Literary Core Skills

Overview

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The following outline presents an overview of the literary core skills (28 Grammar, 15 Logic, 24 Rhetoric) and their accompanying assignments. Each assignment has been designed to encourage the student to practice its parent skill.

The skills have been sorted according to the Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric stages. This division does not correspond to the age of the student. Rather, the stage of the trivium suggests the nature of the skill being taught. High school students will need to practice Grammar skills. Some elementary students may be ready to take on Logic-level literary interpretation. Rhetoric-level skills assume Grammar and Logic skills as a foundation.

Click on a literary core skill or an assignment for further description, downloadable templates, and completed examples.

 

Grammar Level Skills

Plot

G1. Define and review the definition of simple plot.

G1.1     Recitation Exercise: Define Simple Plot            

G1.2     ID/Selection Exercise: Identify Simple Plots     

G2. State the simple plots of various titles.

G2.1     Single Sentence Exercise: State Simple Plot of Current Story

G3. Explain and review the stages of a plot.

G3.1     Story Chart Exercise: Define Stages of Plot                  

G3.2     Matching exercise: Define Stages of Plot                     

G3.3     ID/Selection exercise: Identify Stages of Plot               

G3.4     Story Chart Exercise: Arrange Plot Episodes                

G4. Describe the stages of plot for various titles.

G4.1     Recitation Exercise: Define Stages of Plot         

G4.2     Reading Quiz: Fill in the Blanks                       

G4.3     Short Answer Exercise: Exposition       

G4.4     Short Answer Exercise: Rising Action   

G4.5     Short Answer Exercise: Climax             

G4.6     Short Answer Exercise: Dénouement    

G4.7     Short Answer Exercise: Conclusion      

G4.8     Short Answer Exercise: Rising Action Transition          

G4.9     Identification Exercise: Label Stages of Plot     

G4.10  Short Answer Exercise: Arrange Plot Episodes  

G4.11  Story Chart Exercise: Stages of Plot     

G5. Identify the climax of various titles.

G5.1     Short Answer Exercise: Climax and Resolution              

G5.2     ID/Explanation Exercise: Climax         

G5.3     ID/Selection Exercise: Climax              

G5.4     Short Answer Exercise: Resolution of Conflict  

G5.5     Short Answer Exercise: Climax and Theme        

G5.6     Short Answer Exercise: Climax and Protagonist

G6. Explain the conclusion of various titles.

G6.1     Short Answer Exercise: Summarize Conclusion 

G6.2     Short Answer Exercise: Conclusion and Theme 

G6.3     Short Answer Exercise: Conclusion and Characters

Character

G7. Describe the characters in various titles.

G7.1     Reading Quiz: ID/Selection Exercise    

G7.2     Drawing Exercise: Character    

G7.3     Short Answer Exercise: Character Description   

G7.4     Cast List Exercise: Physical Descriptions

G7.5     Cast List Exercise: Personalities             

G7.6     Cast List Exercise: Motivations              

G7.7     Creative Writing Exercise 1: Characters            

G7.8     Creative Writing Exercise 2: Characters            

G7.9     Creative Writing Exercise 3: Characters            

G8. Define and review the definitions of protagonist and antagonist.

G8.1     Recitation Exercise: Define Protagonist and Antagonist            

G8.2     ID/Selection Exercise: Identify Antagonists                  

G8.3     ID/Explanation Exercise: Recognize Protagonists                    

G9. Describe the protagonist & antagonist in various titles.

G9.1     Drawing Exercise: Protagonist             

G9.2     Short Answer Exercise: Identify Protagonist     

G9.3     Short Answer Exercise: Identify Antagonist       

G9.4     Short Answer Exercise: Discuss Antagonism      

G9.5     Short Answer Exercise: Actions of Antagonist   

G9.6     Short Answer Exercise: Describe Protagonist    

G9.7     Oral Exercise: Discussion of Antagonist            

G10. Explain the motivations and obstacles of the characters in various titles.

G10.1  Cast List Exercise: Physical Descriptions

G10.2  Cast List Exercise: Personalities             

G10.3  Cast List Exercise: Motivations              

G10.4  ID/Explanation Exercise: Conflict        

G10.5  Group Exercise: Drama                       

G10.6  ID/Explanation Exercise: Character Studies      

Conflict

G11. Define and review the definition of conflict.

