Here’s the second in our series of FREE Writing Lessons from Literature, and it’s based on Frances Hodgson Burnett’s heartwarming tale of friendship and generosity: A Little Princess. Like Book 1 in our Writing Lessons from Literature series, this is a nine week course suitable for children in grades four to six. If not used as a writing course, it can be used for reading comprehension or for a book club.
The main goal of this series is to teach children how to write by studying and analyzing passages from novels and by imitating writing techniques used by the authors. The secondary goal is to help children develop an appreciation for the novel by looking at the underlying themes and character development.
Unlike other writing courses, this program is not meant to be a manual for teaching your children to write essays, reports, etc. Rather, it is a guide for imaginative and creative children who love to read and talk about books, to help them construct their own stories after the style of the author they are reading. In this program, they will learn to examine the themes and techniques of another author, to sequence events, construct dialogues, to describe characters and paint pictures of scenery with words. Putting all these together, they will learn to write stories. For every assignment there will be a checklist to help your children make sure they are including these vital elements, such as vivid adjectives and verbs, compound and complex sentences, various sentence openers, and every now and then, some pizazz of onomatopoeia. The checklist is divided in two sections: “the cake,” which is the underlying structure – both of the paragraph and of the sentences – and “the icing” which are the adjectives, similes, verbs, etc. which bring the structure to life and make the writing a work of art.
Every week there will be a reading assignment, and based o the reading, there will be text analyses to study the author’s use of the English language and assignments to imitate it. Thus, the novel itself will be the textbook and its author the teacher; these worksheets will function as guides to examine the novel and learn from it.
Here are some sample pages:
Download Writing Lessons from Literature, Book 2: A Little Princess here for FREE:
Teacher's tip: Make sure you set aside time to talk about the comprehension and discussion questions with your child. The discussion part of this series is just as important as the writing part, and that's where the fun really comes in. Another little suggestion: If possible, it's worthwhile to buy a beautiful edition of this book. This hard cover edition of A Little Princess has full color illustrations by Tasha Tudor, and my daughter just loved it.
Up next in this series is Writing Lessons from Literature, Book 3: Clara of Strawberry Fields. Stay tuned!