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Young Readers' Series: Greek Myths Revisited

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Open to: Grades 4-6

Eligibility: CTY-level or Advanced CTY-level verbal score required

Course Format: Session Based. See calendar for session dates and application deadlines.

Course Length: 10 weeks (Early Fall, Late Fall, Winter, Spring) or 12 weeks (Early Summer, Mid-Summer)

Course Code: YRGM

Course Description

Description

Modern children's literature has been invigorated by a most ancient source: Greek myths. In this course, students first become familiar with traditional Greek myths and then examine how two popular authors draw upon Greek sources to create exciting new adventures. In the beloved illustrated classic, D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths, readers of all ages learn about myths that have inspired great literature for thousands of years. In Anne Ursu's The Shadow Thieves, Charlotte and Zee attempt to stop Philonecron's plan to usurp Hades' throne even though it involves traveling across the river Styx, facing angry harpies and cranky gods, and outwitting ghosts with a thirst for blood. In Lost Hero, the first book of Rick Riordan's Heroes of Olympus series, teenagers Jason, Piper, and Leo leave the comforts of Camp Half-Blood to take on the dangerous mission of rescuing Zeus's wife Hera.

About the Young Readers' Series for Grades 4 - 6

The Young Readers' Series is designed to 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. Books entice 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.

Designed for children reading at a middle-school level or above, students:

  • Read three thematically connected, age-appropriate books of increasing difficulty
  • Participate in online written discussions with classmates from Boston to Beijing
  • Post writing assignments such as alternate story endings and talk shows with characters as guests
  • Analyze the authors’ writing styles and use of literary devices
  • Learn sophisticated vocabulary words and literary devices with the help of online games and puzzles
  • Receive individualized written feedback from their instructor about each unit's work

Parents Ask...

  • Students typically read and share written responses every other day.
  • Classes are not live. Work is posted in the virtual classrooms at the student’s convenience as long as each unit’s deadlines are met.
  • It does not matter whether a student has already read one or all of the books before the course begins because the emphasis on citing the text requires careful re-reading.
  • Students must already be proficient in Standard Written English. Instructors discuss grammar only when it affects meaning.
  • These critical reading courses are designed to be ungraded, enrichment courses; instead of a grade, instructors provide specific feedback about each student's work at the end of each unit and a detailed final evaluation at the end of the course. Parents or guardians may request a final grade if needed for school credit.

About Course Selection

Parents are encouraged to consider the information contained in AppropriatenessLook inside the books, and Read reviews for the books before deciding on the course that would be most interesting and appropriate for their child.

Appropriateness

Parents should be aware that each theme contains books with humor, mystery, adventure, and heroism as well as suspense and sadness. Overall, while our courses contain advanced grade-level material, we strive to select materials appropriate to the ages of the students. Please look inside the books and read reviews to decide whether these books are appropriate for your child. If you are still uncertain whether your child is ready for a course, please email ctyonline@jhu.edu.

Look inside the books.

Look inside D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths
Look inside The Shadow Thieves
Look inside Lost Hero

Read reviews. Parents are urged to review for appropriate content.

Reviews of D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths
Reviews of The Shadow Thieves
Reviews of Lost Hero

This course does not have any synchronous class meetings, but students may schedule one-on-one virtual meetings directly with the instructor to answer questions or concerns.

Videos from YouTube or other web providers may be present in the course. Video recommendations or links provided at end of videos are generated by the video host provider and are not CTY recommendations.

Materials Needed

Detailed Course Information

Course Details

Unit 1: D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths

  • Begin reading D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths
  • Vote your Opinion in the Poll
  • Take Unit 1 Open-Book Quiz
  • Post ONE of the writing assignments (your choice) to the Writing Forum
  • Contribute two (or more) thoughtful posts to the Discussion Forum

Unit 2: D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths

  • Finish reading D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths
  • Vote your Opinion in the Poll
  • Take Unit 2 Open-Book Quiz
  • Post ONE of the writing assignments (your choice) to the Writing Forum
  • Contribute two (or more) thoughtful posts to the Discussion Forum

Unit 3: The Shadow Thieves

  • Begin reading The Shadow Thieves
  • Vote your Opinion in the Poll
  • Take Unit 3 Open-Book Quiz
  • Post ONE of the writing assignments (your choice) to the Writing Forum
  • Contribute two (or more) thoughtful posts to the Discussion Forum

