Course Description

Very rarely in human history have a place and a people grown up together into a new culture. That is the American experience. Like the land and the people, so too the voice of this new civilization is distinctive, often raw, and always real. Remember, the men and women who founded the United States of America risked their lives to do so. What was it that made this thing called “independence” so valuable?


It is important to consider that what today we call “The Declaration of Independence” was called treason by England. If the Revolutionary War had failed, if the American farmers and planters had not been able to overthrow the largest military force in the world at that time, the Founding Fathers would surely have lost their lives at the hands of the British Government. That bold, independent streak that set the world aflame in 1776, echoes throughout American Literature.


From the earliest colonial voices, to the transcendental poets and essayists, to "THE" American literary form - the short story - and beyond, the literature of this newborn nation reflects the bold, independent push for liberty that birthed it. From Nathaniel Hawthorne, to Mark Twain, to Harper Lee - the authors of American Literature stare unblinkingly at their society, demanding we settle for nothing less than the best we can muster.


In this course we explore the unique voice of American Literature, with the hope that it will inspire both teachers and students to greater heights as well. Like the country from which it springs, American Literature tends to push envelopes, challenge traditions, and raise more questions than it answers. We will interact with the literature, wrestle with it, be inspired by it, and hopefully grow in our ability to analyze and appreciate the themes and ideas these pioneering authors present.

Author & Educator

Cara Shelton

Miss Cara received a Bachelor of Arts in English from CSU, Northridge, where she graduated magna cum laude. A lifelong bibliophile, Miss Cara has been teaching Literature and English Composition courses for over twenty years now, finding that getting students talking about Literature is just as rewarding as reading it! Outside of the classroom, Miss Cara and her husband are co-ringmasters of their own "Family Circus," recently having graduated the last of their children from their own homeschool. Author of several children's books, and co-author of a set of devotional books (with her sister), Miss Cara is excited to provide literature courses that will empower parents, teachers, and students to take education into their own hands!Not all Rigor is Mortis!

Course curriculum

  • 2

    Lesson 1, Unit 1: Foundations in American Literature -The Colonials

    • Story Element Diagram

    • Vocabulary Unit 1 - The Colonials

    • Grammar Gaffe, Lesson 1

    • Active Reading Presentation

    • Homework, Week 1

    • Reading Packet Week 1

    • AmerLit_Lesson 1, Discussion

  • 3

    Lesson 2, Unit 1: Foundations in American Literature -The Colonials

    • Reading Comprehension Quiz, Lesson 2

    • AmeriLit_Discussion 2.1

    • Grammar Gaffe, Lesson 2

    • Vocab Magic Square_Unit1

    • A Literary Tool Chest Cover and TableofContents

    • LiteraryToolChest_Lesson1

    • AmerLit _ Discussion 2.2

    • Homework, Week 2

    • Reading Packet Week 2

  • 4

    Lesson 3, Unit 1: Foundations in American Literature -The Colonials

    • Reading Comprehension Quiz, Lesson

    • AmerLit_Discussion 3.1

    • GrammarGaffe_Week3

    • VocabCrissCrossPuzzle_Unit1

    • LiteraryToolchest_Lesson2

    • Conloquio Magno - Writing Component for 1st Semester!

