Category: Language Arts and Literature

Review: The Struggling Reader Assessments and Teaching Materials

Reading is the most important academic skill we teach our students. Students must learn to read well before they can read to learn, so it’s important to create a nourishing home environment where books are read and enjoyed, ideas are discussed, and written and spoken communication is a natural part of everyday life. If you’ve created that strong foundation and your child still struggles with learning to read, there’s usually a discoverable cause. In The Struggling Reader system, the Eckenwilers have provided the tools for diagnosis, and the means for teaching what is needed.

Excellence in Literature: The Complete Curriculum

Excellence in Literature Worldview

Why choose worldview over specific content? Here’s why I did so for Excellence in Literature.

Copying a text is one way to absorb great ideas and improve writing skills.

The Power of Copying a Text

The power of a text is different when it is read from when it is copied out. Only the copied text thus commands the soul of him who is occupied with it, whereas the mere reader never discovers the new...

Grammar Made Easy- New Question Answered-Gerunds & Verb Phrases

As I post the books we offer, I try to answer all the questions I can think of. Inevitably, others think of questions that would never cross my mind, and I try to add them to the FAQ page to...

Most Important Word: Words Matter Week Blog Challenge-Day 1

The Monday question for the Words Matter Week blog challenge is: What is the most important word or words in your life? Why? When I create writing assignments for students, I try to craft questions that narrow the topic to...

How I chose the books for the Excellence in Literature curriculum for grades 8-12.

How I Chose Great Books for Excellence in Literature

My goal in writing Excellence in Literature is to pass along my love for some of the most beautiful, thought-provoking literature in the world, and to help students learn to think critically and analytically while growing mentally and spiritually. Here’s how I chose which books to include.

Great Books Week- October 4-10, 2009

Join Excellence in Literature as we celebrate the beauty of great books with a blog tour! If you’d like to participate, write a post on your own blog on the appropriate topic each day, then visit the appropriate post on...

Dynamic Literacy’s WordBuild: A Review

I love the study of words. Words are the building blocks of communication, and the more of them you know, the more likely it is that you will be a good writer and speaker. In addition, words are just plain...

Celebrate National Punctuation Day!

Okay, students, put on your party hats! It’s time to celebrate the not-so-lowly punctuation mark. We’re a little late to join the baking contest planned as part of the celebration, but there nothing stopping us from using commas, periods, apostrophes,...

Why Christians Should Read Fiction

I recently met someone who had been raised without fiction. No Little Golden Books, no Dr. Seuss, no Little House on the Prairie, no Chronicles of Narnia…nothing. I can’t begin to imagine, but the thought makes me feel a bit...

Great Literature is Great Because It’s Sticky

Classic literature sticks in my mind because the questions it raises are about some of the most important issues we face.

“The Schoolboy”- A Summer Poem by William Blake

It’s been awhile since I posted a poem, but when I heard someone talking about doing school through summer, I just had to post this one! Enjoy! I love to rise in a summer morn, When the birds sing on...

Charlotte Mason on Teaching With Literature

Stories bring knowledge alive and engage emotional memory in a way that makes abstract principles and arcane facts easy to understand and remember. When learning can be joyous and simple, why make it boring and difficult (and pointless because they are unlikely to remember anything) by using tedious worksheets and canned curriculum? It’s never too late to start teaching well. Resolve now to make literature and stories a major part of your educational adventure!

FAQ about using Excellence in Literature in a co-op or classroom.

Questions about using Excellence In Literature in a co-op

I received an e-mail this morning from a co-op leader, inquiring about the Excellence in Literature (EIL) curriculum. When I receive detailed questions like these, I know that others are probably wondering some of the same of the same things,...

Reading for Fun Can Help You Learn

Age appropriate reading is foundational Several years ago I came across a book review of the Truth Seekers Mystery Series by Christine and Felice Gerwitz that clearly articulated the natural progression of learning. The review was much more than a simple review — it...

