Category: Language Arts and Literature

How to teach grammar: is it relevant to diagram?

Teaching Grammar: To Diagram or Not to Diagram?

  When I teach essay writing for high school or college exams, I encourage students to beware of using absolutes such as “always” or “never,” because these are rarely true — there are exceptions to almost everything, and those absolutes...

Two Poems and a March for Independence Day

In honor of United States of America’s Independence Day on the 4th of July, here are are two thought-provoking, classic poems, plus one of my all-time favorite marches. The first poem, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “A Nation’s Strength,” would make an excellent...

The Madness of Multiple Choice, A Guest Post by Andrew Pudewa

If you’ve ever wondered whether Excellence in Literature needed a few multiple choice questions to make it “better,” this delightful essay by my friend and publisher Andrew Pudewa will make our position clear. Like comprehension questions, another pernicious evil, multiple-choice...

7 Alternatives to Writing a Literary Analysis

Essay writing is not the only tool for studying literature. Students can benefit from the occasional opportunity to approach the great books in a fresh way, so here are a few alternatives to writing a literary analysis.

A Piqued Plea for Correctly Peeking at the Peak

How to use the correct word when peeking at a peak.

Teach classic literature in context with Excellence in Literature

Teach Classic Literature in Context

Reading and teaching literature in context is a bit like studying a map before you set out for a walk in a strange city. Context helps you find significant intersections, decipher archaic language, and find a path through old-fashioned rhetoric. Here’s how to do it.

Education is an atmosphere;, illustrated by a Mary Cassatt image.

Charlotte Mason was Right! Education is an Atmosphere

Charlotte Mason said that “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life,” and she was right. A study published in 2010 on “Family Scholarly Culture and Educational Success” (PDF), reports that a family’s “scholarly culture – the way of life in homes where books are numerous, esteemed, read, and enjoyed” matters. Here’s how!

Literature, Language Arts, and the Common Core Standards

A look at the literature portion of the the Common Core Standards (CCS), with an excerpt from Hard Times by Charles Dickens.

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