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6th Grade Literature

August 14, 2012

Except for parts of the Old Testament, we didn’t read too many original works from our history period last year, partly because there’s not much from ancient times that is accessible for younger students, and partly because I pretty much dropped the ball on literature altogether.  I think a certain toddler may have had something to do with it, plus the fact I seemed to have been plagued by bronchitis most of the winter and quit reading aloud more than absolutely necessary for several months.

This year we’re going to be better!  We’re going to be much more intentional with our reading.  A strong emphasis on chronological world history and the reading of great books written during the times being studied in history were two of the things that really drew us to The Well-Trained Mind style of classical home education.  Finally this year, I feel like A and I are ready for some original works or at least some modern translations or retellings beyond the picture books we read four years ago.  Or at least I’m ready, and think A needs something to challenge him beyond the Harry Potter rereading he’s been doing of late.  So we’re tackling the 6th-grade literature list in The Well-Trained Mind together (minus Sir Gawain and the Green Knight–I’m not ready to tackle that with my 11-year-old just yet):

  • Beowulf–I just need to choose the Nye or the Heaney translation.  I’ve only read the Heaney so can’t make an educated choice here. Our library has the Heaney on audiobook, so that’s actually looking like the best option and the other two can then listen in.
  • The Canterbury Tales retold by Geraldine McCaughrean (some, I remember others being rather crude.)
  • The actual Prologue to the Canterbury Tales (in my Norton Anthology of World Literature from college)
  • Dante’s Inferno, Cantos I-V (also in Norton Anthology)
  • Questing Knights of the Faerie Queen by Geraldine McCaughrean (I was able to snag a copy on Alibris today.)
  • King Arthur–still deciding between Rosemary Sutcliff’s retellings and The Boy’s King Arthur: Sir Thomas Malory’s History of King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table with illus. by N. C. Wyeth, or another edition altogether??
  • Henry V–We’ve seen the Kenneth Branagh movie version and then A actually saw it live with us at the Utah Shakespearean Festival a few years ago so I think we can tackle reading the original.  Plus it’s my favorite!

So those are the books we’re going to read together and discuss.  Then there are so many great fiction books for this time period!  I’m so excited to get back to the Middle Ages again.  I haven’t finished going through all the different booklists I like to consult, but so far I’ve come up with these just for fun books, a lot of which I’m sure C will want to read as well.

  • The Adventures of Robin Hood by Roger Lancelyn Green
  • A Single Shard by Linda Park
  • Son of Charlemagne by Barbara Willard
  • The Hidden Treasure of Glaston by Eleanore M. Jewett
  • The Samurai’s Tale by Erik Christian Haugaard
  • The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly
  • Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi
  • Otto of the Silver Hand by Howard Pyle
  • The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood
  • The Lyon’s Roar by M. L. Stainer
  • The Hobbit by Tolkien (before the movie comes out!)

Any must-reads from the middle ages that I’m missing here?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Linda J. permalink
    August 16, 2012 8:00 pm

    Great list, K! Using it to narrow down my overly extensive list, since A and C seem to like the same books as my two. I ended up getting the Nye for Beowulf and really like it, but I haven’t looked at the other. For King Arthur, those you’re considering are really good, but do think about the classic The Once and Future King (White), maybe in addition. One of my personal favorites (so I’ll foist it on my DC). And there is a sequel to Crispin that the boys might like.


  2. August 24, 2012 6:34 pm

    I’ve got a few of those on my list. I just finished pre-reading Son of Charlemagne this week. I have Robin Hood but I forgot to add that to my list!
    I like your idea of using your college British Literature book! I think I’ll have to pull mine out too!
    I’ll need to look these up to add to my list!

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