Smarr Introduction to Literature

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  • Reviewed on Tuesday, October 6, 2009
  • Grades Used: 8th-9th
  • Dates used: 2009
If your child doesn't have a big literature background, this is a very good start. The reading amounts each day are reasonable and the questions are good for comprehension. Considering that I expected this course to be a nightmare for my non-reader son, it is going very well and he likes it.

Texas Cowgirl

  • Reviewed on Thursday, October 16, 2008
  • Grades Used: 9th
  • Dates used: 2007-2008
I was very happy with SMARR's Introduction to Literature and am going to continue to use their other offerings through high school.
The poetry unit covered such things as personification, metonymy, and synecdoche. The later two of which I'd never studied, even in college level literature classes. Most interesting to me, great care was taken to explain how stress and meter is used in poetry (and therefor, how poetry is read).
The vocabulary is **very** challenging, especially the lessons that have analogies. Vocabulary quizzes are included.
Some of the selections that are harder to understand (Merchant of Venice, for example) are made easier by following along with the questions. The questions are very good for making sure your student comprehends the reading, but sometimes are a little too simplistic. To counterbalance, there are more in-depth questions, which often ask the student to think about the reading from a Christian perspective. There are also additional short notes which add a little information you might not be aware of.
During the course of the year you will read poetry, two plays, seven novels and nine short stories. The poetry and short stories are purchased from SMARR, so you don't have to go searching around to find what you need.
The writing portion of the program is thorough on explanation, but the practice exercises are often a stretch. There is good teaching for writing a five-paragraph essay, which they will be doing quite a bit of over the course of the year.
I also like the fact that SMARR has chosen books available through Dover publishing, which are inexpensive (they usually range in price from $1-3.50).
I think this course could definitely be considered college prep.

Jacqui McClanahan

  • Reviewed on Tuesday, June 21, 2005
  • Grades Used: 9th
  • Dates used: Aug 04 - May 05
We liked the range and variety of literature covered in this course. However, our daughter was somewhat underchallenged, mainly because the comprehension questions tended to be superficial. The poetry section contained little analysis and left our daughter in the dark. Most disappointing to me was the large number of typos and grammatical errors throughout the text. Sometimes (not too often) the answers in the teacher's manual didn't correspond with the questions. The grammar was so-so: sometimes the wording of the "correct" sentences in the teacher's manual sounded strained or unnatural. If you have an average student, you might do ok with this. But if you have a bright student who reads well beyond his/her grade level, you might want to look elsewhere.