Experienced advise from 7Sister Marilyn: How and Why to Use Elementary Literature Guides!
How and Why to Use Elementary Literature Guides
As the mother of six children, half biological and half adopted, I have had to face the (gasp!) fact that not all children love, or even like, to read. Reading is, however, an important part of education – formal or otherwise. Literature guides are designed to aid in comprehension, give insight into literary elements, and introduce supplemental material to enhance a student’s understanding while piquing his/her interest.
Should you use a literature guide for every book? Certainly not. Reading for the fun of reading is crucial. Reading some stories aloud to children, listening to an audio book (with or without the use of a lit guide), or watching a movie based on a book can all be ways to impart the JOY of reading.
The shared experience is so important. Children who struggle with reading comprehension need to hear books read well as a prelude for reading on their own. Children can listen to a book well above their reading level; they can learn from these books without the frustration of decoding and comprehension needing to occur simultaneously.
A literature guide can draw the student’s attention to details that might go unnoticed, aid in discussion (especially in a co-op setting) and set the stage for further literature analysis in later years. Drawing attention to literary elements such as plot can set the stage for further investigation of literary elements in high school. The supplemental activities can help the student understand the setting of the story, both geographically and historically.