We Are Perfecting a Free PK-12 Literature Curriculum

I’m excited to announce that Journey With a Destination is currently developing a full PK-12 literature curriculum.  We intend to offer PDF downloads of our curriculum free of charge, with professionally printed versions available for a fee.

A Complete Literature Curriculum

While it would be fairly easy to make a list of books for students to read at each grade level, we intend to offer much more.  We will be creating compilations of public domain works for each grade level, which will include carefully selected novels, poetry, and short stories.  We will supplement the included works with background information, footnotes, vocabulary assistance, enhanced illustrations, and more.

In addition to collections of literature intended to be read by students, we will also release read-aloud books that parents can read to their younger children.

The tentative titles of our upcoming releases are as follows:

GradeRead-Aloud TextStudent Text
PKJourney Into Mother Goose’s Nursery
Journey Into The Brownies’ Grand Adventure
Journey Into The Crystal Palace
KJourney Into Bedtime, Collection 2
1stJourney Into Bedtime, Collection 3Journey Into Stories & Rhymes
2ndJourney Into Bedtime, Collection 4Journey Into Dreamland & Critterland
3rdJourney Into Bedtime, Collection 5Journey Into Wisdom & Whimsy
4thJourney Into Adventure & Coming of Age
5thJourney Into Wealth & Poverty
6thJourney Into Shadows & Shining Armor
7thJourney Into Past & Future
8thJourney Into Horror & Romance
9thJourney Into Dystopia & Satire
10thJourney Into Fantasy & Reality
11thJourney Into East & West
12thJourney Into Tragedy & Comedy

Our Goals

  • Develop vocabulary skills.  Children who complete our curriculum will graduate with a vocabulary comparable to that of freshman college students in the early 20th century (which was dramatically superior to that of freshman college students today).  This is done gradually, with copious footnotes are other aids to help students along the way.
  • Cover neglected genres.  Fantasy, Science Fiction, Gothic Horror, Satire, Dystopian Literature, and similar genres are among the most intellectually engaging and culturally relevant subdivisions of literature today.  Unfortunately, these genres tend to be criminally neglected in modern educational settings, which inexplicably prefer drier and less intellectually demanding genres like Realism, Realism, and more Realism.  Our curriculum will ensure that students are familiar with all of these genres, and are able to identify their characteristic elements in any book they read.
  • Make reading a family activity.  We are preparing read-aloud picture books for the earliest grades, so that even children too young to read can be exposed to the world of literature.  By reading these books for your children for 15 minutes each day, you can give them an incredible head-start on their educational journey.  For older grade levels, we are preparing parent guides to suggest some ways to discuss our books with your children.
  • Encourage a love of reading.  Reading has traditionally served as a gateway to incredible worlds and exciting adventures.  We’re working hard to ensure that our selections give children a sense of wonder and awe that they will carry for the rest of their lives.

What This Literature Curriculum Won’t Be

I would also like to be clear about what this curriculum won’t be. The curriculum outlined in this post won’t cover phonics, grammar, penmanship, composition, or spelling. We consider those important topics best categorized within the separate subject of English. Eventually, I hope Journey With a Destination will be able to offer some solutions for English studies, but any such materials will be classified separately from our Literature curriculum.

One of the most important consequences of this distinction is that the Journey With a Destination Literature curriculum will not teach a child the mechanical process of reading by sounding out words phonetically. The Literature curriculum will assume that children have some basic phonics skills partway through 1st Grade, and will give them plenty of practice to develop and hone their newfound reading abilities.

Breathing New Life Into Classics

Old books tend to show the signs of age in many ways: the pages yellow, the ink fades away, smudges and stains appear, and so on.  Although it is common for publishers of older works to simply reproduce them in their current, decayed state, we are doing much more.  We want children to be able to open our books and see illustrations that are vibrant and expressive, not decayed and dull.  For this reason, we are hard at work digitally enhancing and de-aging the images from classic children’s stories.

As an example of some of the exciting work we’re doing, I’m pleased to share with you a few small samples from some of the collections we are preparing.

The first of these samples comes from The Rocket Book, a wonderful little picture-book published in 1912. Original copies of this book are extremely difficult to find, and can cost many hundreds of dollars. Modern editions of the book tend to be of dubious quality, with some not even bothering to reproduce the pictures! We’ve tried to give this book the love and attention it deserves, and have sharpened the images, improved their color saturation, and made other minor improvements. Here are the before-and-after versions of a couple of the pictures:

Next, I have some pages from The Brownies to share with you. In their day, The Brownies books were a much-beloved national treasure. The books were popular both because of their rich illustrations and because of the creative, whimsical way in which they were typeset. Unfortunately, the complexity of this typesetting makes it very difficult for modern publishers to make quality reprints of them, as no one would ever be crazy enough to redo all of the typesetting.

We’ve redone all of the typesetting. Here are a couple pages from The Brownies: Their Book.

Finally, here is a before-and-after image from Lewis Carroll’s The Nursery “Alice”:

I look forward to seeing you on the other side of the rabbit hole.

Note: This post describes future plans, all of which may be subject to change.

Update (July 5, 2022)

We have now released the first volume of our Literature curriculum, Journey Into Mother Goose’s Nursery, which is available as both a printed book and as a free download.

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