G11.1  Recitation Exercise: Conflict Questions    

G11.2 ID/Selection Exercise Examples of Conflict         

G11.3  Single Sentence Exercise: Conflict in David and Goliath

G11.4  Single Sentence Exercise: Summarize the Conflict                    

G12. Understand and review the five types of conflict.

G12.1  Recitation exercise: List the Types of Conflict               

G12.2  ID/Selection Exercise: Identify Conflict Types               

G12.3  Creative Writing Exercise: Suggest Simple Plots for Types of Conflict

G13. Explain the goals & obstacles facing the protagonists of various titles.

G13.1  Short Answer Exercise: Describe Elements of Conflict in Current Story

G13.2  Fill-in-the-Blank Exercise: Describe Goals of Protagonist                      

G13.3  ID/Selection Exercise: Identify Obstacles Facing the Protagonist

G14. Explain the motivations & obstacles of the characters in various titles.

G14.1  Cast List Exercise: Physical Descriptions

G14.2  Cast List Exercise: Personalities             

G14.3  Cast List Exercise: Motivations              

G14.4  ID/Explanation Exercise: Conflict        

G14.5  Group Exercise: Drama                       

G14.6  ID/Explanation Exercise: Character Studies      

G15. Classify the conflicts in various titles.

G15.1  Single Sentence Exercise: Summarize Conflict of Current Title               

G15.2  Short Answer Exercise: Categories of Conflict in Current Title

G15.3  Short Answer Exercise: Character Sketch of Antagonist

G15.4  Story Chart Exercise: Plot the Rising Action of Current Title       

G15.5  Story Chart Exercise: Conflict and Climax                    

Setting

G16. Define and review the definition of setting.

G16.1  Recitation Exercise: Define Setting       

G16.2  Creative Writing Exercise: Create a Protagonist for Each Setting

G16.3  ID/Selection Exercise: Identify Setting             

G17. Summarize the setting in various titles.

G17.1  Short Answer Exercise: Locate Passages that Establish Setting    

Theme

G18. Define and review the definition of general theme.

G18.1  Recitation Exercise: Define General Theme                   

G18.2  ID/Selection Exercise: Identify General Themes            

G18.3  Creative Writing Exercise: Give General Theme to Simple Plots  

G19. Explain the general theme of various titles.

G19.1  Single Sentence Exercise: State General Theme of Current Title               

G19.2  Story Chart Exercise: General Theme                

G19.3  Short Answer Exercise: Discuss General Theme via Protagonist    

G19.4 Short Answer Exercise: Discuss General Theme Via Non-Protagonists          

G20. Define and review the definition of specific theme.

G20.1  Recitation Exercise: Define Specific Theme                   

G20.2  ID/Selection Exercise: General vs. Specific Themes                   

G20.3  Creative Writing Exercise: Supply Specific Theme for Each General Theme

G21. Explain the specific theme of various titles.

G21.1  Single Sentence Exercise: State Specific Theme of Current Title              

G21.2  Story Chart Exercise: Identify Specific Theme               

G21.3  Short Answer Exercise: Specific Theme as Answer to Story Question

Style

G22. Define and review the definitions of various literary devices.

G22.1  Matching Exercise: Define Literary Devices                  

G22.2  Matching Exercise: Identify Literary Devices                

G22.3  Creative Writing Exercise: Use Literary Devices             

G22.4  Oral Exercise: Retell Current Story                                

G23. Locate examples of literary devices in various titles.

G23.1  Citation Exercise: Quote a Literary Device from Current Title                 

Context

G24. Identify the author of various titles.

G24.1  Drawing Exercise: Author                   

G25. Describe the author's life and times.

G25.1  Drawing Exercise: Author                   

G25.2  Story Chart Exercise: The Author’s Life            

Composition

G26. Compose a paragraph-length thematic essay.

G26.1  Essay Exercise: Topic Sentence

G26.2  Essay Exercise: Supporting Sentences

G26.3  Essay Exercise: Clincher Sentence

Recitation

G27. Recite selections of various works of prose and poetry.

G27.1  Recitation Assignment Form

G28. Read selections from various works of prose and poetry aloud.

G28.1  Oral Reading Assignment Form


 

Logic
Level Skills

Plot

L1. Relate the plots of various titles to their main themes.

