Objectives for Teaching Literature

Literature can capture the attention of young readers.

Through explorations of literature, students can immerse themselves in worlds unlike any they have seen before. When teachers educate their pupils in classic works of literature, there are a number of objectives they may seek to accomplish. Though distinct from each other, each of these objectives works in tandem with the others to create an overall understanding of, and appreciation for, literature and the individuals who produced the masterworks.

1 Build Reading Skills

To build reading skills, students must practice reading regularly. Reading literature provides another avenue for this simple practice. Particularly during early-reading instruction, teachers who read literature in their class often aim to help students hone these all-important skills.

2 Create Connections

Reading literature isn’t just about learning about the works themselves, but also about learning how the world works. Through the exploration of literature, students have the opportunity to put themselves in others’ shoes, giving them the chance to see how people are connected and better understand the complex dynamic of the human relationship.

3 Promote Empathy

By seeing how actions of others can affect characters within literature, readers can develop their abilities to be empathetic. Teachers promote the development of empathy by engaging students in discussion of literary works, highlighting the emotional aspects of the pieces in question.

4 Foster Appreciation

Through regular reading and learning to understand literature, readers can develop an appreciation for the art form. Teachers often seek to foster this appreciation by providing students with works of literature that will appeal to them as well as ones that are relevant to their lives, showing them that literary works have merit and meaning.

5 Allow for Enjoyment

By carefully selecting literary works, teachers can show their students how enjoyable reading literature can be. Because many students fail to enjoy reading literature because they don’t understand the words that fill the pages, teachers can allow for this enjoyment by helping students develop a better understanding of written works.

Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, Trails.com and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.