Top 20 resources for Teaching Literary Criticism



40 Texts for Teaching Literary Criticism
Moore English is an excellent resource for secondary English teachers. This page of the website lists different types of literary criticism and specific texts to use in teaching each type. Hyperlinks throughout the page lead to additional resources on most of the suggested texts as well as explanations of the different types of criticism.

Literary Theory and Schools of Criticism
The Purdue OWL website is a highly regarded resource that covers everything from MLA and APA to literary theory, and more. This is a general overview of literary criticism with links to more in-depth discussions of well-known schoolsof criticism. There are no lessons included, but this is a good resource to provide to students or to use in developing lessons.

ReadWriteThink: Introducing Literary Criticism through Reception Moments
ReadWriteThink, a free resource provided by the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) is an excellent source of lesson plans and lesson ideas. This resource is a five-lesson unit plan using “A Raisin in the Sun” to explore different schools of literary criticism and to work collaboratively to respond to the story from the different perspectives provided by these schools of criticism. Portions of this could be used to develop single lessons, or one could follow the entire five-lesson unit.

A Simple Way to Introduce Students to Critical Reading Lenses
This author offers a list of recommended texts for teaching feminist, multicultural, and socioeconomic theory throughliterature. She also includes for each school suggested Disney movies that can be used to apply the criticism. The site includes the basic outline of a lesson on Feminist Theory and how the author uses texts and Disney films to illustrate different characteristics. This resource is valuable for the author’s ideas as well as for the lists of suggested texts and films.

Lesson: Introduction to Literary Theory
A lesson plan for grades 11-12 that can be adapted for lower grades. The lesson engages students by introducing perspective as a way to think about criticism; that is, the idea that different people look at the same objects or experience in different ways. The introductory section is accessible and it transitions easily into the discussion and definition of criticism. Thisis an excellent foundational lesson.

Reasons You Should be Teaching Literary Criticism
This is another excellent resource from While there is some discussion of why literary criticism should be taught, there is much more information on how to do so. The author suggests strong foundational texts (To Kill a Mockingbird) to begin close reading, and offers lists of texts for historical, biographical, feminist, and Marxist lenses. There are general tips on how approach teaching criticism, and discussion of how to assess texts to see what school should be applied. There are no step-by-step lessons, but enough information for a teacher to create a lesson using these tools.

Prestwick House: Introducing Literary Theory
This is a complete lesson plan in .pdf form, and a free resource from the educational publisher Prestwick House. The lesson plan suggests familiar texts such as The Great Gatsby or Lord of the Flies but also provides directions for teachers to apply the lesson to other texts students have read recently in class. There are introductory prompts and guiding questions to complete feminist, Marxist, Freudian, and Archetypal readings as well as suggested homework assignments, links to CCSS, and a short bibliography of resources.