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Reading and Writing Via the Myths

William F. Natale Jr.

Contents of Curriculum Unit 83.02.05:

To Guide Entry

Reading and Writing Via the myths was created to provide the upper-intermediate grade school teacher (grades 4-6) with a highly motivational curriculum unit designed to spark an interest in reading and creative writing, It will be of use as a supplement to the basic reading, English, and social studies programs and is not intended to replace them. The unit also will help the teacher to introduce the students to the early Greek and Roman civilizations which have made important contributions to our present culture.

Because these students are so young, mythology can be used only to a somewhat limited extent, therefore, what I have tried to do is to incorporate these exciting and valuable stories into their regular school program in a way that will enhance their learning, especially in the field of reading and writing,

I think that mos teachers of middle school would agree that a substantial amount of children have been turned away from reading and that sometimes teeth must be pulled to convince a child to read book or to write a story. Therefore, motivation is important.

There are five basic objectives which this unit proposes to realize, These objectives are:

(1) to motivate the children to read and therefore to develop an enjoyment and a lasting interest in reading;
(2) to arouse i children a desire to write and therefore to develop an enjoyment and an interest in creative writing;
(3) to re-motivate children who have been turned away from reading by providing ego-satisfaction from reading;
(4) to use mythology s an impetus to creativity in other areas of schoolwork such as in art, English, and social studies;
(5) to help the middle school teacher introduce to students the civilization of the ancient Greeks and Romans and to some of the contributions made by them to our society.

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The Importance of Motivation

Modern education places a great stress on motivation. It views learning as an active, creative process, It believes that we must somehow cause children to go after something if they are to learn it, and not merely sit passively and wait for the teacher to hand it to them. Therefore, there has been an ever increasing emphasis upon arousing interest in reading.1

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Motivation at the Intermediate Grade Level

I believe that children who do not enjoy reading at the fourth, fifth and sixth grade reading level were, at one time or another, turned away from reading. I believe that at one time in their lives all children were enthusiastic about reading.

Children want to read. Give a youngster a chance and he, himself, will notice what a wonderful and fascinating thing books and other printed materials are . . . more than anything; else, they want to grow up—and reading represents a step in that direction.2

Another authority states:

Have you noticed the three-year-old leaning over a comic book spread out on th floor in front of seven and nine-year olds? He is not reading, but he wants .t5! be par-t; of this seemingly important business.3

I believe that children do want to read and that they do love to learn, Wy, then, does a grade teacher find pupils in his or her class so unwilling to read? Obviously, hey have met with frustrations and have decided that reading is not something they want to do. Ego development is closely related to reading development. ‘A child who has lost the ego satisfaction or other rewards from reading is not going to want to read. Now then, it is our job to re-motivate these children to want to read again.

Motivation flows from interest, Without interest there is usually no will to do, no drive to learn. Without motivation, the pupil simply will not develop into a mature reader.4

Then the solution for dealing with a reluctant readers begins by changing his attitude. The child is not going to be an adequate reader until he wants to read.

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Why the Myths?

Adapted versions of stories of the Greek gods and heroes are very rich in the ingredients enjoyed by upper elementary grade students. Studies have determined approximate ranges of interest that most children seem to have in common at certain stages.

Children in the intermediate grades are interested in adventure stories, fantasies, family life, famous people . . . Boys generally are most interested in real life adventures. Girls prefer- fantasy. . . .5

Myths can give also something of an introduction to people (Greeks, Roman, etc.) and to literature that the students will study more intensely in the higher grades. They will see that many of our ideas of law, government, architecture and art have roots in these earlier civilizations.

How do we get children to want to read and write? I will now present a number of strategies using mythology which will help stimulate children to read and to write.

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Teacher Directed Strategies: Motivation Children To Read

I. Read to Children

Reading to children is an essential tool in awakening their interests, Very often, children will want to re-read books that teachers have read to them, the teacher could also read up to a certain point in a book and stop. Then he might ask who would like to read the book. In many cases he will be stampeded by children running up to his desk for the book.

II. Make Good Book Available

A good library corner in the classroom is very Important. It should be made as attractive as possible, (Posters, displays, etc.) There should be books on a variety of subjects. Stories of adventure and fantasy, main elements of the Greek and Roman myths, will be high in interest for middle grade students, I think that it is also important to note that the reading materials are there so that the children may read them, not must read them, “When we say to children you must read this, we may be creating non-readers.”6

III. Introducing Good Books

When a teacher brings new books into the classroom they should not just be put on the back shelf or table, They should be introduced. A few well chosen words can: really get some children excited. For example, “Boys and girls, today I found a pretty interesting book at the library. It’s about a man named Odysseus. A witch changes all of his men into pigs and plans to do the same with him, Can you imagine that? I’ll put it back here on the library shelf in case you are looking for it,” Look out for the stampede!

