents should use these less as they learn to develop their own topics.
Like training wheels on a bike, Missy's Ready Readers guides are intended to get parents comfortable implementing the Teaching the Classics methods before preparing and leading lessons on their own. While these make a great starting place, you'll still need to watch the initial course DVDs, and be prepared eventually to strike out alone.
One particularly useful element of these books is their adaptability. If you have multiple children that cover the age gamut, beginning with Ready Readers is a good way to give them the basics simultaneously in a way all of them can understand. Teaching the Classics is one of our favorite products here at Exodus Books, and we're happy for any supplements the Andrews offer to make their teaching style understandable and easy to use for parents. The Ready Readers are highly recommended.
Middle School Literature Vol. 1 (which replaced Ready Readers 3) provides complete discussion notes for the following classic stories:
- Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson
- The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
- The Bronze Bow, by Elizabeth Speare
- Carry On, Mr. Bowditch, by Jean Lee Latham
- At the Back of the North Wind, by George MacDonald
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