L1.1      Recitation Exercise: Discuss Plot                                  

L1.2      Reading Quiz: 3-Sentence Quotation Categorizing Plot             

L1.3      Story Chart Exercise: Relate Climax, Conflict, and Theme          

L1.4      Short Answer Exercise: Relate Exposition to Theme       

L1.5      Short Answer Exercise: Relate Rising action to Theme    

L1.6      Short Answer Exercise: Relate Climax to Theme             

L1.7      Short Answer Exercise: Relate Dénouement to Theme    

L1.8      Short Answer Exercise: Relate Conclusion to Theme      

Character

L2. Relate the characters in various titles to their main themes.

L2.1      Recitation Exercise: Discuss Characters             

L2.2      Reading Quiz: 3-Sentence Quotation Discussing Characters       

L2.3      Short Answer Exercise: Relate Protagonist to Theme      

L2.4      Short Answer Exercise: Relate Antagonist to Theme       

L2.5      Short Answer Exercise: Relate Minor Characters to Theme         

Conflict

L3. Relate the conflicts in various titles to their main themes.

L3.1      Recitation Exercise: Discuss Conflict                

L3.2      Reading Quiz: 3-Sentence Quotation Discussing Conflict                       

L3.3      Story Chart Exercise: Connect Climax, Conflict, and Theme                  

L3.4      Short Answer Exercise: Relate Conflict to Theme           

L3.5      Short Answer Exercise: Relate Conflict Category to Theme         

Setting

L4. Relate the setting of various titles to their main themes.

L4.1      Recitation Exercise: Discuss Setting                  

L4.2      Reading Quiz: 3-Sentence Quotation Discussing Setting            

L4.3      Short Answer Exercise: Relate Local Setting to Theme     

L4.4      Short Answer Exercise: Relate Temporal Setting to Theme          

L4.5      Short Answer Exercise: Relate Social Setting to Theme   

L4.6      Short Answer Exercise: Relate Historical/Intellectual Setting to Theme    

Theme

L5. Illustrate the themes of various titles using textual evidence.

L5.1 Short Answer Exercise: Explain Thematic Significance of a Story’s Title    

L5.2      Story Chart Exercise: Create Quick Card of Title

L5.3      Reading Quiz: 3-Sentence Quotation Discussing Theme             

L5.4      Recitation Exercise: Discuss Theme                   

Style

L6. Define and review the definitions of various literary devices.

L6.1      Creative Writing Exercise: Use Literary Devices             

L6.2      ID/Selection Exercise: Define Literary Devices              

L6.3      ID/Selection Exercise: Identify Literary Devices            

L6.4      ID/Selection Exercise: Define Literary Genres               

L6.5      ID/Selection Exercise: Identify Literary Genres             

L7. Consider the use of literary devices in various titles.

L7.1      Reading Quiz: 3-Sentence Quotation on Literary Devices                       

L7.2      3-Sentence Quotation Exercise: Literary Devices in Current Title            

Context

L8. Describe the author's life and times.

L8.1      Story Chart Exercise: The Author’s Life            

L8.2      Single-Sentence Exercise: Conflict in the Author’s Life              

L9. Compare the author's life & times to the themes of various titles.

L9.1      Short Answer Exercise: Compare Details of the Author’s Personal Life to Themes of the Current Story     

L9.2      Short Answer Exercise: Compare Geographical Details of the Author’s Life to Themes of the Current Story

L9.3      Short Answer Exercise: Compare Chronological Details of the Author’s Life to Themes of the Current Story

L9.4      Short Answer Exercise: Compare Details of the Author’s Beliefs to Themes of the Current Story

Composition

L10. Apply book marking techniques for thematic interpretation.

L10.1   Notation Exercise: Present Reading notes for Inspection           

L10.2   Notation Exercise: Explain Notations               

L11. Select details from lectures and discussions in notetaking.

L11.1   Notation Exercise: Present Class Notes for Inspection                

L12. Compose a page-length thematic essay.

L12.1   Essay Exercise: Thesis             

L12.2   Essay Exercise: Supports                     

L12.3   Essay Exercise: Microcosm Paragraph

L12.4   Essay Exercise: Outline

L12.5   Essay Exercise: Rough Draft

L12.6   Essay Exercise: Final Draft

L13. Compose an original storyline using plot chart, Socratic List.