    • AmerLit_Discussion3.2

    • HomeworkWk3

  • 5

    Lesson 4, Unit 1: Foundations in American Literature -The Colonials

    • ReadingQuiz_CruciblePt1

    • AmerLit_Discussion 4.1

    • GrammarGaffe_Week4

    • CharacterStudy_Crucible

    • LiteraryToolchest_Lesson3

    • IHAVEWHOHASVocabCards

    • AmerLit_Discussion 4.2

    • HomeworkWk4

  • 6

    Lesson 5, Unit 1: Foundations in American Literature -The Colonials

    • ReadingQuiz_CruciblePt2

    • Amer Lit Discussion 5.1

    • GrammarGaffe_Week5

    • LiteraryToolchest_Lesson4

    • VocabQuiz-Unit1

    • WhyIWroteTheCrucible_ArthurMiller

    • Amer Lit Discussion 5.2

    • HomeworkWk5

    • Reading Packet Week 5

  • 7

    Lesson 6, Unit 2: Freedom Literature: The Revolutionaries

    • ReadingQuiz6_WashingtonIrvingShort

    • Amer Lit Discussion 6.1

    • GrammarGaffe_Week6

    • Unit2Vocab_RRCRAmLit

    • LiteraryToolchest_Lesson5

    • Amer Lit Discussion 6.2

    • HomeworkWk6

    • Reading Packet Week 6

  • 8

    Lesson 7, Unit 2: Freedom Literature: The Revolutionaries

    • ReadingQuiz7_FranklinAdamsWheatley

    • Amer Lit Discussion 7.1

    • GrammarGaffe_Week7

    • LiteraryToolchest_Lesson6

    • DeTocquevilleDiscussion

    • Vocabulary Bingo Game_Unit2_AmericanLit

    • Amer Lit Discussion 7.2

    • HomeworkWk7

    • Reading Packet Week 7

  • 9

    Lesson 8, Unit 2: Freedom Literature: The Revolutionaries

    • Quarter2_TeacherGuideandGradeReport

    • Excel File Grade Report, Quarter 2

    • ReadingQuiz8_DeTocqueville

    • Amer Lit Discussion 8.1

    • VocabQuiz-Unit2

    • Unit3Vocab_RRCRAmLit

    • GrammarGaffe_Week8

    • LiteraryToolchest_Lesson22

    • Amer Lit Discussion 8.2

    • HomeworkWk8

  • 10

    Lesson 9, Unit 3: American Renaissance

    • ReadingQuiz9_ScarletLetterPt1

    • Amer Lit Discussion 9.1

    • InClassWork_HesterCharacterization

    • VocabMagicSquare_Unit3

    • GrammarGaffe_Week9

    • LiteraryToolchest_Lesson23

    • Amer Lit Discussion 9.2

    • Homework Wk 9

  • 11

    Lesson 10, Unit 3: American Renaissance

    • ReadingQuiz10_ScarletLetterPt2

    • Amer Lit Discussion 10.1

    • Socratic-SeminarStudentGuide

    • SocraticSeminarEvaluation

    • VocabularyMemoryGame_Unit3

    • LiteraryToolchest_Lesson25

    • GrammarGaffe_Week10

    • Amer Lit Discussion 10.

    • HomeworkWk10

    • Reading Packet Week 10

  • 12

    Lesson 11, Unit 3: American Renaissance

    • ReadingQuiz11_HawthorneShorts

    • Amer Lit Discussion 11.1

    • Birthmark_CloseReading

    • GrammarGaffe_Week11

    • LiteraryToolchest_Lesson27

    • VocabSpiral_Unit3

    • Amer Lit Discussion 11.2

    • HomeworkWk11

    • Reading Packet Week 11

  • 13

    Lesson 12, Unit 3: American Renaissance

    • ReadingQuiz12_PoeShortStories

    • Amer Lit Discussion 12.1

    • VocabQuiz_Unit3_AmerRenaissance

    • GrammarGaffe_Week12

    • LiteraryToolchest_Lesson28

    • Unit4Vocab_RRCRAmLit

    • Amer Lit Discussion 12.2

    • HomeworkWk12

    • ReadingPacket_Week12

  • 14

    Lesson 13, Unit 4: American Renaissance-The Transcendentalists & the Antis!

    • ReadingQuiz13_Transcendentalists

    • Amer Lit Discussion 13.1

    • VocabUnit4_CrosswordPuzzle

    • GrammarGaffe_Week13

    • LiteraryToolchest_Lesson29

    • Amer Lit Discussion 13.2

    • HomeworkWk13

    • Billy Budd Text

  • 15

    Lesson 14, Unit 4: American Renaissance-The Transcendentalists & the Antis!

    • ReadingQuiz14_BillyBudd

    • Amer Lit Discussion 14.1

    • BillyBuddonTrial_InClass

    • GrammarGaffe_Week14

    • LiteraryToolchest_Lesson30

    • IHAVEWHOHAS_VocabUnit4

    • Amer Lit Discussion 14.2

    • HomeworkWk14

  • 16

    First Semester Exam

    • First Semester Exam

    • Teacher's Key: Semester Exam

  • 17

    Lesson 15, Unit 5: The Realists and the Naturalists

    • Quarter 3 Teacher Guide

    • Grade Report Excel File, Quarter 3 (Teacher)

    • ReadingQuiz15_FrederickDouglass

    • Amer Lit Discussion 15.1

    • A Fast & Furious Review of Slavery in the United States

    • Unit5Vocab_RRCRAmLit

    • GrammarGaffe_Week15

    • LiteraryToolchest_Lesson7

    • Study in Dialect for Huck Finn

    • Amer Lit Discussion 15.2

    • HomeworkWk15

  • 18

    Lesson 16, Unit 5:The Realists and the Naturalists

    • ReadingQuiz1_HuckFinnPt1

    • Amer Lit Discussion 16.1

    • GrammarGaffe_Week16

    • LiteraryToolchest_Alliteration

    • Vocab Magic Square_Unit5

    • Themes, Symbols & Background in "Huck Finn"

