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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

LitCharts Offers Guides to Popular & Classic Literature

LitCharts is a relatively new service that provides teachers and students with guides and summaries of classic and popular literature. The service currently offers more than 300 titles.

LitCharts guides can be viewed online or you can download the guides as PDFs. To download a PDF you do have to enter your email address. The online version of the guides available on LitCharts feature background information on a book's author, a color-coded list of themes in the book, a plot summary, a character list and summary, and an interactive chart board of themes in the book.

The interactive chart boards on LitCharts offer a way to explore the entire guide from one place. The chart board is a wheel of chapters of a book. The wheel is color-coded with themes from the book. When you click on a chapter and color in the chart board you will be shown a short summary of that section of the book followed by a link to read more. Color-coding makes it fairly easy to follow a theme through the book.

Applications for Education
I learned about LitCharts from Terri Eichholz who pointed out that some teachers will find LitCharts to be just another cheat sheet. But other teachers will put LitCharts to use by taking advantage of the color-coded theme tracker in LitCharts. One thing that I might do with the color-coded theme tracker is pick sections from two or more themes and ask my students how the author connects the themes throughout the book.