what is literature focus unit?the advantages & disadvantages? How you teach it

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mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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A literature focus unit is a multi-genre approach to teaching language arts, focusing on a theme, skill, or pedagogy as focus.  It is a best practice in elementary education, as it introduces all the genres of literature (instead of just fiction): myth, romance, fiction, poetry, historical fiction, non-fiction, etc..

Advantages: it exposes students to many authors, themes, genres, styles, characters.  Anything done with a focus is better than a "Marching through Georgia" chronological or survey approach to teaching language arts.  Speciality is a key of higher education: being an expert is better than knowing a little about a lot.

According to one teacher, here are the steps in the process:

Steps in Developing a Literature Focus Unit

  1. Literature Selection

Select the piece of literature to be featured in the literature focus unit and obtain a class set of books.

  1. Unit Plan

Develop the teaching plan for the literature focus unit.

    1. Teachers read or reread the selected book or books and then think about the focus they will use for the unit.
    2. Sometimes the teachers focus on an element of story structure, the historical setting, wordplay, the author or genre, or a concept or topic related to the book.
    3. Teacher think about which activities they will use at each of the five stages of the reading process.
    4. Teachers brainstorm and create lists of the activities.  All of the activities may not be used but a list is a starting point.

  1. Strategies and Skills

Identify the language arts skills and strategies to teach during the unit.

  1. Technology Resources

Locate technology resources related to the featured book.

  1. Six Language Arts modes

Incorporate activities representing all six language arts into the teaching plan.

  1. Grouping

Coordinate whole-class, small-group, and individual grouping patterns with the activities.

  1. Schedule

Create a time schedule and lesson plans.

  1. Assessment

Plan how students’ work will be assessed and make an assignment checklist or other grading sheet.


mstultz72's profile pic

mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

A literature focus unit is a multi-genre approach to teaching language arts, focusing on a theme, skill, or pedagogy as focus.  It is a best practice in elementary education, as it introduces all the genres of literature (instead of just fiction): myth, romance, fiction, poetry, historical fiction, non-fiction, etc..

Advantages: it exposes students to many authors, themes, genres, styles, characters.  Anything done with a focus is better than a "Marching through Georgia" chronological or survey approach to teaching language arts.  Speciality is a key of higher education: being an expert is better than knowing a little about a lot.

According to one teacher, here are the steps in the process:

Steps in Developing a Literature Focus Unit

  1. Literature Selection

Select the piece of literature to be featured in the literature focus unit and obtain a class set of books.

  1. Unit Plan

Develop the teaching plan for the literature focus unit.

    1. Teachers read or reread the selected book or books and then think about the focus they will use for the unit.
    2. Sometimes the teachers focus on an element of story structure, the historical setting, wordplay, the author or genre, or a concept or topic related to the book.
    3. Teacher think about which activities they will use at each of the five stages of the reading process.
    4. Teachers brainstorm and create lists of the activities.  All of the activities may not be used but a list is a starting point.

  1. Strategies and Skills

Identify the language arts skills and strategies to teach during the unit.

  1. Technology Resources

Locate technology resources related to the featured book.

  1. Six Language Arts modes

Incorporate activities representing all six language arts into the teaching plan.

  1. Grouping

Coordinate whole-class, small-group, and individual grouping patterns with the activities.

  1. Schedule

Create a time schedule and lesson plans.

  1. Assessment

Plan how students’ work will be assessed and make an assignment checklist or other grading sheet.


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