Unit 4: The Shadow Thieves

  • Continue reading The Shadow Thieves
  • Vote your Opinion in the Poll
  • Take Unit 4 Open-Book Quiz
  • Post ONE of the writing assignments (your choice) to the Writing Forum
  • Contribute two (or more) thoughtful posts to the Discussion Forum

Unit 5: The Shadow Thieves

  • Finish reading The Shadow Thieves
  • Vote your Opinion in the Poll
  • Take Unit 5 Open-Book Quiz
  • Post ONE of the writing assignments (your choice) to the Writing Forum
  • Contribute two (or more) thoughtful posts to the Discussion Forum

Unit 6: The Lost Hero

  • Take Unit 1 Open-Book Quiz Unit
  • Begin reading The Lost Hero
  • Vote your Opinion in the Poll
  • Take Unit 6 Open-Book Quiz
  • Post ONE of the writing assignments (your choice) to the Writing Forum
  • Contribute two (or more) thoughtful posts to the Discussion Forum

Unit 7: The Lost Hero

  • Continue reading The Lost Hero
  • Vote your Opinion in the Poll
  • Take Unit 7 Open-Book Quiz
  • Post ONE of the writing assignments (your choice) to the Writing Forum
  • Contribute two (or more) thoughtful posts to the Discussion Forum

Unit 8: The Lost Hero

  • Continue reading The Lost Hero
  • Vote your Opinion in the Pol
  • Take Unit 8 Open-Book Quiz l
  • Post ONE of the writing assignments (your choice) to the Writing Forum
  • Contribute two (or more) thoughtful posts to the Discussion Forum

Unit 9: The Lost Hero

  • Finish reading The Lost Hero
  • Vote your Opinion in the Poll
  • Take Unit 9 Open-Book Quiz
  • Post ONE of the writing assignments (your choice) to the Writing Forum
  • Contribute two (or more) thoughtful posts to the Discussion Forum

Unit 10: Summary Assignments covering all three books

  • Vote your opinion in the Poll
  • Post ONE of the writing assignments (your choice) to the Greek Myths Revisited Summary Writing Forum
  • Complete the Literary Terms Open-Note Test
  • Note: You are provided with a list of vocabulary words from each book that you can use to help better understand the book and increase your knowledge of vocabulary words in general.

OPTIONAL Fun and Challenges:

  • Prepare for the Literary Terms Test by playing the online Literary Terms games and puzzles.
  • Share your favorite stories and authors with other students in the Recommended Reading Glossary.
  • Print out and work on the crossword puzzles that have been provided to help reinforce your knowledge of the vocabulary words.
  • Use the Vocabulary Words Review Games to help learn the vocabulary words in a fun way.

Time Required

This course requires approximately three hours for each of the ten units. Students should expect to spend approximately 3 hours per week during the course.

Students who are two or more units behind in their work will not receive course completion documents.

Note: Classes are not live. Students do not have to meet in the classroom at the same time. A student's written work can be posted in the virtual classroom at the student's convenience as long as deadlines are met.

About Summer Sessions:

The Young Readers' Series offers 12-week summer sessions that allows families to take a week or two of vacation and 10-week sessions. All sessions cover the same course material and assignments.

While the 12-week summer sessions courses allow for 2 weeks total vacation, students in the Young Readers’ courses are encouraged to work ahead or make up their work to try to keep up with their classmates whenever possible. Experience has shown that these courses are most fun when all students are working on the same unit. Students must notify the instructor at the course's start about any planned vacation dates and must meet scheduled due dates when they are not on vacation. Students who make up their work can finish their summer course in 10 weeks.

If you have any questions, please contact us before applying at ctyonline@jhu.edu
Note: Students do not have to meet in the classroom at the same time. A student's written work can be posted in the virtual classroom at the student's convenience as long as deadlines are met.

Sample Assignment

Demo

Greek Myths Revisited Sample Assignment

To give you an idea of the type of assignments involved, the following is the first of ten units:

Instructions for Unit One

All work is due by the due date listed in the classroom.

1.Begin reading D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths by Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire

2. Vote your opinion in the Poll.

3. Post ONE of the following writing assignments (your choice) to the Writing Forum:

a. Pretend you are Prometheus and you want to send an Iris Message to your son Deucalion thanking him for attempting to set you free from your chains AND explaining why you disobeyed Zeus to try to help the humans. [An "Iris Message" is a message sent through the goddess of rainbows, Iris.] Write a 150-300+ word letter to Deucalion, thanking him and defending your actions in helping humans.

Please note: You may write more than the 300 word limit, but do NOT write less than 150 words!

b. We learn early in the reading assignment that Hera is a very jealous wife. Choose a story from the Unit 1 reading assignment in which Hera does something to one of Zeus’ other wives out of anger or jealousy, and write about the incident in a 150-300 + words journal account from Hera’s first person point of view. Writing as Hera, you should certainly find a way to present yourself in a positive light in this scene!

Please note: You may write more than the 300 word limit, but do NOT write less than 150 words.

4. Contribute two (or more) thoughtful posts to the Discussion Forum in response to any of the following questions. (Remember! At least one of your two thoughtful posts should be in reply to a discussion post made by another student.)

a) Mother Earth. After reading about Gaea, or Mother Earth, in the beginning of the book, how would you describe her? Use examples from the reading to support your thinking.

  • What character traits does she possess?
  • Do you think she could be categorized as a positive or negative force, or a little bit of both

b) Crime and punishment. Most schools provide a “Code of Conduct” that lists the rules of the school and includes details about the disciplinary actions that will follow when these rules are broken. Most societies establish laws that serve the same purpose.

  • Wouldn’t it be helpful for humans to have a list of rules to follow to keep them from angering the Greek gods? Imagine that Mt. Olympus provided a “Code of Conduct” for humans, and write one or two of them along with the consequences to be expected if these laws are broken. Use the details from your reading to guide your writing. [And if a classmate has already listed a rule and its consequences, do not write the same rule unless you disagree with the classmate and wish to explain your reasoning.]
  • In the first half of the book, readers learn about Prometheus' unusual punishment by Zeus. Why does Zeus punish Prometheus so severely for giving fire to humans? Can you think of a more appropriate punishment for Prometheus' "crime"?

c) Hades and Persephone. People usually have a strong reaction to the story about how Persephone became Hades’ queen.

  • Do you think Zeus’ solution to the conflict was fair?
  • Do you think this “ending” to the story was intended to be happy either to those involved in the story or to those who heard about it? Why or why not? Aside from its entertainment value, what purpose did this story serve for the Greek people?

d) Unusual marriages. There are multiple stories in Greek mythology about unexpected couples who marry. Aphrodite and Hephaestus are one example of an unusual married couple.

  • How does Aphrodite feel about her husband and vice versa?
  • Do you sympathize more with Aphrodite or with Hephaestus in this situation? Explain.
  • Choose another couple from Greek mythology and explain how they came to be married. By whose choice did they marry and what was the motivation? Were they a good match? Did you sympathize with one person more than the other? Why?
  • Aside from its entertainment value, what purpose did these marriage stories serve for the Greek people? Give examples from the readings to support your position.

e) The wild and vulgar centaurs. The centaurs provide a lot of entertainment in Greek myths.

  •  What is the story of how the centaurs came into existence, and what can readers infer about Zeus from this story?
  • What purpose did the centaurs’ continued existence on the earth serve?
  • Do you think it’s fair for a whole community to be punished for the actions of its leader?
  • Do you think this type of punishment happens in the “real world”? Explain.

f) Cyclopes and other unusual creatures. The Cyclopes seem to have an uncertain status among the Greek gods and goddesses.

  • Which gods/goddesses support them? Which gods/goddesses do not? Why?
  • From what you have read so far, do you think Cyclopes serve more of a positive or negative purpose in the world? Would the Greek myths be very different without them? Give examples from the reading to support your thinking.
  • There are other unusual creatures on Earth in Greek Mythology. Which creature do you find most compelling? What purpose does the creature’s existence serve? What lessons can we take from the stories about them? Give examples from the reading to support your position. 
  • When responding to a classmate's post in this thread, expand on their statements to compare or contrast how these characteristics overlap with stories of other creatures.

Note: You are provided with a list of vocabulary words from D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths that you can use to help better understand the book and increase your knowledge of vocabulary words in general.

