The Learning Language Arts Through Literature Gold Books for high school level are very different from the other Learning Language Arts Through Literature books for lower grade levels. There are three Gold Books—British Literature (by Greg Strayer and Timothy Nichols), American Literature (by Greg Strayer), and World Literature (by Diane Welch).
They may be used in whatever order you wish. However, it usually works best to study the literature that correlates with the historical periods and places you are studying each year.
In American Literature, students read from Great American Short Stories, The Mentor Book of Major American Poets, The Red Badge of Courage, The Pearl, and The Old Man and the Sea. A Bible is also required.
British Literature requires Frankenstein, Emma, A Tale of Two Cities, The Time Machine, Animal Farm, and A British Poetry Anthology. Students read entire poems and books rather than small excerpts.
World Literature ranges far and wide, both geographically and through time, with literary works from around the world. Students will read from A World Literature Anthology (from Common Sense Press), The Odyssey, No Fear Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet, The Little Prince, and Cry, the Beloved Country. World Literature is substantially larger than the other books since it often includes additional brief, excerpted readings or poems within the lessons themselves.
While students can complete these courses independently for the most part, discussion certainly enhances the learning process. Ideally, students will do some work in writing and some orally. If possible, parents should also read the literature so they can discuss the literary works as well as questions that might arise from the lessons. Summaries of the novels are included in the teacher sections in case parents don’t have time to read the novels, but this is unlikely to provide sufficient familiarity for in-depth discussions. The summaries along with suggested answers take up the last part (one quarter to one third) of each book. Note that summaries are not provided for all of the readings.
The Gold Books can serve as complete language arts courses for students who already have sufficient instruction in grammar and composition. Students are given compositions assignments such as, "Write a three or four paragraph persuasive letter...." ( World Literature, p. 175). The course assumes that the student already knows how to write a persuasive letter. Some students might need additional work in grammar and composition to be able to complete the assignments.
The emphasis is primarily upon literature and literary analysis. Students study the elements of fiction and poetry as well as how to analyze the particular pieces. All of this is done within the context of a Christian worldview.
Lessons in these books are arranged in units, e.g., early literature, epic poetry, Medieval-Renaissance, Enlightenment-Romanticism, The Short Story, and 20th Century in World Literature. While there are a number of lessons within each unit, there are 36 lessons in each course. Each lesson should take one week to complete. Each lesson is presented in sections numbered one through five with detailed, daily lesson plans. The five sections are not set off distinctively, so it is easy to miss the numbering system. This is important to point out to students so that they are clear as to what should be completed each day.
Most lessons include questions of some sort or writing assignments. You will use some of the questions for discussion and some for written work. Occasional assignments clearly state that students are to discuss something with their teacher. However, you will have to determine on your own whether or not to use any of the other questions for discussion or oral responses. Writing assignments range from simple answers to essays, with significant attention given to essay writing.
Each book has a “How to Use This Book” page before the Table of Contents. The authors of American and British Literature recommend that students maintain a notebook for each course, divided into four sections. (That part of the instructions is included in the “How to Use This Book” section for British Literature and at the beginning of the teacher section for Unit 1 in American Literature.) These instructions are easy to miss. I would recommend that students using World Literature also maintain a similar notebook. Students might complete some of their writing on the computer, but all of their work should be compiled in their notebook.
Teachers also need to check answers and evaluate essays and other written work. Essay and book review checklist forms are included in both American and British Literature books to let students know in advance the points on which they will be evaluated and to make it easier for the teacher to complete the evaluation.
These are excellent college preparatory courses. Other than the reading material, each course is self-contained within one non-consumable book. Other required literary works should be available online or at the library. Free sample lessons and a placement test are available on the publisher's website.