Literature Terms-My Little Reminders

As we go through our literature readings each week, I want to have a way to remember the terms and concepts that are on our “to do” list for the year. I came up with a method a few years back and it is still a great way to review and cement ideas as we go through our weekly literature assignments. I also love that it is relatively painless and inexpensive, as well as quick and easy.

I take a set of 3″ by 5″ cards and write down the literary terms that I would like to cover for the year. I keep the cards in a box or you can hole punch and put them on a ring. I like to move the completed cards to a separate section and only use them for review. Some cards stay in the current section for the complete school year. We are working on finding the theme in our literature this year so the “theme” card will stay in the front.

As we go through the week’s reading, I pull out several of the cards and keep them in mind when we have our literature discussions. Tapestry of Grace uses “story analysis” and weaves it into their plans, but I want to review more often than it comes up in the TOG plans.

Here are some of the cards we have used over the years.

Beginning Cards:
Main Idea
Legend/Myth/Folk Tale/Fable/Tall tale
Figure of speech

Next step:
Point of view (first person, third person, etc)

Our new high school level cards:
Short Story
Poetry/free verse/limerick
Tragedy/Comedy/Historical play

How do we use the cards? After pulling a few cards each week to keep in mind, I ask the boys to watch out for examples of the concepts in their reading. For instance, if we were working on metaphors, they might keep track of a few that they come across in their weekly work. If the book we are reading is a biography, we might talk about point of view, setting, dialogue , or mood. Shakespearean plays give us the opportunity to discuss which category of play we are reading, rhyme, characters, dialect, or irony.

Another way I weave the literature terms into our work is to have the boys include examples in their own writing. I might ask them to include a metaphor in their writing or to write from a certain point of view. This way they are not only able to find examples in their literature but also cement the idea by incorporating the concepts into their own writing. I love that.

If you have younger children, you can use the cards as a reminder to yourself and as you cover each idea, make a little pencil check in the corner to keep track of which cards you have shared so far. It is a visual reminder as you work through your school year.

We start each year with a quick review of the terms we know and I add in a few new ones to work on, keeping track as we work through the weeks.

If you are a Charlotte Mason homeschooler, you can intertwine these literary terms into your narration assignments. An example might be for your student to narrate some dialogue for the current literature book or to narrate the setting of the book with a drawing. You can be as creative as you would like using the cards and terms.

Hope this helps someone or sparks an idea of your own. You can actually use this idea for other subjects as well and I found it a lifesaver when I had three homeschoolers working on different grade levels.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

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