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Literary Lessons from the Lord of the Rings




Why use this for a whole curriculum?

Who can use this curriculum?

How does this fit into my total high school curriculum?

How old should the student be?

Why can't we just read the book? What if we have already read it?

What will I need? How much will it cost?

What is included in the curriculum?

How can I order?

A note about the movie


The Lord of the Rings offers a unique opportunity for the student to both study a long novel and to branch off into the study of many different aspects of literature. The Lord of the Rings differs from most novels in several ways:


It was written by an Oxford professor who was an expert on philology. The book introduces two new languages invented by the author and so offers the student an opportunity learn more about linguistics, philology, and etymology: all branches of the study of language.


The author was an Anglo-Saxon scholar who based many of his ideas on Old and Middle English Literature. This allows the student to be introduced to these types of literature in a fun and purposeful way. In fact, according to literary critic Jonathan Evans, ďAn e-mail discussion not long ago among members of the international community of Anglo-Saxon scholars revealed that close to 50 percent of them became interested in medieval literature in general and in Old English language and literary specifically because of their early exposure to the fictional works of J.R.R. Tolkien.Ē


It provides a wealth of vocabulary to enrich the language skills of the secondary English student.


It is considered by many critics to be one of the best and most influential works of the past century. In a recent reader survey, it was voted the best book of the last millennium! People in literary, philosophical, and religious circles are, and will be, discussing this book for years to come. Knowledge of it can help your child participate in these discussions.


It was written over long period of time and contains a richness and depth rarely found in other works


The use of maps, tables and charts contained within the volumes provides and opportunity to develop the studentís familiarity with reference materials within a constructive frame.


The use of poetry throughout the work provides an opportunity to discuss the sound and structure of poetry.


Though not strictly religious in nature, the Christian world-view of the author and the work emphasizes important character qualities such as sacrifice, friendship, humility, loyalty, and the ultimate power of good over evil. In our own dark days, these qualities are especially important to stress.


It is an enjoyable way to explore the way a great writer approaches literary elements such as conflict, theme, plot, and character development.


The use of the authorís own words in explaining where he got ideas for the stories may inspire studentís to develop a deeper desire to read and write on their own.


The current popularity of the movie provides an opportunity for comparisons between movie versions and literature and allows students to become knowledgeable about a positive cultural icon. The movies also provide an opportunity to discuss the comparison between classics presented in written and cinematic form.


The Literary Lessons from The Lord of the Rings Literature Curriculum was designed with the home school student in mind. As a veteran homeschool mom of more years than I ever thought possible, I have come to learn how valuable a well-designed curriculum -- one that requires little effort on the part of the instructor -- can be! For this reason, this curriculum includes detailed suggested lesson plans, 18 weekly vocabulary worksheets, vocabulary quizzes, chapter study guides, unit studies on supplemental (but essential) studies, and all tests, exams and answer keys.

Even though the curriculum is designed for home scholars, it can easily be used in the classroom. In fact, because all the worksheets, tests, and lessons plans are pre-prepared, the curriculum would greatly aid the classroom teacher. Even if the whole curriculum is not used in the classroom, the supplemental chapter notes and unit studies make teaching the book easy and enjoyable. Teacher's editions are available for purchase alone for this purpose.

Whether used in a home school or a classroom, the curriculum is enhanced by group discussion. For home school students, this may be accomplished by having siblings study the curriculum at the same time, by reading the book along with a parent, by using this curriculum in weekly discussion groups with other home school students, or by finding a home school chat group on the internet that would be interested in the discussion. The vast popularity of The Lord of the Rings, especially since the release of the New Line Cinema version of the movie, makes it easy to find people with whom to discuss the book.

How does this fit into my total high school curriculum?

Most high school curricula vary greatly in grades 7-10 particularly. There is no set scope and sequence for works of literature to cover. What is more important is that students learn the correct literary terms and how to interpret literature for themselves. This curriculum covers all those bases. Students are taught over 130 literary terms in the context of the work so that it is easier to understand and more enjoyable.

Some parents ask how they should title this course for the high school transcript, since some school districts require more than just an ENGLISH 10 or ENGLISH 11 designation. You can title this course "An Introduction to Literary Analysis." The 130 literary terms taught in this program certainly qualify it for such a title. If you need to have a course description, please print out the COURSE OBJECTIVES available on this site. These should more than meet the requirement for most school districts. In fact, many schools that use this consider it an advanced enrichment course, despite its ease of use, because of the subject matter and scope of the program.

Note that this study is NOT intended to replace a survey of British literature, though a good deal of discussion of British literature is accomplished in its pages. Any high school program needs to include one year of an American Literature Survey course and one year of a British Literature Survey course.  Literary Lessons from the Lord of the Rings provides an excellent introductory course to a British survey course or a study of classical literature. If your child plans to attend public or private high school in the later grades, please check with that school to determine when to best plan for the survey courses. Many schools offer American Literature in 11th grade and British Literature in 12th grade, but this can vary from district to district.