L13.1   Creative Writing Exercise: Quick Card of Original Story Line

L13.2   Creative Writing Exercise: Completed Story Chart of Original Story Line

Recitation

L14. Recite selections of various works of prose and poetry.

L14.1     Recitation Assignment Form

L15. Read selections from various works of prose and poetry aloud.

L15.1    Oral Reading Assignment form


 

Rhetoric
Level Skills

Poetry and Recitation

R1. Classify major poetic forms.

R1.1      ID/Selection Exercise: Identify Poetic Forms                

R1.2      Multiple Choice Exercise: Analyze Sonnets       

R1.3      Multiple Choice Exercise: Analyze Poems                    

R2. Relate form of various poetic titles to their subjects.

R2.1      Short Answer Exercise: Relate Poetic Form to Theme     

R3. Compose a Shakespearean sonnet on assigned universal idea.

R3.1      Creative Writing Exercise: Sonnet                    

R4. Recite selections of various works of prose and poetry.

R4.1      Recitation Assignment Form

R5. Read selections from various works of prose and poetry aloud.

R5.1      Oral Reading Assignment Form

Theme

R6. Choose passages from various titles to illustrate their themes.

R6.1      Oral Presentation Exercise: Theme of Current Title        

R6.2      Reading Quiz: 3-Sentence Quotation Discussing Plot Point in Assigned Reading

R6.3      Reading Quiz: 3-Sentence Quotation Illustrating Theme in Assigned Reading

R6.4      Reading Quiz: 3-Sentence Quotation discussing Character Development in Assigned Reading                 

R6.5      Reading Quiz: 3-Sentence Quotation Discussing Conflict in Assigned Reading

R6.6      Reading Quiz: 3-Sentence Quotation Discussing Setting in Assigned Reading

R7. Relate the use of literary devices in various titles to their main themes.

R7.1      Reading Quiz: 3-Sentence Quotation Explaining Literary Devices in Daily Reading

R7.2      Oral Presentation Exercise: Relate Literary Devices to Theme

R8. Relate details from the author's life & times to themes of various titles.

R8.1      Short Answer Exercise: Can Personal Details of the Author’s Life Help Us Understand the Story’s Themes?

R8.2      Short Answer Exercise: Can Geographical Details of the Author’s Life Help Us Understand the Story’s Themes?

R8.3      Short Answer Exercise: Can Chronological Details of the Author’s Life Help Us Understand the Story’s Themes?

R8.4      Short Answer Exercise: Can Details About the Author’s Beliefs Help Us Understand the Story’s Themes?

R9. Defend thematic interpretations of various titles in oral discussion.

R9.1      Oral Presentation Exercise: Discuss General and Specific Themes of Current Title

R10. Compose several 3-5-page thematic essays.

R10.1   Essay Exercise: Thesis             

R10.2   Essay Exercise: Supports         

R10.3   Essay Exercise: Microcosm Paragraph

R10.4   Essay Exercise: Outline

R10.5   Essay Exercise: Rough Draft 

R10.6   Essay Exercise: Final Draft

 

Worldview

R11. Extend Socratic dialogue to include worldview analysis of various titles.

R11.1   Short Answer Exercise: Explore Worldview of Current Title       

R12. Choose passages from various titles to illustrate their worldviews.

R12.1   Short Answer/Citation Exercise: Quote Passage Illustrating Worldview   

R12.2   Reading Quiz: 3-Sentence Quotation Illustrating Worldview of Current Title      

R12.3   3-Sentence Quotation Exercise: Identify “Contradictory” Passages in Current Title

R13. Compare themes of various titles with their worldviews.

R13.1   Interpretive Question Exercise: Worldview of Current Title                    

R13.2   Short Answer Exercise: Debate Bullet Points on Worldview of Current Title        

R14. Relate details from the author's life & times to the worldviews of various titles.

R14.1   Socratic List Exercise: “What Does This Story Say About God?” Does It Tell the Truth as the Author Saw It?

R14.2   Socratic List Exercise: “What Does This Story Say About Human Nature?” Does It Tell the Truth as the Author Saw It?       

R14.3   Socratic List Exercise: “What Does This Story Say About the Natural World?” Does It Tell the Truth as the Author Saw It?  

