Did your parents ever read you bedtime stories before bed? Can you remember the half hour right before you laid your head on the pillow when you entered into a land of fairy tales and adventure? Are you the type of person who loves children’s literature and stories, or misses reading great children’s books? If this is you, then TPS has specially designed a course to explore your favorite childhood books. English 4/5 Children’s Lit Analysis and Comp is a course which revisits classic children’s literature and views old favorites in a new analytical light.
English 4/5 Children’s Lit Analysis and Comp, taught by Mrs. Thomas, teaches students to further develop their analytical reading and composition skills. The booklist for this course covers a wide selection of childhood favorites including: The Wind in the Willows, Watership Down, Number the Stars, The Blue Fairy Book, Treasure Island, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, A Long Way From Chicago, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, and many more. Although this is the current booklist for the 2019/2020 school year, books for this course may change in coming years as the course updates. While learning about this course, I had the pleasure of speaking with Mrs. Thomas and inquiring about this course. She kindly provided some helpful insight for students wondering if this class would be an ideal fit form them:
Me: What kinds of children’s literature do students analyze in this course?
Mrs. Thomas: We study a wide variety of literature: fairy tales and legends, animal stories, adventure stories, speculative fiction, character-driven fiction, poetry, coming-of-age stories, and even film.
Me: How many hours does an average student spend on completing homework for this class?
Mrs. Thomas: Like other TPS high school courses, students can expect to spend 8-10 hours/week, including the class time, on this course. Of course, this varies depending on the student’s pace of reading and writing and how often he or she must get up to refill the coffee or teacup.
Me: What is your favorite piece of literature to read and analyze while teaching this course?
Mrs. Thomas: My favorite? Practically impossible to choose! I do love The Story of King Arthur and His Knights and its rich history, but then I also love the wacky grandma in A Long Way from Chicago and the heroic rabbits in Watership Down. Then again, there’s Jim and pirates in Treasure Island and the soulful gorilla in The One and Only Ivan. See? I just can’t pick one.
Me: Are students given many writing assignments during this course, or is this class comprised primarily of literature analysis?
Mrs. Thomas: Children’s Lit and Analysis follows a similar pattern of literature and composition as the other English 4/5 courses. Students can expect to alternate between reading and writing compositions throughout the year. We cover different analysis and evaluation essays, but also give students experiences in writing a research paper and a poetry explication.
Me: How does a student know if this course is a good class for him or her?
Mrs. Thomas: Personally, I think everybody should consider Children’s Lit and Analysis! I think students will be surprised at the depth of these books and stories and be delighted to meet the characters. Just because a character might be an ape or a rabbit does not mean he will be one-dimensional and have nothing to offer teens and adults. These characters teach us, among other things, about facing fears, sacrifice, leadership, and what it means to be human. If a student is not ready to tackle more advanced texts, such as Homer or Dante, yet wants to engage in lively discussion, gain serious literature analysis tools, and learn to write well, then Children’s Lit and Analysis is a great choice.
This course is for students in 10th and 11th grade with a solid foundation in their literature analysis skills who want to continue to learn to actively read while improving their writing techniques. To take this course, students must have previously completed any TPS English 3 course with an 80% or higher. Beginning the school year, students will explore fairy tales and legends and learn the differences between myths and legends. Then, students will dive into animal adventures and observe animals’ roles in literature. The next unit covers moral stories through which students learn the deeper meanings and lessons behind children’s literature. In addition, students will explore speculative fiction by reading a Wrinkle in Time and Alice in Wonderland. Through each of these different units, students will further develop their analytical reading skills and learn how to annotate. The writing assignments of this course are designed to assist students in their understanding of the various pieces of literature they read throughout the year. Some main essays written in this course include: a proposal, analytical essays, fiction and nonfiction essays, a research paper, timed essay writing, an exploratory essay, and persuasive papers. In each of the essays, students will have the opportunity to participate in peer reviews and critiques in class.
English 4/5 Children’s Lit Analysis and Comp is a course for students with a love of children’s literature. This course is a fantastic way to revisit past childhood memories while also learning new information about popular children’s books. Consider if this course is a good fit for you and sign-up next year for a storybook adventure back into the past!
Image sources: https://www.ywcanwil.org/children-mimic-our-love-of-reading/ and http://clipart-library.com/children-reading.html