• Deborah Verga

Essentials in Literature 10 Review


Today I'm diving into our secular language arts curriculum for 10th grade.


For English Literature we're using Essentials in Literature 10!


I did a video preview and review of Essentials in Literature 10. You can check that out below!



We've used both Essentials in Literature and Essentials in Writing since 7th grade and love them!


You can purchase everything you need for this program as a set, or piece it together. We purchased ours through Rainbow Resource.


I like to purchase the curriculum bundle that way we have everything we need for the program for one-school-year of instruction.


Essentials in Literature 10 Bundle Pack

Included in the Essentials in Literature bundle pack is a textbook, a resource book, a novel, and either dvd's or online access to the course lectures taught by the author and creator of Essentials in Literature, Matthew Stephens.


We've used the dvd's in the past. But for 10th grade, we choose the curriculum bundle with online access.


When you purchase your bundle, you choose if you want dvd's or online access. If you choose dvd's they will mail them to you with the rest of your package.


If you choose online access, you will receive an email containing information on how to access the members area of the Essentials in Writing website for online access to the Essentials in Literature lectures.


Essentials in Literature 10 Program Overview


Essentials in Literature 10 is a 34-week program.


They provide you with an optional lesson plan to follow.


You may choose to follow this plan or do your own thing.


If you're also using Essentials in Writing 10, the optional lesson plan provided covers how your child should work through both programs on a week-by-week basis over the 34-weeks.


In years past, we've done our own thing with both of these programs.


This year, for 10th grade, we will follow this 34-week lesson plan while using both Essentials in Literature 10 and Essentials in Writing 10.


Side Note: I will have a complete preview and review of Essentials in Writing 10 completed in the next couple of weeks! Be sure to check back for that.


Essentials in Literature 10 Overview

In Essentials in Literature 10 your child will cover: Fiction, Drama, a Novel - To Kill a Mockingbird, and Poetry.


Unit 1: Fiction (Short Stories)

- Fiction unit terms and explanation

- 7 short stories (application)

- Nonfiction Connection

- 1 summative assessment











Unit 2: Drama (One Act Plays)

- Drama unit terms and explanation - 2 one act plays (application) - 1 summative assessment - 1 culminating activity











Unit 3: Novel

To Kill a Mockingbird

- 1 novel (literary analysis application) - 1 summative assessment - 1 culminating activity (composition, visual presentation, or speech)










Unit 4: Figurative Language/Poetry

- Figurative Language/Poetry Unit terms and explanation - 5 sections of up to 10 literary works (application) - 1 summative assessment











Essentials in Literature 10 Required Works

The novel for Essentials in Literature 10 is To Kill a Mockingbird. That novel is provided.


The short stories, plays, and poetry are not provided. However, they are easily accessible via the internet as .pdf downloads.


One of the things I love about both of the Essentials in Literature and the Essentials in Writing programs is the amount of support provided to families.


When you purchase this curriculum you will be invited, via email, to join the Facebook group: Essentials in Literature Group for Homeschool Parents.


Under the "files" tab in that group you will find a .pdf download for Essentials in Literature 10 with all of the required short stories, plays, and poetry for this program! No searching necessary! Tap - Print - Done!


Pattern of Instruction

Each Essentials in Literature 10 lesson follows a 5-7 day pattern (except for the Novel Study Unit).

  • Before You Read lessons (meet the author, analyzing literature lectures, vocabulary, story background).

  • While You Read lessons (reading focus)

  • After You Read lessons (analyzing literary elements, comprehension checks, vocabulary, and analyzing figurative language)

There are also Independent Practice activities that summarize the areas emphasized in the lessons and give your child composition practice.


Organizing Essentials in Literature 10

It's not clear, at first glance, how to tie the materials together. Honestly, it's confusing!


So I'm going to break it down and show you how I organize this course for the school year.


My video demo below, will be super helpful. So be sure to check that out, below!


The Textbook

The Textbook guides your child through each daily lesson.


Each of the four sections in the Textbook are color coded:

  • Fiction - Blue

  • Drama - Gold

  • Novel - Burgundy

  • Poetry - Green

There are instructions and symbols indicating what to do for that day's lesson:

  • read the material in the textbook

  • watch a video lecture

  • read one of the required reading pieces

  • complete a worksheet

  • complete a writing assignment

And often it's a combination of these tasks.


The Resource Book

The Resource Book has the analytical worksheets for completing the non-composition assignments.


The worksheets are short answer questions, multiple choice questions, fill-in-the-blanks, matching, diagramming... all of it.






I take the Resource Book apart and place the worksheets into a 3-ring binder by section.


As you can see below, my daughter's binder has 5 sections, with 4 of those corresponding directly to the areas of study in the Textbook: Fiction, Drama, Novel, & Poetry.


I simply place the .pdf required reading assignments (short stories, plays, and poetry) directly on top of the worksheets in each section.


As she works through her Textbook, and the video lectures, she will just pull out the assignment worksheets for whatever lesson she's working on. Easy peasy!


I make a 5th section to store her final papers.


These are composition pieces that are not completed on the worksheets. Such as, 3-5 paragraph writing assignments, or a research project.

I also place a copy of her syllabus and the 34-week lesson plan in the front of her binder so she can check them off as she works through the course.


Teacher's Planner

I have a separate 3-ring binder I use as my Teacher's Planner.


The materials inside are broken down by all of her subjects for the school year.


Under English I have copies of the Essentials in Literature 10:

  • syllabus

  • 34-week lesson plan

  • all of the .pdf reading assignments

  • the answer key (which is included in the back of the Resource Book).

VIDEO PREVIEW & REVIEW: ESSENTIALS IN LITERATURE 10




Parting thoughts...

We have really enjoyed using Essentials in Literature throughout the years and look forward to using it again for 10th grade.


My daughter enjoys the way Mr. Stephens presents the material.


He makes literature interesting and not overwhelming.


My daughter has done very well with this program and we will continue to use Essentials in Literature throughout high school.


Join me over Facebook and Instagram. Would love to meet you there!



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© 2019 Deborah Verga