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Understanding Literature Starts August 26!

Understanding Literature, a two-semester comprehensive analytical skills class, begins its Fall 2010 Session on August 26th.

Thursdays from 1:15 to 3:00 (notice the start time!)

Dates: First day August 26th and Last Day Dec 9th

Break: Fall Break October 7th, no class

Location: Wellspring Church, 7300 Smithfield Road, NRH, 76180

Cost: $20 deposit due to Donna starting June 6th, $120 remaining tution due in full by third week of class unless other arrangements have been made

To Enroll: Use the contact page above or email Donna at YourWritingTeacher dot Com to signal your intent to enroll. I will send you mailing information for the deposit and will place your student on the class roll upon receipt of the deposit.

Course Desciption:

The course is not a reading course wherein students will cover a huge breadth of works or have to figure out what’s happening in difficult or archaic pieces of literature. Instead, I intend to turn the students into thinkers of literature, instead of just readers.  I think many of the students are widely read, but they probably haven’t developed true analytical skills (or even know all the tools of analysis). The class will basically function as a Comp 2 class, similar to what I taught in college, only at a slower pace and little lower reading level. We will do thorough analyses of short stories, plus analysis and interpretation of poetry in the fall.
There will be writing, and lots of it. It is my intent to design each essay assignment into two levels: 9th /early 10th grade, and 11th & 12th .
In addition, students will have casual, directed journal writing for each class, as well as two exams per semester that will require brief essay responses.
This class is designed to give students practice with the tools of analysis and interpretation so they will be able to handle literature of any sort or source and write something other than just summary or their own opinionated response to the theme, My goal is to teach my students to think for themselves about literature, not just parrot someone else’s ideas. Independent thinking will serve them all well in college.


Students will need a three-ring binder with filler paper and page dividers. They also need to bring pencils, pens, and a highlighter to every class. In addition, students will need either a spiral notebook or a pocket folder with brads and filler paper for journal entries. Make sure your students have a pencil case or some way to ensure they bring writing tools to class.

Texts: I am currently pulling together a reading list for the course. Students will need to bring a hard copy of each story and poem to class for discussion and class activities. I will send the short story and poetry reading list via email to those who indicate their interest in the course.

Short Stories: I will pull 5 or 6 stories from Great American Short Stories from Hawthorne to Hemingway, Barnes & Noble Classics edition, $7.95. I have asked the B&N store near Northeast Mall to order in enough copies to cover 20 students. Right now these books are stocked near the front in the Bargain Priced section.

Poetry: We will do a variety of poems, most of which you can readily find online.

I will be referencing the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, seventh edition, to teach about proper citation and documentation for the essays. Students do NOT need to buy the handbook.

Who This Class Is For: High school students, interested adults, people who have basic essay skills, people who have not done much in the way of analysis
Who This Class Is Not For: Middle School students, students with zero essay writing experience, people who have already done much literary analysis already