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Literature Guides for Lord of the Flies Review by Dr. Anne Margaret Wright

Secondary Solutions
1205 W. Cypress Avenue, #238
San Dimas, CA 91773

Secondary Solutions was started by a high school teacher who was not satisfied with the available literature guides for teachers, so she wrote her own. The company now has a team of teachers writing literature guides, with about 20 titles available ($18.95 each) for middle and high school teachers. These literature guides are designed to help the teacher present a great piece of literature in a meaningful way without having to design the curriculum from scratch. They are not reviews of literature, such as CliffsNotes or Spark Notes, with detailed information about the characters, plot, history, and scenes. These are teacher guides designed to take the work out of teaching literature by providing a wide variety of worksheets and assignments that can be printed or copied for the students. There is limited background information and a very brief summary of the book included.

The wide variety of assignments would help keep the students interested. There are vocabulary worksheets, hands-on and group activities, crossword puzzles, critical thinking activities, and many others for each book. The assignments seem to be comprehensive, well organized, and appropriate to the grade level and material. Quizzes and final exams are included, along with answer keys to all assignments. There were also many writing assignments to help students practice their writing skills in a variety of interesting ways. It would work well for homeschooling families who want a structured guide for teaching literature, or could provide additional assignments for a unit study.

I was impressed with the variety of assignments and the organization of the books. The coursework was very creative and interesting, and many assignments provided good background on teaching particular literary skills, such as setting tone and mood or writing poetry. Many of the guides are available for purchase as downloadable .pdf files which would be convenient for printing out copies of the assignments. It should be noted that these books were written from a secular humanist worldview, so some of the interpretations are not consistent with a Christian worldview. Parents who do not have a strong literature background may also need additional information from other sources to take advantage of these guides, such as more information about the author, historical information about the time period and characters, and more in-depth information about the work of literature. But if you have a pretty good understanding of the book and need some great workbook type assignments, these literature guides may prove to be very helpful in your homeschooling.

Product review by Dr. Anne Margaret Wright, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March 2007