Another way to introduce books is to illustrate their content with TV, films, recordings or other audio-visual aids. The teacher might show one story of Apollo an.d Phaethon by use of a filmstrip. In it Apollo’s mortal son tricks his father into letting him drive the sun’s chariot for one day, this filmstrip is available from the city’s audio-visual department and will be found in the bibliography. The .day after showing the filmstrip the teacher might bring in the book, Apollo, the Golden God, the class will actually fight over the book. Remember to introduce new books to students.

IV. Allow Time For Reading

I think that it is rather obvious that the best equipped, most attractive classroom library is really worthless if the children are never allowed time to read, Many teachers encourage children to read independently when they have finished an assignment or find themselves with free time. This, of course, is good for some, but the slower workers would never have the time to read, They would go from one subject to another never getting the opportunity to visit the library corner. These are probably the very children who most need the chance to kindle an appreciation for reading, I strongly suggest that a free, independent reading period, of twenty to forty minutes, be set aside every day where everyone is free to browse around and to read a book of his or her choice.

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Using the Myths in Other Areas in the Classroom

One way of increasing interest in reading is to sustain the child’s enjoyment of a book that he has read, There are many ways we can integrate classroom activities with the child’s enjoyable reading experiences. Some will be presented now.

In the Area of Writing

(1) Have children pretend that they are characters from a book and send another character (student) a letter, For example, Homer Price7 might write a letter to Zeus (from Greek mythology) and ask him if he would be interested in some “heavenly” doughnuts. Or maybe Odysseus8 could write a letter to his wife explaining why he will be late for dinner. Or, the monster Medusa9 might write a letter to her shampoo company, complaining about strange side effects she has experienced since using their shampoo, when again, Polyphemus10 might write to his doctor about the pain he is experiencing in his eye or atlas (same source) concerning his backache.

(2) Children can change or give stories new endings. They can pretend that they are the main characters and change the story to their liking. For example, King Midas11 could have been given th “peanut butter touch” or Pyramus and Thisbe12 might have scared the lion away with a can of mace.

(3) Pupils can keep a diary or log in which they pretend that they are the Inain characters of a book. A student pretending to be Odysseus can keep a log of his adventures. Another can give an account of some of the strange things she encountered as Persephone13 in the underworld.

(4) New stories can be written with plots, setting;s, or endings simiLar to those of a book just read and enjoyed. For example, someone who has read of Odysseus’ adventures might write a story to his mother explaining why he was two hours late for dinner Someone who has just read of the origin of the seasons14 might create a-story explaining why we have night and day.

(5) A class newspaper or magazine can contain headlines or articles about a character or situation from a previously read story. For example, “Odysseus Returns Home—Owes $10,000 for Overdue Library Book” or “Medusa Loses Head Over Handsome Greek.”

In the Areas of Art

(1) Posters or murals can be created displaying a situation or episode from an enjoyable book, Children love to draw, The teacher can use this desire to enhance their interest in reading so that they can accurately portray details in their art work, Gods, Men and Monsters and Greek myths have some beautiful illustrations that might inspire children.

(2) Cut-outs of characters from books can be displayed on bulletin boards. The teacher can assign groups of children to be responsible for monthly bulletin boards. The children will get much more excited if they are the creators.

(3) Mobiles, dioramas, shadowboxes, dolls, clay figures and book markers can be created. Stories can be told by use of these creations.

In Drama

Children of all ages love to pretend, Some very creative methods of motivating further pupil reading can be found in the following activities:

(1) Panomime—Through pantomime an individual or small group may share events of a popular story with the class as a whole. A few people may pantomime an incident to see if the rest of the class can guess what the performance represents.

A small group might easily pantomime King Midas turning things to gold while others might imitate Sisyphus rolling a rock up the hill.

This exercise not only gives ego satisfaction (attention) to those who have read the story but it also passes on interest (children motivating children) so that others might want to read the same story.

(2) Puppets of book characters can act out scenes or complete stories for the enjoyment of the rest of the class,

(3) Panel discussions, small group reporting and quiz show games pertaining to book characters can be made enjoyable to the class by a clever teacher. For example, Zeus might be interviewed and asked why he shot down Phaethon15 with a thunderbolt.

All of these suggestions can of course be varied by the teacher to create as much motivation as possible.

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Extrinsic Motivation

The Greek and Roman myths can also be used for extrinsic motivation, I have found that some children are influenced favorably by keeping a record of the books they have read.

This extrinsic motivation is educationally justifiable but teachers must remember its limitations, It can work for only a limited time, While it is being used and while it is serving as an ego satisfaction for the child, the real aim is to have the child develop a love for reading which in time becomes the reward itself.16

Some extrinsic motivators that can be used are sailboats, swords, lightning bolts, shields, and sea monsters made of construction payer, which can be added after the child’s name on a chart for each book that he has read. Or, when a book is read, a tag, containing the title, author, and child’s name can be placed on the wall under a poster of one of the Greek gods.

