A Guide to Teaching Classic Literature Throughout the School Years

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Classic Literature in Elementary, Middle and High School

Enjoy sharing, exploring and analyzing classic literature with your elementary, middle school and high school students. From basic lessons with adaptions of the classics to the more complex analysis of characters, styles and themes, you will find what you need in this table of contents that will guide you in teaching classic literature.

Classics Literature In Elementary School

This section contains ideas, lessons and resources for introducing classic literature in the elementary years in age-appropriate ways.

The first article presents techniques for introducing elementary school children to classic literature; included is a list of classic stories (such as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer) to use with young students. The following article presents a list of age-appropriate resources for introducing Shakespeare’s works to elementary students. Use the lessons that follow with your young students and prepare them for the middle school and high school years requiring a more involved study of these classics.

The Gothic Classics In Middle And High School

The gore. The dark shadows. Students love it and you will love teaching it. The gothic genre sparks students’ interest; students can make connections to modern films and books. The connections are plentiful for teaching this genre.

As students study these great classics, they create their own scary gothic tales and create an original monster. Search through the lessons in this section for choosing the ones right for your students. Modify, as needed, to fit your middle school and high school students’ levels.

Classic Poetry For Middle and High School Students

At first mention of classic poetry, students may feel intimidated. But with the lessons presented in this section, learning literary devices such as imagery, alliteration, rhyme and figurative language present a reasonable challenge for middle and high school students.

Search through the articles here to consider the poems and lessons; choose the ones that work best for you and your students. Poems include The Raven, I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud, The Eagle, A Dream Deferred, and Red, Red Rose and more.

Classic Literature Lessons For High School

Five classic literature stories, each with two articles including lessons and tips, are presented in this section. Select the lessons that match the stories you’re teaching and use these to enhance and extend your instruction.

Explore the various ideas for teaching literary elements and techniques such as analyzing characters and plots, identifying themes and motives and much more.

Classic Literature Units and Guides For High School

Use this section to find lists of classics by time period and author. The links contained in this section offer units and guides for teaching the classics. Lessons include topics such as character analysis, vocabulary, plot analysis, essay writing and more.

The suggestions for classic stories and poems here make for effortless planning and designing of instruction when incorporating the classics into your instruction.

Classic Literature Reading Lists

This final section provides articles containing lists of classic stories. Explore the many classics presented in these articles and choose those that complete, extend or enhance your instructional plans for your English classes.

Classic Literature Beyond High School

Teaching with the classics from a young age exposes students to the great authors, styles and themes they will encounter in college English, literature and history classes. Prepare your students well. Use this table of contents to guide your planning and design of instruction to ensure age and level-appropriate lessons and materials.


  • Author’s own research and experience