    • Amer Lit Discussion 16.2

    • HomeworkWk16

  • 19

    Lesson 17, Unit 5: The Realists and the Naturalists

    • ReadingQuiz_HuckFinnPt2

    • Amer Lit Discussion 17.1

    • GrammarGaffe_Week17

    • LiteraryToolchest_AssonanceConsonance

    • DowntheMississippi

    • VocabCrissCrossPuzzle_Unit5

    • Amer Lit Discussion 17.2

    • HomeworkWk17

  • 20

    Lesson 18, Unit 5: The Realists and the Naturalists

    • ReadingQuiz_HuckFinnPt3

    • Amer Lit Discussion 18.1

    • Conloquium Magnum, American Lit, Semester 2

    • GrammarGaffe_Week18

    • LiteraryToolchest_Lesson21Onomatopoeia

    • VocabularyMemoryGame_Unit5

    • InClassWork_TheWreckofRomanticism

    • Amer Lit Discussion 18.2

    • HomeworkWk18

    • ReadingPacket_Week18

  • 21

    Lesson 19, Unit 5: The Realists and the Naturalists

    • ReadingQuiz_ShortStoriesRealists_Wk19

    • American Lit. Discussion 19.1

    • Vocabulary Bingo Game_Unit5_AmericanLit

    • GrammarGaffe_Week19

    • LiteraryToolchest_Irony

    • American Lit Discussion 19.2

    • ReadingPacket_Week19

    • HomeworkWk19

  • 22

    Lesson 20, Unit 5: The Realists and the Naturalists

    • ReadingQuiz_ShortStoriesNaturalistsWk20

    • American Lit Discussion 20.1

    • Unit 5 Vocab Quiz

    • GrammarGaffe_Week20

    • LiteraryToolchest_Diction

    • BiographicShorts_InClassWork

    • American Lit Discussion 20.2

    • ReadingPacket_Week20

    • HomeworkWk20

  • 23

    Lesson 21, Unit 6: The American Theater

    • ReadingQuiz_SpoonRiverWk21

    • American Lit Discussion 21.1

    • Unit6Vocab_RRCRAmLit

    • GrammarGaffe_Week21

    • LiteraryToolchest_PointofView

    • American Lit Discussion 21.2

    • The Glass Menagerie, Text

    • HomeworkWk21

  • 24

    Lesson 22, Unit 6: The American Theater

    • ReadingQuiz_GlassMenageriePt1

    • American Lit. Discussion 22.1

    • VocabSpiral_Unit6

    • LiteraryToolchest_Satire

    • InClassWork_Symbols

    • GrammarGaffe_Week22

    • American Lit. Discussion 22.2

    • HomeworkWk22

  • 25

    Lesson 23 Unit 6: The American Theater

    • ReadingQuiz_GlassMenageriePt2

    • American Lit. Discussion 23.1

    • GrammarGaffe_Week23

    • IHAVEWHOHAS_VocabUnit6

    • LiteraryToolchest_Imagery

    • American Lit. Discussion 23.2

    • HomeworkWk23

  • 26

    Lesson 24, Unit 7: The Modernists

    • Quarter4_Teacher Guide & Grade Report

    • Grade Report, Quarter 4, American Lit Excel File

    • ReadingQuiz_GreatGatsbyPt1

    • Fast and Furious Intro to The Great Gatsby

    • AmericanLit_Discussion 24.1

    • VocabQuiz-Unit6

    • GrammarGaffe_Week24

    • LiteraryToolchest_Climax

    • Unit7Vocab_RRCRAmLit

    • HomeworkWk24

    • Discussion 24.2

  • 27

    Lesson 25, Unit 7: The Modernists

    • ReadingQuiz_GreatGatsbyPt2

    • American Lit Discussion 25.1

    • GrammarGaffe_Week25

    • VocabUnit7_CrosswordPuzzle

    • LiteraryToolchest_HyperboleUnderstatement

    • American Lit Discussion 25.2

    • HomeworkWk25

    • ReadingPacket_Modernists

  • 28

    Lesson 26, Unit 7: The Modernists

    • ReadingQuiz_ShortStories

    • AmerLit_Discussion_26.1

    • Socratic-SeminarStudentGuide

    • SocraticSeminarEvaluation

    • VocabUnit7_WordsearchPuzzle

    • LiteraryToolchest_RhetoricalQuestion

    • GrammarGaffe_Week26

    • Amer Lit Discussion 26.2

    • HomeworkWk26

  • 29

    Lesson 27, Unit 7: The Modernists

    • ReadingQuiz_ThePearl

    • Amer Lit Discussion 27.1

    • Vocab Magic Square_Unit7

    • VocabQuiz-Unit7

    • GrammarGaffe_Week27

    • LiteraryToolchest_Oxymoron

    • Amer Lit Discussion 27.2

    • HomeworkWk27

    • Unit8Vocab_RRCRAmLit

  • 30

    Lesson 28, Unit 8: Post WWII Era

    • ReadingQuiz_TKAM_Pt1

    • Amer Lit Discussion 28.1

    • GrammarGaffe_Week28

    • LiteraryToolchest_CacophonyEuphony

    • IHAVEWHOHAS_VocabUnit8

    • Amer Lit Discussion 28.2

    • HomeworkWk28

  • 31

    Lesson 29, Unit 8: Post WWII Era

    • ReadingQuiz_TKAM_Pt2

    • Amer Lit Discussion 29.1

    • GrammarGaffe_Week29

    • LiteraryToolchest_Refrain

    • InClassWork_Criticism

    • VocabSpiral_Unit8

    • Amer Lit Discussion 29.2

    • HomeworkWk29

  • 32

    Lesson 30, Unit 8: Post WWII Era

    • Amer Lit Discussion 30

    • GrammarGaffe_Week30

    • Semester 2 Exam