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Implementing Literautre in a Unit Study

Using literature is a wonderful source for a unit study. Or, expand a topical unit study and add new dimensions of interest. Here are some ways to incorporate your literature selections.

You may want to read How to Implement a Unit Study for ideas on successful use of unit studies.

Before reading your chosen piece of literature, you could let your child examine the cover of the book and predict what the book will be about.

Brainstorm what you already know about your given unit study topic (or something that figures prominently in your reading selection) before reading the book: geography, economy, architecture, education, art, religion, government, society, family, etc. Then, after reading the book, see what more you have learned.

Have your child create a literature or writing journal by stapling writing paper between construction paper covers. They can decorate the journal cover with motifs that are consistent with the stories you are reading or the topic that you are covering.

Make a vocabulary list or let your child create their own by writing down new or unfamiliar words they come across as they read. There are several activities that you could then use these words with:

Vocabulary flashcards
Word definitions
Synonym-antonym chart
Parts of speech charts (noun, verb, adjective, adverb)
Poetry using the new vocabulary words
Create crossword and search-n-find puzzles with graph paper
Vocabulary bees
Using the new vocabulary words correctly in sentences
Vocabulary charades

Have them learn to make outlines. They can practice by outlining the story line from one or more of your literature selections.

For "reluctant readers" or young students, implement some reading strategies. Even older students will sometimes be more likely to pay attention to a story if they are reading it along with someone else. Reading together also makes a great bit of one-on-one time. Below are some successful strategies that I have used.

1. Round Robin Reading. This is an oral activity that you can use when you have two or more children reading the same book at the same time. Each child takes a turn for a paragraph, page, chapter, etc. and then passes the book to the next child allowing them to read, then on to the next child, etc.
2. Partner Reading. Children pair up and take turns reading. They could even do this activity with a non-homeschooled friend.
3. Teacher Reading. The adult in charge reads the book or selection out loud. This helps the child develop good listening skills, particularly if they are asked comprehension questions at the end of the reading session.
4. Silent Reading. This is where the child is allowed to read the book alone and to themselves.

Have the child answer, in complete sentences, comprehension questions about the story. They can do this in their literature journal.

Create comic strips from stories that they have read.

Let them make "new and improved" book jackets for each story.

They can make illustrated dioramas or diagrams for the literature selections you choose.

They can write plays or dialogues based on the literature selections you choose. You can then enact the play or dialogue if you choose -- or even use it at your "Finale" activity.


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