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Welcome to Essentials in Literature!

We are very excited to be releasing a new product that will go very well with our current product line, Essentials in Writing. Essentials in Literature is a video based literary analysis program.

Essentials in Literature is a literary analysis curriculum that features a student textbook/workbook combination with video instruction from teacher, Matthew Stephens presented on DVD over four units: fiction, nonfiction, novel, figurative language/poetry.

Literary analysis occurs across the curriculum by exploring short stories in the fiction unit. Short works of nonfiction such as excerpts from biographies and autobiographies as well as informative articles, propaganda techniques, and narrative nonfiction are analyzed in the nonfiction unit. Figurative language and poetry are explored in the final unit following a six week novel study.

Using primarily short works to analyze poetry and prose allows students to focus on literary elements and active reading skills individually in short, easy lessons and activities; however, one long literary work is the subject of literary analysis within each level as well in order to ensure students are able to apply the same skills to longer works. Video lessons taught by teacher, Matthew Stephens are precise, to the point, and model literary analysis.

Each literary piece is explored through multiple before, while, and after you read activities over a series of five days. Story Assessments (Independent Practice) provide comprehension and application practice through a variety of assessment techniques included but not limited to multiple choice, matching, long answer, tabled literary analysis application, and written response.

Summative Assessments are the culminating activity for each individual unit with multiple choice, matching, short answer/fill in the blank, true/false, tabled literary analysis application, and written response assessment techniques.

Students are taught to analyze literature not only for its literary value but also as a way to connect with authors, characters, events, and places. Students will be challenged to become better readers, writers, and critical thinkers as they prepare for college and careers.

Frequently Asked Questions
Although Mr. Stephens, the author and teacher, is a Christian, the curriculum is not Christian based. His goal is to provide a literature curriculum that focuses primarily on exploring and analyzing literary elements through short stories, shorts works of nonfiction, novels, and poetry. From this approach, parents have the option to teach their values and beliefs relating to events in stories or characters’ actions or reactions.
Each short literary work contains one small writing assignment (one paragraph in size) in addition to answering comprehension and connection questions. Independent Practice activities contain two small writing assignments (one paragraph in size). Students may complete one or both writing assignment.
Essentials in Literature uses a variety short works to teach elements of literature and uses recent works as well as the classics. Novels are a mixture of both as well.
Essentials in Literature comes with a complete textbook, parent/teacher handbook (containing a syllabus and an answer key), and one complete novel. Short works such as short stories, nonfiction pieces, and poems may be found by searching online. Search the internet using the title of the work and author’s name. In order to ensure that you are reading the correct literary work, include both the title of the literary piece and the author’s first and last name of your internet search.

See example below:

Short story: Stop the Sun by Gray Paulsen

Search terms entered at google.com: stop the sun gary paulsen

If you need assistance locating a literary work, contact customer service.

Please contact your charter school and have your vendor contact customer service at 417-256-4191.
  • Levels 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 have been released.
  • Level 12 is expected to release in March 2020.
  • Levels 6, 5, 4, and 3 will follow (in that order).
A list of all literary works that are explored for each level is listed in the appropriate level Literary Works PDF on the individual level pages.
Alternating is one of many effective approaches. Complete a writing activity (one week or more) then switch to a literature study (one week or more). The key is to allow the “flip-flop” to occur naturally without trying to hold to a rigid schedule. Additionally, there are many parents who choose to complete literature in the fall and writing in the spring. Both approaches are acceptable.

If you are using Essentials in Writing and Essentials in Literature, you can download the 34 Week Plan located on each level’s webpage. For a detailed explanation of all options, please contact Customer Service.

Yes. There is a video sample above and accompanying pages from the textbook.
Students learn to analyze the literature through multiple lectures, graphic organizers, and written answers. Students develop critical thinking skills by constantly reading about, exploring, and participating in activities such as seeing the relationships between events, analyzing characters actions and reactions, drawing conclusions, etc.
As with any curriculum, modifications may be necessary for students who struggle. However, because the approach is a day by day, step by step, small bite size chunk approach to literature, students typically fare well with this type of approach.

Level 7

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Level 8

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Level 9

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Level 10

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Level 11

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