It is also possible to use file cards containing book summaries which are accessible to the child and which contain classmates’ comments or reactions to the book read. Another pupil’s recommendation is a thousand times more valuable than the teacher’s recommendation.

A “Book of the Week Club” can prove to be a very popular activity in a sixth grade class. The club members are encouraged to read books during the week. On Thursday, after school, they select a “Book of the Week.” One child goes to the office on friday to talk to the entire school over the public address system about the book. The student announces the title and author, then gives a summary of what the book is about.

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Integration of Suggested Activities with the Teaching of Greek and Roman History

It is recommended that the above mentioned strategies for motivating reading and writing be used prior to the study of Greek and Roman history.

A four to six week period of time, preferably early in the school year, is recommended as a time to familiarize children with stories from Greek and Roman mythology, During this time the teacher should make good stories available, introduce books to children, read to the class and allow time each day for independent reading, These things can and should be done in conjunction with their regular reading program.

During this same period of time other activities mentioned can be integrated into other areas of the school day, such as English, art, and social studies. Some activities may be used more often than others, others might be left out entirely, while some might be returned to again and again. All of this will be at the discretion of the classroom teacher to fit his or her individual classroom needs.

After this initial time period and while stories from the myths are still fresh in the children’s minds, it is time to begin the introduction to Greek and Roman history.

The activities to motivate reading and writing can continue as the history phase is taught and also adapted to fit new material as an ongoing stimulus for the rest of the year.

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Introducing Early Greek and Roman Civilization to the Middle Grades

By the sixth grade some study of early civilizations should have been made. Th ancient Greeks and Romans have contributed many concepts concerning law, beauty, architecture and philosophy to our culture, Their presence is also feLt in our literature and many traces of their thought keep popping up i our customs and traditions.

The main purpose of the teaching outline that follows is to introduce the ancient Greeks and Romans to students so that they will have some knowledge of the subject when they begin to study it at a higher level in the upper grades.

References in the Teachers’ Bibliography will provide teachers with a means of filling in the gaps and increasing their own knowledge of the subject matter.

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Early Greek History

I. Who were the Greeks?

A. Show a map of Greece showing its place in the world.
B. Early Barbarian Tribes—Explain the movement of early barbarian tribes from the north into the land that is today Greece. Discuss how these people sLowly developed into the people we know of as the Creeks.
C. Phoenicians—Discuss the Greeks’ contact with the sea-going Phoenicians and the Phoenicians’ contribution of our alphabet.

II. Early Greek Life

A. Love of Beauty—Discuss the Greek love of beauty and the development of such thing as woven goods, beautiful vases and bowls, temples, houses, and ships.
B. Importance of Location—Explain to students how Greece’s proximity to the ocean and trade lanes played an important part in the spread of her ideas.
C. Greek Ideas of God—The Greeks believed in many gods, Many of these will be familiar to the class from the myths. Discuss the important Greek gods.
D. Literature—The Greeks wrote about their gods and about their heroes. They sang songs about their bravery and skill. Great works include:
____Iliad—tells the story of an incident during the fighting of the Trojan War.
____Odyssey—tells of the adventures of a warrior returning from the Trojan War, Mention that these two poems are two of the greatest poems ever composed.
E. Lack of Unity—Discuss the concept of city states.
F. ports—The Greek loved athletic contests and founded the Olympic games.
G. Important city-states—Sparta and Athens were two powerful city-states. Discuss some of their major differences . Discuss some strong points of each.
H. Wars of Early Greeks—Point out that the Greek city-states did unite at times to fight common enemies, such as the Persian Empire.

III. Golden Age of Greece

A. Reign of Pericles—Under the rule of Pericles many temples, theatres and other public buildings were built. There was great focus on beauty.
B. Plays, poems, literature and other forms of art abounded.
C. Great artists lived during this time, such as the sculptor, Phidias.
D. Great writers lived during this time, (Discuss the work of Herodotus, sometimes called father of history, and Thucydides).
E. Great phil.osophers and scientists lived during this time.
____Socrates—II asked questions such as, what is beauty” What is meant by justice? He taught that ideas were more important than things.
____Plato—He wrote about governments and what would be the best kind. He wrote that being free to seek th truth is very important, Discuss this idea.
____Aristotle—He wrote about philosophy, science and history. Discuss how important question ing is to the learning process.

IV. Downfall of Greece

A. Discuss how, although the Greek civilization was conquered, her ideas spread and exist to this day. It is important for children to understand the\?t the real greatness of this civilization and the aspects that exist today lay in her culture or way of life.

