Middle School Literature, Writing
(offered every year)

Taught by Christina Wassell and Andrew O’Brien

  • help students to migrate from youth fiction to some of the great classics of western literature

  • meet students at their individual writing skill levels and bring them forward in their abilities

  • develop a safe and supportive space for students to engage in constructive conversation

  • give students tools to analyze literature and writing with new depth and perspective

The Humanities at New Hope

Though tutorials differ as to age, grade level and subject matter, the general philosophy of language studies remains the same. In every tutorial, from middle school through senior year, students work almost entirely from primary sources, analyzing the material independently, through in-class discussions, and in the context of tutor questions and lectures. Students are asked to do the difficult thinking rather than letting Cliff's Notes do their work for them. Also, though the writing genres are essentially the same for a middle school student as for a professional writer, the complexity of and expectations for student writing change over time. Students are growing as writers within these genres over many years. Therefore, they are asked to achieve greater clarity, control and power as they progress. Finally, these courses seek to engage students in the language arts from the perspective of the Christian faith. It is the position of New Hope Tutorials that the humanities are most profoundly understood and appreciated through the life of faith in Jesus Christ.

Course Description

The main focus of Middle School Literature is student enjoyment of literature and writing. In the second year cycle, students are expected to "bring things up a notch", with more focus on critical reading and literary analysis. The course will cover several novels, but will also spend a significant amount of time studying the art of the short story, exposing students to a broad range of great authors. Shakespeare and select poems will also be examined. Student writing remains a focus in the course, as students progress in their own abilities, aiming not only to experiment with language and style, but to move toward greater clarity of expression and a new depth in their ideas. The genres assigned will include: reflection, exposition, persuasion, literary analysis, narrative, poetry, etc.

Book List for 2019-2020

  • Stories and Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children of All Ages, Harold Bloom, ISBN 0684868741

  • Silas Marner by George Elliot (Dover Thrift) ISBN 0486292460

  • Watership Down by Richard Adams, (Scribner) ISBN 0743277708

  • The Tempest by William Shakespeare (Shakespeare Made Easy) ISBN 0812036034

  • (TBA) by William Shakespeare (Shakespeare Made Easy) ISBN:

  • Walk in the Light and Twenty-Three Tales, by Leo Tolstoy (Orbis Books) ISBN 1570754608

  • The Essential Odyssey (transl. Lombardo) ISBN 978-0872208995

  • Old Man and the Sea by Earnest Hemingway ISBN 978-0684801223

  • A unit of short stories, mythology and poems, (two packets) to be provided by the tutor

Book list for 2018-2019 (MOST RECENT YEAR)

  • Stories and Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children of All Ages, Harold Bloom, (Scribner) ISBN-10: 0684868741

  • The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien, (Houghton Mifflin) ISBN-10: 054792822X

  • Animal Farm, George Orwell, (Mass Market Paperback) ISBN-10: 9780451526342

  • Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson, (Dover Thrift) ISBN-10: 0486275590

  • A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens, (Dover Thrift) ISBN-10: 0486268659

  • TBA - (Shakespeare Made Easy) William Shakespeare, ISBN:

  • The Prince and the Pauper, Mark Twain, (Modern Library Classics) ISBN-10: 0375761128

  • The Annotated Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen, (Anchor) ISBN-10: 0307950905

  • The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexander Dumas, (Bantam Classics) ISBN-10: 0553213504