English Lessons Through Literature

Original covers

NEW covers, coming this summer

See reviews from:

Cathy Duffy
The Old Schoolhouse
Pollinating Imaginations
Unhurried Home

See the sample package at Lulu.com.

English Lessons Through Literature is a complete language arts program for elementary and middle school children. Our FAQ page addresses a number of common questions about ELTL.

We are currently going through a transition period! The original series contains Christian content–copywork, poetry, and artwork. These books are labeled with numbers–Level 1, 2, etc. The updated series is secular to make it more useful to people of all faiths and to make it available to to those who are part of state sponsored programs. These books will be labeled with letters–Level A, B, etc., and the covers have received an update. The series is colored in order of the rainbow–Roy G Biv–and the last book will be gray. The Bible copywork from the original series workbooks will soon be available as a FREE download. This transition should be complete by the end of summer 2017.

What’s different about English Lessons Through Literature?
  • Short, three day per week lessons keep language arts from taking all of your time.
  • Children interact with books, not just passages from books.
  • Writing is taught through imitation.
  • Spelling is taught through prepared dictation.
  • Copywork is included from the literature, maxims, and poetry.
  • Diagramming sentences is used as an exercise to both demonstrate understanding of the material and to constantly review what has been learned.
  • Students rewrite sentences from the stories, changing the sentences through grammatical changes. This old exercise from Erasmus teaches children to say the same thing in many different ways.
  • Children write outlines and write papers from their outlines, just as Benjamin Franklin taught himself to write.
In a typical ELTL lesson:
  • The child listens or reads the literature, depending upon his age.
  • A brief lesson explores a grammatical concept. Examples are taken from the literature.
  • In levels 3 and up, there’s a short writing exercise. The child might analyze words from the new narration story, change a sentence from the story, or imitate a descriptive paragraph.
  • The child listens or reads the poem and a short story from various world traditions.
  • The lesson ends with a short exercise and copywork. The exercise sentences are also from the literature.
  • Once per week, there is either a written narration or a picture study.

About the Levels

Here is a brief description of each level, but to really see what each level has to offer, please see our free sample package at Lulu.com. Our FAQ can help you decide which level is appropriate for your child.


Level A | Level B | Level C | Level D
Level E | Level F | Level G | Level H

Level A: Aspiring


Level A is an intentionally light program, written with the beginning reader in mind. The real star of the show is the copywork. Short lessons point out punctuation and capitalization.

Literature in Level A:
Beatrix Potter Stories
Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling
Five Children and It by Edith Nesbit
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
Pinocchio by C. Collodi
The Orange Fairy Book by Andrew Lang (seven stories)
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
The Box-Car Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
The King of the Golden River by John Ruskin

[Please Note: The last two selections were not a part of the original ELTL series. Instead, it included Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sidney.]

Level B


Level B is where the real work in grammar begins. All eight parts of speech are taught in Level B, and the child practices recognizing them in short passages from the literature.

Literature in Level B:
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang (13 stories)
Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll
A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Level C


Level C reviews all eight parts of speech and begins sentence diagramming. In the optional workbook, children are given the lines at first, making it a “fill in the diagram” exercise. Sentence diagramming is an excellent tool for analyzing sentences. If a sentence sounds wrong, a diagram can show visually what the problem is.

Literature in Level C:
The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting
The Marvelous Land of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare by E. Nesbit
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Princess and the Goblin by George McDonald

Level D

Level D reviews all eight parts of speech and continues sentence diagramming. While the early levels cover composition solely through narration, Levels D and up have an emphasis on more progymnasmata style projects, descriptive writing through imitation, and beginning literary analysis. Level D includes one-level outlines. Writing projects include condensed, amplified, point of view, and slant narratives; and scientific and historical narrations as preparation for writing reports. Level D covers indirect objects and diagramming prepositional phrases, identifying the parts of the verb, and determining whether a group of words is a phrase or a clause.

Literature in Level D:
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
The Book of Dragons by E. Nesbit
Heidi by Johanna Spyri
Ozma of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Tanglewood Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame

Level E

Level E reviews all eight parts of speech and all new material from the previous level. The pacing in Level E is a bit faster than in previous books. Composition includes progymnasmata style projects, descriptive writing through imitation, and beginning literary analysis. Level E includes two-level outlines, introductions, and conclusions. Writing projects include condensed, amplified, point of view, and slant narratives; and scientific and historical narrations as preparation for writing reports. Level E covers types of clauses, sentence structures, diagramming complex and compound sentences, and more advanced punctuation.

Literature in Level E:
“The Ransom of Red Chief” by O. Henry
“The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry
The Emerald City of Oz by L. Frank Baum
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
The Happy Prince and Other Tales by Oscar Wilde
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne

Level F

Coming this summer!Level F does NOT review the parts of speech.

Literature in Level F:
At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald
Call of the Wild by Jack London
The Patchwork Girl of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Otto of the Silver Hand by Howard Pyle
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Level G

Literature in Level G:
“Rip Van Winkle” by Washington Irving
“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving
“The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe
“The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe
“The System of Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether” by Edgar Allan Poe
The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde
The Tin Woodman of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Level H

Literature in Level H: