Exploring Literature Online through ELLSA

Student Self-Study Guide & Instructions

  1. Working with ELLSA
  2. Student level
  3. Downloading & printing self-study materials
  4. Study suggestions
  5. Lesson focus and lesson design
  6. Author's biographies

March 22, 2004

ELLSA home page...contents 1...contents 2...

Working with ELLSA

The main goal of ELLSA is to provide an online literary companion for students of American literature, not unlike an electronic version of the Cliff Note ® series some of you may already be familiar with. You can use the lessons to help you if you are using any of the following titles

  • To Build a Fire and Other Stories by Jack London
  • The Red Badge of Courage and Other Stories by Stephen Crane
  • The Gift of the Magi and Other Stories by O. Henry
  • American Patchwork, edited by Betty Keene Taska
  • Highlights of American Literature, edited by Dean Curry
  • Being People, edited by Thomas Kral

Information about availability of books (use back btton on your browser to return to this page).

By using ELLSA you will:

  • Gain an appreciation for the art of the short story
  • Learn about authors and their lives
  • Understand more about American history and culture
  • Learn how to analyze and work critically with short stories.
  • Improve your English
  • Build your English vocabulary
  • Develop internet and computer skills

Student level

The lessons were originally designed for students of English as a Foreign language in South-East Asia, but have proved useful for students of English around the world. Students for whom Level 1 lessons will be especially appropriate should have a low to high-intermediate proficiency in English. For level 2, students will need a higher level of proficiency at upper intermediate and advanced levels.

Downloading & printing self-study materials

  1. Bookmark the webpage in your browser.
  2. Go to the button which reads Download study materials.
  3. Select the link for the lesson you wish to explore and click to download to your computer.
  4. Open the file in Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  5. Print the lesson pages.
  6. Use these pages like worksheets when you do an online lesson, or independently with the story you are reading. It is not necessary to use a computer after you have printed the lesson worksheets.

Study suggstions

  1. Get a folder to keep materials in, and bring it to the computer terminal where you will be logging on to the site.
  2. Get a small notebook which will fit inside your folder. Use this as a vocabulary notebook.
  3. Be sure to have a copy of the story available at your computer terminal.
  4. Have a pen or pencil ready.
  5. Work through the lesson in the intended sequence: a) synopsis, b) pre-story, c) in-story, d) exercises, e) follow-up.
  6. Write out your answers to questions on your Self-Study worksheets.

Lesson focus and lesson design

Lesson focus

Each lesson focuses on one short story, it's author and one element of short story writing that is exemplified by that story. In addition, language specific to that focus, is often examined.

Lesson Design

Following a biography of the author and synopsis of the story, each lesson follows the same four-part design:

  1. Pre-story (activation of student background knowledge and vocabulary)
  2. In-story (exploration of plot, setting, character, theme or conflict)
  3. Exercises (focus on language analysis and use)
  4. Follow-ups (creative writing, discussion and dramatization projects which allow you to apply your learning to new ideas)

Author's biographies

The author's biography can be read online either before or after the lesson and includes vocabulary development work. Add new words from the biographies (and synopses) to your vocabulary notebooks.

ELLSA home page...contents 1...contents 2...