Introduction to Literature Focus Texts

English I: Introduction to Literature

Introduction to Literature Study Guide

Introduction to Literature study guide

In this first level of Excellence in Literature, students will become familiar with the lesson format they’ll use through all five years of the curriculum.

Introduction to Literature is a college-preparatory literature and composition course. Focus works, including novels, short stories, poems, and drama, have been selected for literary quality, and for their place in the historical development of literature. Context readings provide background information about the author, the historical period, and the literary and artistic context of the focus work.

Students will gain an understanding of the development of literature and will practice the skills of close literary analysis through essays, approach papers, and other evaluative writing. You may learn more about how I chose the literature for Excellence in Literature in How I Chose Books for Excellence in Literature 

Introduction to Literature

This Introduction to Literature study guide is available for purchase at the Everyday Education website. In addition to the study guide, you will also need the focus texts for Literature and Composition. These are the classic books your student will read.

There is also an honors track available for this course, and you can view the list of recommended honors texts.

More EIL products can be found in our catalog, or through the Everyday Education Shop.


By the end of the course, students will:

  • Understand the process of writing, including the use of tools such as a writer’s handbook, dictionary, and thesaurus.
  • Have specific understanding of selected representative texts by major authors of the periods studied.
  • Have a general understanding of the historical and cultural contexts of the works.
  • Be able to analyze literary texts and present thoughtfully developed ideas in writing.
  • Demonstrate competence in essay organization, style, and mechanics

Introduction to Literature Focus Texts for English I

Module 1: Short Stories

Note: Each of these short stories is located on this Excellence in Literature website.

  • Sarah Orne Jewett: A White Heron
  • Edgar Allen Poe: The Purloined Letter (This Poe story is not scary, if you’re concerned about that.)
  • Guy de Maupassant: The Diamond Necklace
  • O. Henry: The Ransom of Red Chief
  • Eudora Welty: A Worn Path
  • James Thurber: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Module 2: Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne

Module 3: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain

Module 4: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.

Module 5: Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw


Module 6: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson


Module 7: Animal Farm by George Orwell.

Module 8: The Tempest by William Shakespeare

Module 9: Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift



Note: Books listed above are focus texts only; Introduction to Literature Honors Texts are on a separate page. Context readings are assigned within each module.

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Optional Additional Resources

Your student will need a good writer’s handbook in order to develop the habit of looking up things when a question arises. Every professional writer and editor I have encountered has several handbooks, as each has a different focus and use; but for your student, one or two should be adequate. Here are two options:

Handbook for Writers: Excellence in Literature, Johnston and Campbell - A writer's handbook for high school and college students.Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers

This writer’s handbook has two parts. The first section provides detailed instructions on how to construct essays and arguments, and the second second is a manual of grammar, style, and usage. This is a book that will be useful from high school into college.



Writers Inc. - A handbook for high school students.Writer’s Inc. is a time-tested high school handbook that is chock-full of helpful tips and advice on writing, style and usage, and more. This is especially useful as a first handbook for writing students.

Catalog – Other levels of EIL

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