intro-to-literature-composition-clrcIntroduction to Literature and Composition

“Reading virtuously means, first, reading closely, being faithful to both text and context, interpreting accurately and insightfully. Indeed, there is something in the very form of reading—the shape of the action itself—that tends toward virtue.
—Karen Swallow Prior

This course introduces students to the art of reading and writing well, while also preparing students for high-school-level English courses. Students learn how to form a thesis, apply grammar and composition to their writing, and discuss literature with their fellow students.

Learn to craft cogent arguments; practice the art of rereading and rewriting; master the grammar rules about commas, semicolons, and clauses that still give you trouble; analyze and imitate master authors. Read books that teach us about the difficulties of growing up, while discussing with a classroom of other students the joys and the struggles of becoming an adult.

Students in this course will read four novels, one play, and several essays, poems, and short stories. They will write a descriptive essay, two persuasive essays, and a business letter using MLA formatting. They will memorize two poems, and they will learn the names and usage of many important literary devices, such as simile, metaphor, and irony. They will also learn about plot structure and character development, all while practicing the art of conversation with fellow students under the guidance of the instructor. Each semester will end with a short exam.

This course is ideal for junior high students ready for a college-prep English course that will develop and refine their reading and writing skills, but it will also serve as an excellent introduction for high school students—or even as a challenging course for precocious sixth graders.

Fall 2020 Registration for this Course Opens on February 27.

Is this a Literature Class or a Writing Class?

Both! Reading and writing well are taught as complementary skills in this course. Accordingly, students should plan to set aside enough time to both complete reading assignments and writing exercises each week. The time required for such work will depend on the student, but for initial planning, students should set aside around five hours for work outside of class time to complete their work.

Reading and writing well are exercises in paying attention to the world. Whatever stage in life we are in, these complementary skills—reading (literature) and writing (composition)—are those in which we can always improve. Thus, the aim of this course is for them to grow in the art of attention, so as to better live a full and human life—whether or not a student attends college.

A Note on Writing Instruction

The writing process is taught step by step, beginning with brainstorming, research, and outlining; continuing with drafting and redrafting; and concluding with editing, receiving feedback, and revising. In addition, through the literature students read and summarize each week, they practice reading carefully and summarizing accurately and precisely—both skills used in the essays. As the grammar rules and literary terms are introduced, they are also integrated into reading and writing work.

About Prerequisites

To fully take advantage of this course, students should be familiar with the following:

  • Eight parts of speech
  • Subjects and predicates
  • Writing book reports/summaries

Please note that no persuasive essay writing experience is necessary. This is a skill that is introduced during this course.

  • "Tessa Carmen’s Introduction to Literature and Composition class was outstanding and rigorous. It exceeded my expectations in every way. I am astounded at the level my daughter was able to achieve under her tutelage."

    -- Paige C., California

  •  

    "Mrs. Carman's class was a great fit for my son.  It was well done, super organized, great constructive guidance, and just what he needed to build skills — especially for a reluctant writer.  I feel he learned a lot and was able to better open his mind for writing.  We have struggled in that area greatly over the years.  So this was perfect for him! "

    -- Melissa G., Tennessee

  • "My son had such a fantastic experience at CLRC! Tessa Carmen is the best teacher he's ever had. My son was having a blast memorizing and reciting Shakespeare. Never thought I would see that!" -- Jim C., Oregon

  • "I just wanted to let you know what an excellent teacher Mr. Smith is. He is stellar. He is patient, precise, thorough, engaging and keeps the class moving at just the right pace. I benefited tremendously from his expertise." -- Jill W., California

Part 1

(Fall '18)

REGISTER

Part 2

(Spring '19)

REGISTER

Prerequisites: Part 1 (or teacher's permission)

Prerequisites:  None
Instructor:  Tessa Carman,  B.A.   email
Grade  Level:  7th - 9th
Minimum Enrollment Required: 5
Maximum Class Size: 15
Tuition per Semester:  $360
Early Registration Discount (before June 1): $300

Fall enrollment is closed. Students may be able to enroll with the instructor’s permission. Please contact info@clrconline.com. Spring registration opens Oct 18th.

  • Section C

    REGISTER

  • Prerequisites: Language Arts III or equivalent preparation
    Instructor:  Damon Smith, M.A.
    damonsmith.clrc@gmail.com
    Age Level:  12 - 15 years
    Grade Level: 7 - 9 
    Minimum Enrollment: 5
    Maximum Enrollment: 18
  • Tuition per Semester:  $390

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    Class Meets: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:00 - 1:00 PM Pacific

  • Section B

    Enrollment for this class is closed for Fall 2021.