This curriculum includes a full year course of literature, and includes vocabulary and writing assignments. It does not include grammar. If you feel that your child still needs grammar instruction, or if such instruction is required by the homeschool guidelines in your state, then you will need to supplement with a grammar instruction or review program.

The course is spread over a year-long study. Lesson Plans for the first edition are available online by clicking the Lesson Plan link. Lesson plans for the second edition are included in the second edition teachers edition. Most people find that it takes the full year to go through the program. You may wish to cut and paste this lesson plans into your word-processing program so that you can easily adapt them for your own needs. Printer-friendly versions of the lesson plans are also available online. Weekly Lesson Plans are also available for those using this in a weekly co-op English Class.

Though this curriculum does include MANY suggested writing assignments as options for teachers to assign, it does not give specific instructions on how to write most of the assignments. Instructions for a year -end literary analysis paper will, however, be posted on this website. Most of the other assignments are simple reports, essays, stories, or practice in writing dialogue. Some writing resource links for these assignments are available on this website, or you may find instructions in other writing programs that you are using.


The curriculum is designed for students ages 12-18 in grades 7-12. Because this is a wide range, some discussion questions are marked as CHALLENGERS designed for older students. Some sections of the unit studies are also optional for younger students and will be marked. Test will be arranged so that some sections can be omitted at the discretion of the instructor.

The curriculum is somewhat challenging and is best suited for students 14 years old and over. However, some younger students are both capable and greatly interested in the book-- a powerful learning combination. Many 12-13 years olds have completed the curriculum with great success. Tolkien intended the book for adults. Although there is no "mature subject matter" in the book, it does have violent and scary images. Keep this in mind when considering the needs of a younger or especially sensitive student.


    While reading any great book is a good experience, your student needs far more in a literature curriculum. You can't learn how to repair a car by just driving it. You can't learn how to paint by just looking at a painting, either! In the same way, your student needs to learn the "tools of the trade" if he is to interpret and discuss literature well. Learning literary terms and interpretation are essential for a student bound for higher education.

    In addition, this curriculum makes a special effort at discussing literature from the perspective of the author. Students are encouraged to learn WHY this is a great book and HOW they can apply some of these same techniques in their own writing. According to reports from satisfied parents, many students who use this program find that they discover a new love of writing and are able to easily transfer the literary analysis knowledge they gain to other works of literature.

    If your students have already read the book, they can still use this program. Of course, they will read it again in the course of the study. However, it is usually necessary to read a work of literature more than once in order to thoroughly analyze it. Reading the book first for pleasure and then for study is a great way to approach the book for those who love to read. However, if your student must be coaxed into reading and has not read the book yet, it may be best to wait until he starts the curriculum. The Lord of the Rings is an unusually rich book that stands up well to many readings. Many people had read it more than 10 times simply for pleasure!


The information in this section applies to the first edition and will be updated soon. Click here for current pricing.

If you plan to use this curriculum for homeschool, you will need the following resources:

Literary Lessons from the Lord of the Rings Student text

This 624 page spiral-bound workbook with laminated covers provides the teaching text and all student work pages needed. This includes chapter studies, vocabulary work pages, an extensive glossary of over 600 words, and a simple dictionary of over 130 literary terms defined in the text. It is NOT reproducible. You will need one per student. The student text also includes several full-color illustrations by Tolkien artist John Howe, who was a conceptual artist for the films. This student text retails for $55. However, on this website, you can purchase the HomeScholar Pack, which combines the Teacher's and Student edition at a price of $115, a $25 discount of the normal retail price of both items. Extra Student editions are $55. Special pricing is available for Student Edition orders of 5 or more for co-ops and classroom. To learn more about group discounts, please click here. Occasionally, we run specials on the curriculum. To check current specials, click here.

Literary Lessons from the Lord of the Rings Teacher's Edition-  This 752 page notebook-bound volume is a necessary component, for it includes the student text with all answers keyed in.  Answer keys for tests and vocabulary units are also provided. There is no need to purchase any of these items separately. Students are exposed to over 600 vocabulary words in the course of this study and are tested on over 400 of them. A glossary for all the words is included in both the student and teacher's editions. The teacher's edition also includes reproducible vocabulary and unit tests that you can use for all students. The notebook format allows maximum flexibility in case a homeschool instructor wishes to remove testing materials and allow the student to have the Teacher's Edition to check his own work on daily assignments. This edition retails for $85 individually, but can be purchased on this website as part of the HomeScholar Pack, which combines the Teacher's and Student Editions for $115. Unlike most literature books which contain primarily works of literature and very few actual teaching or study aids, this book is almost entirely composed of fresh material and is packed with teaching aids, writing suggestions, discussion ideas, and well-researched background material that will enhance the learning process. Since almost every page of the Student Edition contains worksheets for the student to complete, the Teacher's Edition is an essential part of this program.

bulletOne copy of The Lord of the Rings (1994 edition published by Houghton-Mifflin) is also necessary. The edition must correspond to one listed below as all teaching materials are keyed to this edition.  For now, the only one of these versions which can be purchased from us is the one-volume paperback with the Ring cover.

