Introduction to Literature
This course was created for high school English students to learn ideas, to build vocabulary, and to practice critical writing. Many high school curricula emphasize grammar exercises and offer literature anthologies, concentrating on the lives of authors and not their works. Also, the anthologies often include just a small portion of the total work. The publisher believes that this approach to literature is of little value for developing the student mentally and emotionally. If the student is asked to merely memorize a few facts about an author and some details about plots, then the study of “literature” is a colossal waste of time. College entrance exams, particularly the SAT, are essentially vocabulary tests. The better the student’s vocabulary, the better the student will score on the SAT. The best way to learn and to build the student’s vocabulary is by reading quality literature. Currently, the SAT, ACT, and most college placement exams require students to have a knowledge of standard edited English. Regretfully, grammar workbooks fail to prepare students for these tests. Students must struggle with writing and with editing their own work in order to become competent with edited English. This course will help students to become aware of the major concepts that appear on these tests. Students need to know how to write critically before they enter college. Few high schools teach writing, and when they do, the schools allow the student to dabble a little with creative and other types of writing. Even though students may have to write papers, the critical writing process is never fully explained to them. Therefore, students seldom get proficient with the one type of writing that college courses will demand: argumentative exposition. But even if they are fortunate enough to get an English teacher that teaches the basics of writing, generally students fail to receive enough practice with writing. This curriculum will have the student writing eight argumentative papers.