  • Prerequisites: Language Arts III or equivalent preparation
    Instructor:  Tessa Carman,  M.F.A.
    tessalynncarman@gmail.com
    Age Level:  12 - 15 years
    Grade Level: 7 - 9 
    Minimum Enrollment: 5
    Maximum Enrollment: 18
  • Tuition per Semester:  $390

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    Class Meets: Wednesdays, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM Pacific


  • Section A

    This Section is Full

  • Prerequisites: Language Arts III or equivalent preparation
    Instructor:  Tessa Carman,  M.F.A.
    tessalynncarman@gmail.com
    Age Level:  12 - 15 years
    Grade Level: 7 - 9 
    Minimum Enrollment: 5
    Maximum Enrollment: 18
  • Tuition per Semester:  $390

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    Class Meets: Tuesdays, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM Pacific

Section D

Prerequisites: None
Instructor:  Tessa Carman,  M.F.A.
tessalynncarman@gmail.com
Age Level:  11 - 15 years
Minimum Enrollment Required: 10
Maximum Class Size: 18
Tuition per Semester:  $390
Early Registration Discount (before June 1): $350
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Class Meets: Fridays, 7:00 - 9:00 AM Pacific
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Section E

Please Note: Section E is divided into two one-hour segments, meeting on Tuesdays and Thursdays. 
Prerequisites: None
Instructor:  Damon Smith,  M.A.
smith.damon@gmail.com
Age Level:  11 - 15 years
Minimum Enrollment Required: 10
Maximum Class Size: 18
Tuition per Semester:  $390
Early Registration Discount (before June 1): $350
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Class Meets: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:00 - 11:00 AM Pacific
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Section A--Tuesdays, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM Pacific:
SECTION IS FULL.


Section B--Wednesdays, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM Pacific:
SECTION IS FULL.

Section C -- Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1:00 - 2:00 PM Pacific:
SECTION IS FULL.

Section D -- Fridays, 7:00 - 9:00 AM Pacific:
SECTION IS FULL.


If you
(1) would like to be added to a Wait List for openings in either of the two closed sections, OR
(2) if you would interested in a potential third section of the class,
email us by clicking on the button below.
Problems Registering?    Click here    for help.  

“I learned a long time ago, Reuven, that a blink of an eye in itself is nothing.  But the eye that blinks, that is something. A span of life is nothing. But the man  who lives that span, he is something. He can fill that tiny span with meaning, so its  quality is immeasurable though its quantity may be insignificant. Do you  understand what I am saying? A man must fill his life with meaning, meaning is not  automatically given to life.”

Chaim Potok, The Chosen

Tessa Carman, M.F.A.

Tessa Carman

Tessa Carman studied Politics, Philosophy, & Economics (B.A., magna cum laude) at The King’s College in New York City, where she wrote her thesis on George MacDonald’s fairy tales. She also completed her MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) at Seattle Pacific University in 2020.

Her family roots are in northern Minnesota, where her father’s crowded bookshelves, her grandfather’s 400-acre farm, and long cold winters were some of her first tutors.

She continues to pursue her love for literature, languages, theology, and theater with her husband, daughter, and son. Some of her favorite things include going for walks with her family, writing at coffee shops with her husband, hiking in the mountains, studying Old English with friends, baking biscuits and scones, exploring used bookstores, and advocating for the Oxford comma.

 

Damon Smith, M.A.

Damon Smith received a B.A and M.A. in Classics from the University of Arizona. He has completed his coursework and is working on his dissertation for a Ph.D. in Greek and Latin at the Catholic University of America. He has taught both Latin and Greek at the college level and taught 8th grade Literature and Composition and Latin at Chandler Preparatory Academy in Arizona. He currently lives in Granger, IN, with his wife and two young children. In his free time, Damon enjoys reading Greek and Latin poetry, lifting weights, and trying to get a two-year-old into opera.

Damon Smith, M.A.

Damon Smith received a B.A and M.A. in Classics from the University of Arizona. He has completed his coursework and is working on his dissertation for a Ph.D. in Greek and Latin at the Catholic University of America. He has taught both Latin and Greek at the college level and taught 8th grade Literature and Composition and Latin at Chandler Preparatory Academy in Arizona. He currently lives in Granger, IN, with his wife and two young children. In his free time, Damon enjoys reading Greek and Latin poetry, lifting weights, and trying to get a two-year-old into opera.

Course Reading List

A star (*) marks a book that must be purchased in the specified edition.   

Amazon links for textbooks and materials are provided for the convenience of our parents and students. 
The CLRC is an Amazon Associate.

Please purchase physical copies of these texts. We much prefer our students to have physical books both in class and while reading and doing homework.

The Lion, The
Witch,
and the Wardrobe

BUY NOW

midsummernightsdream

A  Midsummer Night's Dream
(Students may use any edition, as long as it is unabridged)

BUY NOW

The-chosen-clrc

The Chosen
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BUY NOW

elements-of-style-4th-edition-clrc

*The Elements of
Style 4th ed.
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Frankenstein

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Essential Literary Terms -- 1st/Brief Ed.

(Students are encouraged to purchase used)

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A Tale of Two Cities
(Any unabridged edition is acceptable)

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Additional Materials Provided by Instructor: 

"The Light Princess"

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde