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Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Chaotic Bliss Homeschooling

Reading; Language Arts
Literature Study Guides Tags: progeny press book summaries book recommendations lesson plans

Free literature guides can be found at:

Glencoe Guides: Include background information on the novels and activity pages. 

Holt Guides: For middle and high school fiction, drama and poetry.

Shmoop: Offers complete analysis, including themes, plot, characters, etc. Has sections for questions, quizzes, and essay suggestions. Has a middle-school section.

The Best Notes: Analysis of literary elements; chapter summaries and notes; vocabulary, study questions, and essay and book report ideas.

Pink Monkey: Summaries and study guides.

Lit Lovers: Reading guides feature summaries, author bios, and review questions. There are also generic questions that can be used for any fiction or non-fiction books.

Generic Questions: For analyzing setting, plot, character, point of view, symbolism and theme.

Study Guides for Specific Books:

The Witch of Blackbird Pond

Crispin: The Cross of Lead

The Giver

Holes

The Hobbit

Uncle Tom's Cabin

The Scarlet Letter: Includes instructions for three activities: character log; discussion/debate; and final paper.  

The Lemonade War

Macbeth

Frankenstein

The Color Purple

Treasure Island

Literary Analysis Resources Tags: literary elements elements of literature literary analysis literary criticism literary analysis essay

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When it comes to teaching literature, some homeschool families like to use curricula that comes complete with pre-determined reading lists, comprehension and discussion questions. Other familes like to use literature guides for specific books, many of which are available for free. But what if you want a literary analysis study with questions, activities and essay topics that can be used with any book?

Since all works of fiction share the same basic elements, you can help your kids recognize and evaluate these elements using more generic resources. Here are some that are free:

Literary Elements: This short video lesson describes how the basic literary elements affect one another in a story, using Hunger Games as an example.

Literary Visions: This series of half-hour videos from Annenberg Learner discusses the basic elements of fiction in stories, poems, and plays.

If you want to delve deeper, you can get into the various techniques writers use, such as symbolism, tone, diction and point of view. Here are several worksheets to help study these:

  • Questions to consider when analyzing setting, plot, character, point of view, symbolism, and theme. 6pp.

  • These worksheets provide suggestions for analyzing plot, point of view, tone, character, setting, theme, style, diction, syntax, imagery, symbolism, figurative language, irony, and quotes. 8 pp.
  • Blank chart to fill in with information on various literary elements. 4 pp.

You can also study based on the type of work, for example, analyzing a play (4 pp.) or poetry (3 pp.). This generic novel study guide breaks a book into thirds, with suggested questions for the beginning, middle, and end of a book. Includes word study and activity suggestions. (4 pp.) Here are 10 activities for analyzing short stories.

Free Biography Readers Tags: readers leveled readers non fiction books biographies Harcourt Scott Foresman

The following is a list of Harcourt, Macmillan McGraw-Hill, and Scott Foresman biographies and historical readers for grades 2 - 6. Listed alphabetically; download for free:

Thomas Adams Invents Chewing Gum

Benedict Arnold

Benjamin Banneker: A Man Ahead of His Time 

Clara Barton: The Angel of the Battlefield

Roberto Clemente: The Great One

Code Talkers

Amelia Earhart: Pilot and Adventurer 

Benjamin Franklin: A Man of Many Talents

Thomas Jefferson

Michael Jordan: No Quitter 

Helen Keller

Lewis and Clark

Cyrus McCormick: Friend to Farmers

John Wesley Powell and the Mighty Colorado

Sacagawea: A Sign of Peace

Who is Dr. Seuss?

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Women Inventors

Wright Brothers

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