I have been enjoying the DVD series “Teaching the Classics” by Adam and Missy Andrews. It is training for parent teachers, or anyone who is interested, to use the Socratic method to facilitate literary analysis of any story, by any student. Most of the material is familiar to me, but Andrew’s presentation is so concise and methodical that you cannot help but come away with lots of uses for literary analysis. We use it for movies, plays, and even picture books. Adam Andrews recommends starting literary analysis with children’s books, even when starting with older students.
But why do we need to know anything about literary analysis? Here is one good reason: eventually you will be asking your children to write. They must learn to organize thoughts before they can write. They must think critically. Literary analysis using the Socratic method trains critical thinking. It makes every story more enjoyable when you can really understand it and discuss it. It develops a habit of thinking and thinking, along with the ability to express thoughts, is what makes a student successful, in school and in life.
The great news is that literary analysis is easy to teach. You can start by asking a few simple questions. And these questions apply to any age group you are teaching. Imagine if you start asking questions while your little one is cuddled in your lap. They will be used to discussing literature with you when they get to middle school and you really need to keep them talking in order to discuss things of great importance!
You will want questions to help determine the elements of a story: setting, plot, theme, conflict, and characters. I have attached 5 starter questions to work through with your kids, big or small. Start with a classic story. Try your favorite Curious George book, one of the Frances stories, Little Bear, or Mike Mulligan. Clink on the link and try it today with whatever book your cutie pie drops into your lap. It is my gift to you! 5 Questions to Ask Your Preschooler When Reading a Story Together.
Let me know what story you use and how it goes! Happy reading!
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