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Shengmeng Education Center
Reading and Discussions Across the Middle School to High School Curriculum
Class Size: 12
Age Requirement: 12 - 15
Teacher: Emerson School
Class Time: 1:00-1:50pm
Class Room: 2181816018
Tuition Fee: 750.00
Textbook Fee: 0.00
Material Fee: 0.00

Class Description

This course will help willing students learn to read and interpret literature that they encounter in middle school, high school, and even college.  This is primarily a literature course involving an advanced level of writing skills, so students who are having difficulty with basic writing should take “Middle School to High School Level Reading, Writing, and Presenting” instead.  

The 30-week course will cover the reading of works of literature, discussion of the works read, and writing about the works. It will be conducted as small-group workshops and seminars like those students will experience 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 ideas and opinions relating to a single topic are shared).  Students will also read their papers and discuss critically the writings of their colleagues.  

The course will start with more accessible works (two Edgar Allen Poe short stories) 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.  Students will also be exposed to works that will interest them that they might not experience in school: international literature (a short story by Chinese writer, Eileen Chang) and a popular hero of English literature (Robin Hood) and folklore.  

As the students move toward more difficult texts (e.g., Shakespeare’s The Tempest, 19th and 20th century poetry, a political treatise by founding father, Thomas Paine), they will be given the support tools to both understand and enjoy the works.  These tools include reference works (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 such as film versions.  

The course will address at least three of California’s state curriculum skills: summary writing, persuasive writing, and responses to literature.  Students will take practice tests similar to those administered in the seventh grades in California. 

For more information, contact:


Charles D. Bernstein, Ph.D.

Early Learning Institute

2800 West Bayshore Road, Palo Alto, CA 94303

(650) 424-1155, x1; Fax: (650) 856-2778