Literature Guide

Welcome to our literature subject guide! We’re in the process of publishing a free and complete PK-12 curriculum, and on this page you’ll find an up-to-date summary of everything we’ve released thus far.


Our Journey Into Literature series will immerse your child in a guided tour through humanity’s greatest literary works. Our curriculum materials are detailed, complete, and rigorous, but quite different from a traditional textbook – there are no busywork assignments of dubious value, no classroom instructions that make little sense in a homeschool environment, and no requirements for incessant context-switching from one brief literary excerpt to another. Instead, students will read a carefully curated collection of books, short stories, poems, and plays, alongside all the key background information necessary to properly appreciate them. Our curriculum demands much of students, but never leaves them adrift: we provide important context regarding the stories and their authors, thoroughly annotate each work with comprehensive footnotes, and introduce key literary principles with detailed descriptions.

Better yet, all of our Journey Into Literature books are available as free downloads. On this page you’ll find a list of the materials we’ve published so far, with links that point to more information and the download information for each.

No Controversial Messaging

It’s a shame that this characteristic is rare enough within modern education to be worthy of note, but:

Our curriculum doesn’t promote any controversial political or religious points of view.

We respect your right, as a parent, to teach your beliefs in the manner you see fit. Our curriculum does not advocate for or against any particular religious ideas. It simply offers children an opportunity to hone their reading skills by reading the works of some of history’s greatest storytellers.

Key Goals

The key goals of this curriculum are:

  • Build vocabulary and linguistic skills. Within any complete K-12 education, reading proficiency is the fundamental skill that supports the development of all others. Our curriculum constantly challenges students with increasingly sophisticated works of literature, while providing extensive footnotes and commentary to help them along the way.
  • Immerse students in the act of reading. Traditional textbooks rapidly usher children from one brief excerpt to another, seldom giving them an opportunity to read a book in its entirety. This prevents students from experiencing works of literature as their authors intended, and leads to a terrible reading experience. Our curriculum favors the inclusion of complete works where possible, and helps students understand them at a deeper level.
  • Develop insight into the writing process. We put significant effort into helping students understand the works they read at a deep level. Our books include detailed discussions about the concepts that define a work of literature, including plot structures, character archetypes, historical context, and numerous important literary devices. Upon completing our curriculum, students will be able to offer thoughtful evaluations of everything they read; rather than vaguely saying they “liked” or “disliked” something, they’ll be able to express exactly why.
  • Help students appreciate the full breadth of literature. Modern literature curricula are obsessed with “realism” (a specific genre that focuses on relatively mundane subjects), while minimizing coverage of anything fantastic, adventurous, or speculative; such topics are snobbishly considered beneath the attention of a “proper” scholar. This attitude is completely inconsistent with the entire history of human literary expression, and certainly wasn’t shared by the likes of Homer, Shakespeare, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Lord Alfred Tennyson, Edgar Allan Poe, Ambrose Bierce, or most of history’s other great authors. It’s also dreadfully boring, and causes many young readers to believe they don’t like literature – when in reality, they just don’t like one genre of literature. Our curriculum introduces students to the richness of literature in its entirety, including significant coverage of the genres of fantasy, horror, satire, dystopia, romance, mystery, and science fiction. Children are much more likely to feel engaged by this approach, and they’ll come away with a far more well-balanced education.
  • Create lifelong readers. Children who follow our curriculum will never be lacking for enjoyable, high quality reading options. We take care to fill our books with works that are actually fun to read (while still being academically valuable), and offer extensive suggestions for follow-up reading. Moreover, by ensuring that students gain experience in many different genres, we help them identify which ones are most interesting to them personally. Don’t be surprised if your child starts asking you to purchase some surprisingly sophisticated books, just for pleasure reading.
  • Respect everyone’s time. This curriculum won’t waste your time or your child’s time. There’s almost no prep time for you as the teacher, and the amount of oversight you need to provide is minimal. For earlier grade levels, you’ll need to read some of the books to your student. At higher grade levels, your primary responsibility is simply to ensure they read the books themselves.
  • Keep it free. Our entire curriculum is available for free download.

Curriculum Summary

In this section, you’ll find a brief summary of our available resources for every grade level, from pre-Kindergarten to 12th grade. At each grade level, you’ll find a link to a more extensive description that also contains the free PDF.

We have many more upcoming releases planned, so be sure to check back frequently.

Pre-Kindergarten: Journey Into Mother Goose’s Nursery

Our literature curriculum begins with Journey Into Mother Goose’s Nursery, a wonderful collection of nursery rhymes, fairy tales, fables, and children’s stories. This includes well-known tales like Aladdin and Cinderella, as well as lesser-known stories like Jack the Giant-Killer and Princess Badoura. With more than 300 pages and hundreds of color illustrations, there is enough here to read and reread for months.

7th Grade: Journey Into Shadows and Shining Armor

Journey Into Shadows and Shining Armor is a grand tour of the greatest mystery stories and medieval legends ever told. Perfect for advanced 7th graders (while also being entirely appropriate for higher grade levels), our literature curriculum offers your student everything necessary to master the art of reading. Filled with enigmatic mysteries, quests of adventure and intrigue, desperate feats of battlefield valor, selfless acts of loyalty and courtly love, and impossible struggles against mighty dragons, children will delight in this rich collection of beloved classics.