Bridge Literature 2019/20

Mrs. Cindy Miller

Course Description

This class will challenge students to read widely and write often! We typically cover three books per session with related writing assignments for each book. I focus on teaching the elements of good composition and engaged reading. Among the books we will read will be books that touch on historical events from the American Civil War until the present. We will also read some fantasy, adventure, and lyrical novels appropriate to this age group. And finally, we usually try to have a movie night or two and a field trip every year.

Book List

Just a word of warning: As I get to know the students, I sometimes alter the posted book list. I will try to keep any changes to a minimum, but just keep that in mind. I will post each session’s syllabus two weeks prior to the start of the next session; you should check that and prepare accordingly.

Parents, you play a very important role in your student’s success. Your encouragement and diligence will help your student come to class ready to participate. A very practical way to help your student will be to make sure the student has the assigned book prior to class. I try to assign books that are easily found in the library system. If you are ever struggling to obtain a title, please let me know. I might be able to locate it or I might even have a copy lurking on my heavily laden bookshelves!

Session One

  • The Magician’s Nephew by C. S. Lewis.
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Session Two

  • Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson
  • Echo: a Novel by Pam Munoz Ryan
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Session Three

  • Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
  • Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor
  • The Watsons Go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis

Session Four

  • The Pushcart War by Jean Merrill
  • Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt
  • A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
  • Perhaps a student selection!

In addition to reading these novels, I like to occasionally invite the students to my home for a movie night. I also have some plans to go on field trips: the Wade Center at Wheaton College, Cantigny’s War Museum. I also have a nugget of a plan to do a Walk for Water fundraiser in the spring. Looking forward to our year together!

Yellow Bridge Class: Session One Syllabus



  • To read and enjoy a variety of books
  • To learn about historical influences and eras through literature
  • To work on the writing process with the goal of writing five paragraph papers
  • To address any grammar and punctuation issues
  • To work on book-related and literary-related vocabulary


Week One: September 6

  • A day to get acquainted with each other! We will go over the rules and talk about the class structure. 
  • During Session One we will focus on grammar and punctuation. Each week we will address some of those pesky issues that trip us up. 
  • Read chapters 1-5 of The Magician’s Nephew (TMN) for Week Two. I will post a daily homework checklist to help you get into the weekly homework rhythm. There will also be a guided reading activity to complete and hand each week while reading TMN. 
  • Each week’s reading will include vocabulary work and the collecting of favorite lines from that week’s book selection. I will give you a link to each week’s Quizlet vocabulary words. 


Week Two: September 13

  • We will discuss the first five chapters of TMN. Discussion of how characters are revealed and the development of mood. 
  • There will be a review of the vocabulary words. 
  • We will work on grammar, punctuation, capitalization, etc.
  • Hand in vocabulary words, favorite lines, guided reading sheets. 
  • Read chapters 6-12 of TMN for Week Three. There will be a Quizlet link, a homework checklist, and a reading guide to complete as homework. 


Week Three: September 20

  • Discuss chapters 6-12. Our discussion will touch on the use of dialect and descriptive writing. We will begin discussing plotline. 
  • Vocabulary review; editing work. 
  • Hand in all homework outlined on the homework checklist sheet. 
  • Read through the rest of TMN for Week Four. 


Week Four: September 27

  • Finish discussing TMN. Classroom discussion will touch on plotline, static and dynamic characters, and themes. 
  • There will be a reflective quiz on the story plotline. 
  • We will begin to work on developing a three+ paragraph character study. 
  • Students will write a rough draft of their character study for Week Five. 
  • I will introduce The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. The students will read chapters 1-4 for Week Five using a reading guide. 


Week Five: October 4

  • Discuss chapters 1-4 of The Hobbit. Talk about the maps of Middle Earth and runes. Also discuss Tolkien’s inclusion of songs and poetry. 
  • Editing work.
  • Read chapters 5-10 for Week Six. Creative assignment involving runes or songwriting. Guided reading. 


Week Six: October 11

  • Discuss chapters 5-10 of The Hobbit. 
  • Editing work.
  • Read chapters 11-14 of The Hobbit. Creative assignment involving riddles. Guided reading. 


Week Seven: October 18

  • Discuss chapters 11-14 of The Hobbit. 
  • Editing work. Work on short paper exploring a theme from the book. 
  • Read chapters 15-18 of The Hobbit. Creative assignment involving imaginary creatures. Students will bring food items for our end of session Food for Thought class. 


Week Eight: October 25

  • Finish talking about The Hobbit. 
  • Students will be given a reflective quiz on a theme from The Hobbit and on some of the punctuation and grammar issues addressed during this session.  
  • We will have a Magician’s Nephew and Hobbit-themed snack. 


Hopefully we will be able to have a Hobbit movie screening at my home; I am also going to try to arrange a trip to the Wade Center at Wheaton College. Details to follow!