Teaching Fantasy Novels: From The Hobbit to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is designed to assist busy educators who are enriching the upper elementary and middle school curriculum by including excellent fantasy literature to ensure that they are at the same time addressing the national standards.
In the twenty-first century, educators and parents are perhaps more aware than ever before of the need to provide a challenging and appealing curriculum that helps students to meet standards that have been developed across the various disciplines. This is certainly the case for those whose primary concern is with the Language Arts/Reading Standards.
These standards have been developed at each grade level in the broad areas of reading, writing, listening, speaking, viewing, literature, the English language, and accessing and processing information. At each level, students apply learnings and skills previously mastered to tackle more complex materials, and they experience, respond to, appreciate, and self-select from an increasingly wider range of literature.
For each of the twenty titles discussed in this book, the reader will find a detailed synopsis, a list of major characters, a vocabulary exercise, a set of comprehension questions with answers, some open-ended discussion questions, a set of suggested research activities for individuals or small groups to pursue, and some extension activities. There is also an explanation showing how each of these books, read in conjunction with the exercises, questions, and activities, helps to meet the 12 NCTE/IRA English Language Arts Standards.
As they progress through their education, students will read from a variety of genres and are almost certain to explore fantasy literature. The twenty novels that were selected for inclusion in this book represent some of the finest fantasy literature written. This estimation of quality is drawn from professional journal reviews; from recommendations of writers, readers, librarians, and educators; and by their inclusion in accelerated reader lists, lists of Newbery Honor Books, or lists of recipients of the prestigious Newbery Medal.
Although all of the books discussed here are classified in the broad genre of [fantasy,] it should be recognized that this genre is often further subdivided into groupings about which there is little agreement. Many scholars recognize a category called [high fantasy,] which includes those books that deal with kingdoms, magical creatures, a struggle between the powers of good and evil, and often a quest carried out by one of the characters. Some of the books included here such as The Hobbit and The Dark Is Rising fit neatly into this classification of high fantasy. Others do not.