Election Day 2009- Our Constitution

I came across this friendly reminder from someone in Italy who admires the United States Constitution, and it seemed a suitable day to share it. Sometimes outsiders (think of Alexis de Tocqueville) see very clearly! Related Posts:Constitution 201: A Free...

An Autumn Poem for Copywork

I believe that Charlotte Mason‘s method for teaching language arts provides an excellent foundation for future language arts learning. Copywork is the step that begins the process of learning to write. First, read the entire poem aloud, using appropriate inflection....

How King James Can Boost Reading Skills

As your students move toward high school and college, reading skills become increasingly important. A student who grows up hearing and reading a wide variety of literature, both old and new, tends to be well prepared to be a strong...

How Many Classics Should Students Read in a Year?

I got the following question about reading classics and high school literature from a reader, and after answering it, asked her if I could share it. I think this is something that many people wonder, so this seems a good time...

Persuasive Essay Writing: Teach It With Models

Benjamin Franklin learned to write better by studying, copying, and re-writing articles from The Spectator, a high-quality magazine of his day. His writing, seen in his autobiography and other work, bears witness to the skill he gained. Learning to write...

How Many Years of Grammar Do You Need?

As I talk to homeschool parents at conventions and via e-mail, I am often asked, “How many years of grammar should I be requiring of my student?” or “Does the Grammar Made Easy: Writing a Step Above (sadly, this excellent book...

Happy National Grammar Day!

National Grammar Day, sponsored by The Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar (SPOGG), is celebrated annually on March 4. I’m sure that someone somewhere has scheduled an event with party hats and noisemakers. I thought perhaps we’d content ourselves...

The Darkling Thrush by Thomas Hardy (and SAT Essay Prep)

I leant upon a coppice gate When Frost was spectre-gray, And Winter’s dregs made desolate The weakening eye of day. The tangled bine-stems scored the sky Like strings of broken lyres, And all mankind that haunted nigh Had sought their...

Miss Thistlebottom’s Hobgoblins: A Review

Reviewing Miss Thistlebottom’s Hobgoblins I have a weakness for books with funny titles — especially if they are about writing, grammar, style, and usage. Miss Thistlebottom’s Hobgoblins: The Careful Writer’s Guide to the Taboos, Bugbears and Outmoded Rules of English Usage by...

In order to write better, write more.

Our Students Need to Write More

During the past decade, I’ve spent a fair amount of time evaluating student writing and teaching SAT prep essay workshops and online high school literature classes. I’ve had the chance to read hundreds of papers from students all over the...

The Collected Poems of George Herbert

Gratefulnesse by George Herbert

“Gratefullness” is one of my favorite poems, and I’m sharing it in honor of Thanksgiving.

The peril of perfectly parsed piffle can challenge a writing evaluator.

Perfectly Parsed Piffle- The Writing Evaluator’s Dilemma

As parent-teachers, we’ve all seen boring writing assignments — a grammatically-correct report that simply paraphrases an encyclopedia entry or a five-paragraph essay that piles one trite cliche on another, and concludes without a glimmer of an original thought. If you’re anything like...

The Barbara Fritchie House and Museum is located at 154 West Patrick Street, Frederick, Maryland.

“Barbara Frietchie” for Independence Day

I’ve always loved this poem for its depiction of the courage of spunky Barbara Frietchie. It doesn’t take place during the American Revolution, but I felt that the sentiment was entirely appropriate for Independence Day. With its simple rhyme scheme and catchy...

Literature — It’s Central to Literacy

Literature and Literacy “Literature in its most comprehensive sense is the autobiography of humanity.” Bernard Berenson “This is old stuff — how can it be relevant to my life?” I’ve heard this objection from both students and adults, as I’ve spoken through...

Beat the Clock Essay Workshop

Enthusiasm — It Makes Learning Stick!

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” Samuel Taylor Coleridge Have you ever thought about the part that enthusiasm plays in the learning process? I have noticed that when I’m interested in something, I learn it so much more easily...

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