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Essay Writing & Literature Book Study

Class Overview

Although appropriate for any level of high school, this class especially works well for the 9th grader just entering high school composition/literature studies.

Essay writing and literature are combined in this full-year course to provide the average high school student the opportunity to earn the required Language Arts high school credit for the year. We begin the year with essay writing instruction and spend most of the second semester writing essays and studying The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

Many students are familiar with writing reports on various topics and might even refer to these as “essays.” However, the proper structure of their report is nowhere near the structure expected in formal essay writing. As stated by the author, Lesha Myers, in the course overview of the text we will use, “The Elegant Essay course teaches middle and high school students the form of essay writing, that is, the basic structure or format or organization that undergirds all types of essays.”

Concentrated instruction will cover the following topics: thesis statements, essay organization, transitions, introductions, conclusions, descriptive essay practice, persuasive essay practice, and planning charts. Once most of the essay instruction has been completed, weekly essay assignments will be given to provide continual practice of the skills learned.

Early in the second semester, our literature book study will begin with assigned weekly readings, in-depth research, and class discussions. In addition, the students will learn the nuances of writing literary analysis essays as they become familiar with Markus Zusak, the author of The Book Thief. Zusak is a master writer who expertly brings the stinging truth of Hitler’s dictatorship to his readers with strength and emotion through creative expression and characters not easily forgotten.

We will meet for an hour of instruction each week for 30 weeks, with moderate homework assigned regularly. Additional time for individual encouragement and editing help will also be provided weekly when needed during my “office hours.”

Class Materials

The Elegant Essay (Student book only) by Lesha Myers M.Ed.; Third Edition, March 2011.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

Interested in this class?

Reach out to Cathy Backhaus for more information and registration details. 

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