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Shengmeng Education Center
Literature - Critical Reading and Writing (Grades 5-8)
Class Size: 12
Age Requirement: 10 - 12
Teacher: HeadsUp Hacienda
Class Time: 12:10-1pm
Class Room: 2181816016
Tuition Fee: 750.00
Textbook Fee: 0.00
Material Fee: 45.00

Class Description

This course will help willing students learn to read and write in the way they will need to in high school and college.  The required pre-requisite is to have completed one of the Write Now! “Fundamentals of English Writing” classes; no other writing class will substitute.
The 30-week advanced writing course will cover the reading of literature, discussion of the works read, and writing about the works. It will be conducted like small-group workshops and seminars in middle school, high school, and college. Students will have approximately 30 minutes of reading each week and 30 minutes of writing in preparation for the class.
The in-class work will include Socratic discussions (in which the meaning of a small section of the work is extrapolated to the whole work) and thematic discussions (in which are shared ideas and opinions relating to a single topic).  Students will also read their papers and discuss critically the writings of their colleagues.  
The course will start with more accessible works (e.g., Jack London short story, Robert Frost poems, excerpt from Maxine Hong Kingston novel) to help students acquire the analytical tools they need to read carefully and with understanding.  These texts are chosen because experience has shown that students understand them and engage well with the characters.  This will help ensure that the students care about the issues they will write about. 
Because the works chosen frequently appear in school curricula, the readings will likely be useful later in high school or college.  As the students move toward more difficult texts (e.g.,. Shakespeare, Chaucer, Henry David Thoreau), they will be given the support tools to both understand and enjoy the works.  These “tools” include reference books (e.g., Stories from Shakespeare by Marchette Chute), which students are likely to make use of through college, as well as the “tricks” of literary critics and even other forms of the stories (e.g., film, animé and graphic novels).
The course will address all four of California’s state curriculum skills: narrative, summary, and persuasive writing, and responses to literature.  Students will take at least four practice tests similar to those administered in the seventh grades in California. 
The materials fee covers all the books and materials for the course.  Each student receives a class notebook to be used to collect the handouts and their writing assignments.

For more information, contact:
Charles D. Bernstein, Ph.D.
Early Learning Institute
2800 West Bayshore Road, Palo Alto, CA 94303
Telephone: (650) 424-1155, X1; Fax: (650) 856-2778; E-mail: