Literature Units: An Overview of Styles

Literature Units overview

Thinking back on some of the great minds of the past, I am reminded about how much reading they did. One of the interesting things you find when you read about Abraham Lincoln or Benjamin Franklin or any number of others is that they read. A lot. And a variety. So why would we not make that a major portion of the education of our students?
In our home, we have a minimum of three different literature studies going on at any one time. These are always quite different studies and they are directed in very different ways. I want to take you through some of these today and show you that just picking up a book and reading with them can make all the difference in your child’s education.

Read Alouds

This is the most basic of a literature unit. It is truly just a book read aloud to your students. In our home, At Home Dad has a book going with the girls at all times. He generally reads to them over lunch. He uses a wide range of voices for the characters and selects his books carefully. He is currently reading L. Frank Baum’s The Marvelous Land of Oz.

Read Alouds with Discussion

This is the next step up and is again a good read aloud book. It is expanded upon with discussion. I am currently reading L. Frank Baum’s The Twinkle Tales to the girls and we just finished up Elsie’s Endless Wait by Martha Findley. As we are reading along, we stop and discuss ideas that are new or deep. We stop and define words. We stop to talk about actions the characters take and the outcomes of those choices. This is often our “right before bed” book and it serves as a comfortable time to snuggle with all the girls and settle down for the night.

Springboard Book Unit

In this type of unit, you have a core book that you use as a springboard. You read it repeatedly, looking for new tidbits of learning each time. This core book will help you spring into science or languages or any number of other subjects. The popular Five In A Row series is an example of what I call Springboard Book Units. For an example of this, take a look at our FIAR units. Many books lend themselves to this easily by talking about a country to study, or a science concept to explore, or a piece of music or another book title to check out. Just let the book and its words lead you to the next thing.

Lapbooking Units

A book that lends itself to lapbooking is a jewel. This type of study gives you the ability to make minibooks about different topics. Nonfiction books are naturals for lapbooking. Other books that make grouping information easy work well as lapbooks. There are many websites available to help guide you.

Study Guide Units

The final type of unit I want to touch on is geared towards older students or students that enjoy writing. A study guide is a series of questions that are designed to help the student think through various aspects of the book. It helps direct their thinking in specific ways and to think deeper, more thoroughly about the topics.

Finding A Book

To start out, there are some guidelines I want to share. Make sure it is quality literature. It needs to be something engaging with a rich language and vivid writing style. I don’t summarily discount series but do check them carefully. Older doesn’t mean better and newer doesn’t mean its bad. Ensure that it challenges the minds of all of your listeners.
There are tons of book lists out there to help you get started if you are unsure where to begin. We did a series about our favorite books last year or you can visit Pinterest. You’ll find a bundle of options. Just jump in and read something good with your kids. It will enliven your homeschool and brighten everyone’s day.
At Home.

Lori HootenMy name is Lori. I am many things but the most important is a child of God. In His image, I try to be a good wife to a fantastic husband and mother to three beautiful girls in our second year of homeschooling. We share some of our learning and thoughts on At Home: where life happens.

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