Monday, October 31, 2011

Excellence in Literature ~ Review

My 13 year old absolutely loves to read and is very advanced in her reading abilities. She has a love for the library like most teens have for the mall. She is however; very particular about the types of books she’ll read. It can be a bit challenging to get her excited about reading anything different from her normal selection.  So, I was thrilled when I was chosen to review Excellence in Literature ~ Introduction to Literature.  I knew it would give her a chance to read several classic works of literature that she would generally choose not to read.  Thankfully she was opened minded and even excited about a few of the books she’ll soon be reading.  

There are five books in the Excellence in Literature course series.
English I ~ Introduction to Literature
English II ~ Literature and Composition 
English III ~ American Literature
English IV ~ British Literature
English V ~ World Literature

I was chosen to review book one - Introduction to Literature.
The Excellence in Literature was designed for students in eighth grade and up.  The author, Janice Campbell, created the program to prepare students who where college bound.     

From the site:
Introduction to Literature is a college-preparatory literature and composition course. Focus works, including novels, short stories, poems, and drama, have been selected for literary quality, and for their place in the historical development of literature. Context readings provide background information about the author, the historical period, and the literary and artistic context of the focus work.

Students will gain an understanding of the development of literature and will practice the skills of close literary analysis through essays, approach papers, and other evaluative writing.
Excellence in Literature is written directly to the student and requires little work from the teacher. However, the teacher should be nearby to supervise and help the student when needed, as well as correct and grade their completed assignments. Other than that, the author has done all the leg work.

Introduction to Literature is divided into 9 units.

Unit 1: Short Stories by-
• Sarah Orne Jewett: A White Heron
• Edgar Allen Poe: The Purloined Letter (This one is not scary, if you're concerned about that.)
• Guy de Maupassant: The Diamond Necklace
• O. Henry: The Ransom of Red Chief
• Eudora Welty: A Worn Path
• James Thurber: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Unit 2: Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
Honors: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

Unit 3: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
Honors: The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain

Unit 4: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Honors: Shirley or Villette by Charlotte Brontë

Unit 5: Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
Honors: Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot

Unit 6: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Honors: Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson

Unit 7: Animal Farm by George Orwell
Honors: 1984 by George Orwell

Unit 8: The Tempest by William Shakespeare
Honors: A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

Unit 9: Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
Honors: The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

Table of Contents:
Overview and Objectives for Excellence in Literature
Frequently Asked Questions
How to Read A Book
Discerning Worldview Through Literary Periods
***Units 1-9 compose the bulk of the book, providing guidance for weekly lessons.
Formats and Models
Approach Paper Format
Historical Approach Paper Format
Author Profile Format
Literature Summary Format
Sample Poetry Analysis
What an MLA Formatted Essay Looks Like
Excellence in Literature Evaluation Rubric
Excellence in Literature Evaluation Rubric for IEW Students
Selected Resources
In unit one the student is required to read each assigned story and write an approach paper based on each story.  Now to be completely honest, prior to reviewing this book I had never heard of an approach paper before.  Thankfully, the author has included easy to understand directions and samples for the student to refer to. The author also instructs the teacher on how to properly correct all the given assignments.
My daughter has completed unit one and I’m very pleased with her work so far. We are about to begin unit two and I must say we are pretty excited to begin reading “Around the World in 80 days.”  Most of the stories in unit one my daughter has enjoyed reading.
All the links for the required reading have been provided, as well as additional links to other helpful recourses such as, about the author, poetry, music, and more.  
Each unit is divided into four weeks and each week an assignment is due.  A Writers Handbook is a must have recourse as the author tells the student to refer to it often.   

For the students that want more of a challenge, there is an Honors option added to each week.       
I feel Excellence in Literature is a great program, especially for students who are college bound, and I’m grateful we had the opportunity to review it.  I will continue to work through this program with my daughter.

English I: Introduction to Literature is available for $27 (ebook) or $29 (printed book).
Be sure to stop by the TOS hub and read what my fellow crewmates had to say about Excellence in Literature.

I'm a crew member with The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew and I received Excellence in Literature ~ Introduction to Literature free of cost in exchange for my honest review.

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