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Critical Reading

Open to students in grades 2 through 9, these courses enhance critical reading, thinking, and writing skills through the use of engaging texts, individualized written instructor feedback, and online discussions with peers. Students learn literary terms and advanced vocabulary in these session-based courses. Classes are not live; work is posted in virtual classrooms at the student’s convenience as deadlines are met. 

Young Readers' Series

The Young Readers' Series is designed enhance a student's critical reading, writing, and thinking skills. Developed for enrichment, course assignments meet or surpass the Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading. As students participate in written discussion forums, they make inferences, determine motivations, evaluate arguments, and provide textual evidence to support their opinions. Creative writing assignments encourage students to take on different points of view, summarize details, compare authors, and discuss central ideas. In several courses, students work with both fiction and nonfiction material. Books entice gifted students to go beyond simple comprehension and engage in higher level thinking about issues ranging from the ethics of time travel to the dangers of subliminal advertising. Robot Encounters, Wild Things, In Search Of, and The Right Stuff also include short related videos and encourage students to create multimedia content using web 2.0 tools such as VoiceThread and other online slideshows, bulletin boards, and more.

There are separate courses for grades 2 and 3 students reading at a 5th grade level and above and for grades 4 through 6 students reading at a middle school level and above.

In all Young Readers' Series courses, students:

  • Read three or four thematically connected, age-appropriate books of increasing difficulty
  • Participate in online written discussions with gifted classmates from Boston to Beijing
  • Post creative writing assignments such as dialogues, newspaper articles, stories, limericks, and talk shows with characters as guests
  • Learn sophisticated vocabulary words and literary devices with the help of online games and puzzles
  • Receive individualized written feedback from their instructor about each lesson's work

Young Adult Readers' Series

In this digital age, the availability of the internet has made memorization less important than critical thinking. Students must learn to carefully investigate the credibility of claims and judge the validity of opposing arguments. Students must also become adept at making their own persuasive arguments.

In CTY Online Programs’ Young Adult Readers' Series, students enhance their critical reading, thinking, and writing skills through high interest, thought-provoking books, analytical discussions, and creative writing assignments. Course assignments were developed to meet or surpass most of the Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading. Students are given many opportunities to create multimedia content using web 2.0 tools. Students receive individualized written feedback from their instructor and engage in online written discussions with classmates from around the world. Writing assignments include narrative stories; expository and compare/contrast essays; and persuasive writing.

Intended for teens reading at a high school level or above, students:

  • Read four high-interest, thematically connected, age-appropriate books
  • Receive individualized written feedback from their instructor about each lesson's work
  • Participate in online written discussions with CTY Online Programs classmates from around the world, making inferences, determining motivations, evaluating arguments, and providing textual evidence to support their opinions
  • Post writing assignments such as narrative stories, newspaper and journal accounts, persuasive writing, and essays that encourage students to take on different points of view, summarize details, compare books with movies, and discuss central ideas
  • Learn how to use web 2.0 tools
  • Learn sophisticated vocabulary words and literary devices with the help of online games

Art Meets Science Series

The Art Meets Science Series encourages students to explore the connection between scientific discovery and creative writing. Students discover how scientific inquiry and creative writing offer different perspectives on the same complex and unfolding universe. Readings inspired by science provide students with models for creating their own poems, stories, and essays. For example, students might consider how Einstein's theory of relativity has influenced the images and themes of 20th-century poets, or how an essay about childhood memories is enhanced by understanding neuroscience. These courses involve substantial discussion of readings as well as writing workshops in which the instructor and peers offer constructive criticism.

To learn more:

Critical Reading Courses

SeriesCourse FormatCoursesGrades LevelEligibility
Young Readers' SeriesSession-BasedWild ThingsGrades 2-3Math or Verbal
Robot EncountersGrades 2-3Math or Verbal
Good DogsGrades 2-3Verbal
Dragon TalesGrades 2-3Verbal
Mystery StoriesGrades 2-3Verbal
The Right Stuff (nonfiction)Grades 4-6Math or Verbal
In Search OfGrades 4-6Math or Verbal
Ancient Egypt Rediscovered (nonfiction and fiction)Grades 4-6Verbal
Greek Myths RevisitedGrades 4-6Verbal
Magical Life LessonsGrades 4-6Verbal
Quest and ChallengesGrades 4-6Verbal
Young Adult Readers' SeriesSession-BasedDangerous Games and RebellionsGrades 7-9Math or Verbal
Monsters, Magic, and MayhemGrades 7-9Math or Verbal
Art Meets Science SeriesSession-BasedArt Meets Science: NonfictionGrades 6-9Verbal
Art Meets Science: LiteratureGrades 6-9Verbal

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