OPTIONAL–Not required–Fun and Challenges:

  • Share your favorite stories and authors with other students in the Recommended Reading Glossary
  • Print out and work on the crossword puzzles that have been provided to help reinforce your knowledge of the vocabulary words.
  • Use the Vocabulary Words Review Games to help learn the vocabulary words in a fun way.
  • Play some literary terms review games

 

Technical Requirements

This course requires a properly maintained computer with high-speed internet access and an up-to-date web browser (such as Chrome or Firefox). The student must be able to communicate with the instructor via email. Visit the Technical Requirements and Support page for more details.

 

Reviews

"My child loved this class and I felt the feedback, both weekly and the final report, were outstanding. A lot of thought and effort went into the feedback and each week, I felt that it not only called out the instances where my child did well, but also challenged her to try new things or do something better."
– CTY Online Programs Parent

"This was a great course and a model for how online courses should be run. The instructor did an amazing job of creating interaction between the students and was very accessible and helpful in her comments. Her detailed and thoughtful comments on my son's assignments were always helpful and challenged him to do better and think deeper while encouraging him and making him feel good about his strengths."
– CTY Online Programs Parent

"It was very easy for me to get used to using the online classroom. It was interesting to be able to communicate and exchange ideas with people all over the world. It is a great class and one that I would definitely recommend!" 
– CTY Online Programs Student

"This was the the first course that my son took at CTY Online Programs and it was such a great experience for him. He loved sharing ideas with other gifted children in many different areas of the country/world. Taking an online course requires developing some skills using your computer and taking this course was a great way for him to do so. The instructor was an excellent teacher - very responsive whenever my son or I had a question and great with feedback."
– CTY Online Programs Parent

"My daughter loved doing the course. It is wonderful that you offer this online - thank you for giving our daughter this wonderful opportunity. We live in a country where there are no programs for gifted children."
– CTY Online Programs Parent

"The course was very interesting and fun. The games really helped me with literary terms. The assignments were challenging, but extended my knowledge and love of writing."
– CTY Online Programs Student

"The teacher provided a wonderful balance of critical analysis of my daughter's work along with encouragement. My daughter was able to engage in the course with a degree of independence that was a positive experience for her, while still needing my support at times. The course definitely helped improve her writing and critical thinking skills, and at the same time remained fun for her. She enjoyed interacting with the other students, and playing the literary games in particular."
– CTY Online Programs Parent

"Really excellent feedback from instructor! She always managed to give very specific positive feedback, while always challenging my son to go deeper in his analysis, provide more detail and specific examples and make the course fun."
– CTY Online Programs Parent

The instructor was an excellent coach--she always told me what I need to work on. She was similar to a great sports coach: no negative comments, just encouraging and helpful. Impact: Her work affected me in a good way. She has made me want to continue to other courses, and encouraged me to have fun and chase my passion for writing."
– CTY Online Programs Student

"We were impressed with the instructor from the welcome call the day before the class started, right through her final comments. Her responses to my daughter's coursework were terrific and we felt like she knew my child."
– CTY Online Programs Parent

"This was our son's first CTY (or other online) course, and so we weren't sure quite what to expect. But it was a very positive experience, thanks to the thoughtful course design, the instructor's encouragement, and the gradual interaction among the students."
– CTY Online Programs Parent

"I really enjoyed this course. It was challenging, yet fun at the same time. I learned how to blog, and that will be very useful at school this year. My instructor was wonderful and was honest about everything I did. I hope to do another CTY course next year."
– CTY Online Programs Student

"This course was fantastic. My daughter quickly became excited by the content when she realized that the books being read were contemporary. She enjoyed interacting in the discussions, and grew significantly as a thoughtful reader."
– CTY Online Programs Parent

"This was my son's first course with CTY and the instructor made it very easy for him to understand, and her classroom instructions were always very informative and easy to follow. The best part about this course was her weekly feedback. She obviously took a great deal of time reading and evaluating the work handed in and her responses were always positive with suggestions for improvements. My son truly has been inspired to write his own opinions based on what he has read. He feels much more confident sharing them and realizes how important it is to show others respect even if his opinions differ from theirs. I have been told by his teachers at school that they have noticed this as well in the classroom."
– CTY Online Programs Parent