Here at Living Outside the Lines we think reading the classics is fun! We make it fun. There are so many new and exciting modern stories to choose from that the idea of reading an old book might seem dismal. And, you know what, it just might be a dreary experience without a little help to spice it up. In a previous post, A Timeless Beginning, we talked about how digging into the context the author’s life or the setting in which he placed his characters brings an old book to life. A themed meal accomplishes the same thing. We do both of these activities at our literature club meetings, but we also prepare exciting projects. In my opinion, the effort behind the scenes of the project gives a workout to critical thinking skills and the enjoyment is found in the presentation of the project.
For The Scarlet Letter it’s fun to create either a Newspaper project where the kids write news articles as if they were present on the scene during the book. Another strategy is to create a Point of View Magazine. This approach makes the kids top 10 list every time. Our Point of View Magazine will address issues that the characters in The Scarlet Letter from the perspective of Biblical truth. You can use this project and change the point of view to suite the book you are reading. For example if you read Billy Budd, Sailor you could create a magazine with the point of view that Billy Budd deserved the sentence for manslaughter or you could present the point of view that he deserved a sentence based upon murder. If you read Uncle Tom’s Cabin you could set up your magazine with a point if view from the characters that were slaves and make a second magazine using the point of view from the slave owners. Then when you get together the group can read the two points of view and discuss them. You can see how this simple idea can be transformed into many uses. I think the easiest way for me to explain the process is I give you a copy of the project sheet. You are welcome to use it and replace the point of view suggested there with the one you want to use. Have fun and let me know what you think!