ISBN    0-618-26025-0 (one volume paperback with Gandalf  cover)--- NO LONGER AVAILABLE FOR NEW PURCHASE
ISBN    0-618-26024-2 (one-volume hardback with Gandalf or  Rivendell cover)-- NO LONGER AVAILABLE FOR NEW PURCHASE

ISBN  0-618-34399-7 (one-volume paperback with Ring cover. To order , click here.

ISBN   0-618-34584-1 (one-volume hardback with Ring Cover)==No LONGER AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE.
ISBN    0-618-26029-3 (three volume paperback in slipcase with film covers)-- NO LONGER AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE.

ISBN   0-618-15396-9 (three volume set)--NO LONGER AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE.

Harper Collins Edition  ISBN 0-00-717200-1--NO LONGER AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE.

Other Houghton Mifflin or Harper Collins editions may possibly work. This is how you can check. If The Fellowship of the Ring ends on page 398; The Two Towers ends on page 725; and the last page of the Index in The Return of the King is 1137, then the pagination is correct. Otherwise, you need to order a book that correlates.

At certain points in the curriculum, students are encouraged to view the New Line Cinema versions of the movies. THIS IS ENTIRELY OPTIONAL AND IS NOT REQUIRED FOR THE COURSE. The purpose of viewing the films is to allow for discussion of the  comparative nature of movies and classic literature in an OPTIONAL unit study. Before allowing you child to view the film, please read the ďNote about the MovieĒ section below.


The Teacher's Edition and Student edition of Literary Lessons from The Lord of the Rings contain everything an instructor will need to teach a complete literature course to one student. Numerous writing assignments are included in the Unit Studies. The curriculum also includes vocabulary lessons, quizzes, literature tests, and answer keys. This eliminates the need to purchase these items as separate items. For a more complete listing, please see the Table of Contents.


 You may order by clicking the link here  and selecting the set that you want. Or you may order by phone, or by printing the order form and faxing or mailing it in. You may also order online. If you order on-line, it would be best if you explore this site first and decide exactly what you need. If you go to the order page and need to come back to this site for any reason, please hit the back browser button. Also, if you are taking advantage of any special offers, please request the special items in the message box that will appear. If you wish a print catalog,  simply email us here and request a copy of the most recent catalog.


The New Line Cinema version of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy provides an exciting introduction to the world of Middle-Earth. Though, of course, not as good as the book, the film is beautifully produced and accurate in many details. The films contain no sex or bad language. They do however, contain significant violence in the form of epic battle scenes and faithful renditions of Tolkienís scary creatures. I would recommend caution in viewing this film for children under 12.

In spite of the violence, (the world, after all, IS a scary place), I would highly recommend it as a part of this curriculum in order to provide a springboard to a discussion about classic literature and how films can enhance or detract from our enjoyment of it. The bad guys are clearly bad and are defeated in the end and goodness is clearly shown in all its mythic glory. Compared to so much Hollywood drivel, it is indeed refreshing to see good literature earn a place among the stars. The unit study on MOVIES AND THE CLASSICS is, however, optional. Viewing the film is not required for this curriculum.

You must be aware, however, that the film deviates in several ways from the plot line of the actual book. In the course of film making, the producers were forced to cut significant scenes in order to keep the films around three hours in length. The Two Towers strays even further from the actual events in the text than The Fellowship of the Ring. The Return of the King, though wonderful, leaves out several important features of the story.  Because of this I do not recommend that the student view the film after beginning this course, until after the test on that section is taken. The reason is that watching the film too early may confuse the student about the events and cause him to miss questions on the test. The lesson plans will indicate when viewing of the movies is appropriate. 

For more information about the movie and the actors involved, please click here.

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On the email form provided, please provide your name, address and an email address to be added to our mailing list. Name will be drawn from names entered between February 1, 2011 and May 30, 2011. First Place winner will receive  a $50 credit with HomeScholar Books. Second place will win a $25 credit. Third place will win a $10 credit. Winners will be drawn at random and will be notified by phone or email. Your information will not be sold or transferred to any other organization and you can opt out of the mailing list at any time. We generally send out less than 5 emails a year.

Recent Winners:

Ist- Ceara of Broken Arrow, OK

2nd-  Gloria of Cabot, AR

3rd-  Darcy of Wellington, OH



Home Up LOTR FAQs LOTR Contents Samples Reviews Where to Buy Teaching Resources Student Resources


Click here to see Course Objectives


      Click here to see        Table of Contents


Click here to See Literary Terms Covered


Click here for Content Information


Click here for Curriculum Samples


Click here for Comments and Reviews


Click here if you are missing a page in your book


Click here for Teaching Resources  (including lessons plans)


Click here for Student Resources  (including unit study links)


Click here to see who else carries the curriculum


Click here for more Tolkien Resources


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