Do you have an absolute favorite piece of classic literature? We took an informal poll here at n2y and some particular favorites that came up repeatedly were Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Walden by Henry David Thoreau, and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Many of us read these books when we were in middle or high school and they shaped our ideas about how to tell a good story, and what it’s like to get so wonderfully lost in a book that you actually forget you’re reading. A few people mentioned how their early experiences with literature (especially Shakespeare) set them on a path to an education degree in college, which led to their time as classroom teachers before they came to n2y. Classic literature has power.
But only if you have access to it, and the support to help you understand the often soul‑baring truths the author is sharing. A former teacher who is now a manager here at n2y once had a high school student in her classroom named Barbara (we’ve changed her name for privacy reasons) who has hyperlexia. Despite her vision issues, Barbara absolutely LOVED to read. Our manager clearly remembers meeting Barbara for the first time—she was studying Romeo and Juliet with a magnifying glass but wasn’t able to comprehend what she was reading. If Barbara had had the right support, she certainly would have been included in her high school’s English 1 class.
Great Expectations for Every Student
Our guiding principle here at n2y is Everyone Can Learn and our programs and improvements usually begin with, “Wait a second—shouldn’t unique learners also have the chance to _____?” Classics is no different. You can now give every unique learner in middle and high school real access to 12 of the classic novels and plays that are taught to their peers in general education while also covering key ELA course requirements and state standards.
Properly Adapted Literature Ensures Access
That immersive reading experience is about feeling the timeless pull of the Mississippi underneath Huck Finn’s raft, and the subzero chill of the Klondike in The Call of the Wild. Unique learners can now get inside of these classic stories through decodable text that’s presented online in either adapted or symbol‑supported versions. The adapted‑text version keeps the essence and integrity of the original while the symbol‑supported version leverages the universality of SymbolStix to give access to every reader.
Supporting Every Learner
They key here of course is to give each student the right amount of support to get the most out of each novel and play, to help students like Barbara not only comprehend but even appreciate Shakespeare’s storytelling in Romeo and Juliet. That’s why the comprehension questions for every chapter and act, and all of the end‑of‑book activities in Classics, are differentiated to four levels. Levels 1–3 are based on alternate standards while Level 4 is based on general education standards. These differentiated supports meet students right where they are.
The full lesson plans for each novel and play cover key ELA standards for comprehension, vocabulary, inferencing, main idea and details, author’s purpose, evaluating and analyzing texts, and determining the theme or central idea. Students not only have individualized paths for learning to appreciate the classic literature their peers in general education are reading, they can demonstrate progress on state standards.
Classics are assignable as homework in Unique Learning System and the data feeds right into Student Daily Scores and Observations. The reports give accurate feedback to inform instruction and for documenting progress with standards‑based IEP goals.
Opening a New Chapter
We are always very proud of our new solutions, and always so hopeful that our work will make a real difference in the lives of both unique learners and everyone who is so dedicated to supporting them. The promise of Classics hits very close to home for all of the readers here at n2y, and we are very much looking forward to hearing what your readers think of Jane Eyre… Pip in Great Expectations”¦ Buck’s unbreakable relationship with John Thornton in The Call of the Wild”¦ and all of the other great characters and incredible stories that are newly accessible and just waiting to be discovered.