R14.4   Socratic List exercise: “What does this story say about human society and relationships?” Does it tell the truth as the author saw it?            

R14.5   Socratic List Exercise: “What is the Highest Good in the Story? Does It Tell the Truth as the Author Saw it?          

R14.6   Socratic List Exercise: “What is the Greatest Evil in the Story?” Does It Tell the Truth as the Author Saw It?          

R14.7   Socratic List Exercise: “In the World of the Story, How Can Evil Be Overcome?” Do the Story’s Answers Tell the Truth as the Author Saw It?   

R14.8   Socratic List Exercise: “What Does the Story Say About Death? Does It Tell the Truth as the Author Saw It?”         

R14.9   Socratic List Exercise: “What Does the Story Say About Love? Does It Tell the Truth as the Author Saw It?”

R14.10   Socratic List Exercise: “How Do the Details of the Author’s Personal Life Resonate with the Presuppositions Suggested by the Text?”  

R14.11   Socratic List Exercise: “How Do the Geographical Details of the Author’s Life Resonate with the Presuppositions Suggested by the Text?”   

R14.12   Socratic List Exercise: “How Do the Chronological Details of the Author’s Life Resonate with the Presuppositions Suggested by the Text?”   

R14.13   Socratic List Exercise: “How Do the Author’s Beliefs and the Intellectual History of His Time Resonate with the Presuppositions Suggested by the Text?”          

R15. Defend worldview interpretation of various titles in oral discussion.

R15.1   Oral Discussion Exercise: Relate Theme to Worldview               

R16. Compose 6-10-page interpretive essays.

R16.1   Essay Exercise: Thesis 

R16.2   Essay Exercise: Supports 

R16.3   Essay Exercise: Microcosm Paragraph

R16.4   Essay Exercise: Outline  

R16.5   Essay Exercise: Rough Draft

R16.6   Essay Exercise: Final Draft

Biblioscopic Dialogue

R17. Summarize several thematic interpretations of various titles.

R17.1   Citation Exercise: Annotated Bibliography                   

R17.2   Citation Exercise: Example                  

R17.3   3-Sentence Quotation Exercise: Summarize Critical Interpretation of Current Title

R18. Compose 6-10-page critical essays. 

R18.1   Essay Exercise: Thesis 

R18.2   Essay Exercise: Supports 

R18.3   Essay Exercise: Microcosm Paragraph

R18.4   Essay Exercise: Outline

R18.5   Essay Exercise: Rough Draft

R18.6   Essay Exercise: Final Draft

R19. Consider various (children's) titles with respect to a specific universal idea.

R19.1   Story Chart Exercise: Relate Title’s Theme to Universal Idea                   

R19.2   Short Answer Exercise: Relate Title’s Characters to Universal Idea          

R19.3   Short Answer Exercise: Relate Title’s Conflict to Universal Idea  

R19.4   Interpretive Question Exercise: Discuss Universal Idea Using Current Title          

R20. Compare various (children's) titles with respect to a specific universal idea.

R20.1   Single Sentence Exercise: Compare Specific Themes in Multiple Titles

R20.2   Interpretive Question Exercise: Discuss Universal Idea Using Multiple Children’s Stories           

R21. Consider various titles with respect to a specific universal idea.

R21.1   Short Answer Exercise: Explain General Theme of Current Title  

R21.2   Short Answer Exercise: Explain Specific Theme of Current Title  

R21.3   Interpretive Question Exercise: Discuss Universal Idea Using Current Title          

R21.4   Story Chart Exercise: Relate Title’s Themes to Universal Idea                 

R21.5   Short Answer Exercise: Relate Title’s Characters to Universal Idea          

R22. Compare groups of titles with respect to a specific universal idea.

R22.1   Single Sentence Answer Exercise: Compare Specific Themes of a List of Titles

R22.2   Interpretive Question Exercise: Discuss Universal Idea Using Multiple Titles       

R23. Compose 6-10-page thesis on universal idea.

R23.1   Essay Exercise: Thesis 

R23.2   Essay Exercise: Supports 

R23.3   Essay Exercise: Microcosm Paragraph

R23.4   Essay Exercise: Outline

R23.5   Essay Exercise: Rough Draft

R23.6   Essay Exercise: Final Draft

R24. Defend thesis orally in biblioscopic dialogue.

R24.1   Oral Thesis Defense Form