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Early Roman History

I. The Early Romans

A. how ma of the Mediterranean Sea area, Point out Italy, Greece and the city of Rome.
B. Early Barbarian Tribes—Explain the movements of the early barbarian tribes from the north into what is today Italy. Explain how the civilization process took longer for the Romans than for the Greeks primarily because of the Apennine mountain.
C. Rome emerges as strongest of the city-states. Her people were strong and warlike. She slowly extended her control over her neighbors.
D. Development of government—Over a period of many years the Romans learned to govern themselves well. They developed a system of government whereby the people chose a ruler (called a King) to lead them. This ruler was helped by a group of three hundred nobles, called the Senate. When kings began to rule cruelly, the Senate drove out the King and chose two rulers, one of whom would be a check on the other. These rulers were called consuls.
E. The Roman Republic—A republic is a state in which the people choose who will rule them. About 500 B,C, the first consuls were elected. They had great power during the time they ruled, which was for a one year term. A dictator, with complete or absolute power, was chosen in times of emergency. The dictator was appointed for a short time, usually six months. Mention might be made of one such dictator, Cincinnatus. During this time the Roman Senate was the real power in government,
F. Growth of Government—the older, more established families known as patricians (richer) and the more recent arrivals known as plebians (common peopLe) were the two main classes in Rome, Many inequalities separated the classes, The plebians were not allowed to hold office or to become members of the Senate. The plebians slowly won more and more rights until finally, over a period of some two hundred years, all Roman citizens were declared to be equal before the law. An important concept we get from the Romans is that it is important for laws to be fair to everyone.

II. Rome Conquers the World

A. Discuss how Roman rule spread to other lands in all directions until Rome ruled the entire Mediterranean Sea area. is the Roman state grew it came into con tact with Greek Literature, philosophy, religion, and other ideas which it studied and incorporated as its own.
____In this way one might say that Greece conquered Home with her id.eas as Rome was conquering Greece with her armies.
B. Reign of Julius Caesar—Caesar was a sensible ruler with lot of good ideas and plans for the people. He was eventually chosen as dictator for life. This changed Rome’s status from a republic, It.was probably Caesar’s biggest mistake, Caesar was eventually murdered by members of the Senate.

III. Golden Age of Rome

A. With the acquisition of many lands in all directions Rome became an empire. Discuss what an empire is.
B. Rule of Augustus Caesar—Octavian or Augustus (meaning honored) was the nephew of Julius caesar. He was elected consul many times, eventually he was made a ruler, or first citizen for life, His reign can be compared to that of Pericles, It is referred to as the Golden Age of Rome, Good roads, aqueducts, theatres, and temples were built through out the entire empire. Plays, poems, literature and art abounded.
D. Some famous writers lived during this time such as Virgil and horace.
E. Law became more sophisticated as the empire grew. The Laws of the Twelve Tables, which were written down to provide order for Rome, were not enough as the empire assimilated other lands, A new system allowing for customs and religions of conquered nations was developed, This was called the Law of the nations. Records were kept of law cases and there was much study and writing of the laws. Many years later Justinian gathered and codified these Roman law and this code was a great gift to our western culture, Many ideas of law passed to coun tries such as EngLand, France, and eventually to the United States.

IV. Decline of the Roman Empire

A. It.seems that many Romans lost their interest in good government. The differences between the rich and the poor became larger. There were many beggars and starving people in Rome, and many rich people seemed only interested in the Luxuries of life. There were heavy taxes to provide for huge armies. Growth of the empire started to slow down, law and order started to break down, and Rome became weak. This helped to make easier the migration into the empire of barbarian tribes and the eventual breakdown of the Roman Empire,

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PurposeTo arouse reading interest in children, To cause children to become excited about read ing, To help reluctant readers to share in an enjoyable reading experience.
PreparationTeacher should have available several library books, at an appropriate reading level, on the subject of mythology. (See Children’s Bibli ography.) Teacher should also have available large, colorful posters or illustrations depicting scenes from Greek myth. Procedure—Teacher should introduce the available books to class using suggestions mentioned in section on introducing good books, Use of colorful posters is highly motivational at this time. read certain sections from a few of the books which will get the child involved in the action but do not revea; too much of the story. Allow 15-20 minutes of reading time,
Follow-up After 15-20 minutes, encourage children to share wit group what they have read without revealing ending. The teacher might also al3.allow the cLass to break into small groups to discuss their reading, In the following few days encourage children to recommend their stories for others to read, It has been my experience that the more “talk” there is about a certain story, the more children will want to read it,

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PurposeTo arouse in children a desire to write and therefore to help develop an interest and enjoy ment in creative writing.
PreparationEach child should have two sheets of lined paper and a pencil, Teacher should have copy of Gibson’s Gods, Men and Monsters.
ProcedureTeacher should read from book beginning on page 144, The Wanderings’ of Odysseus, Read to page 149, the end of the second paragraph, where Circe casts a spell over Odysseus’ men turning them into pigs. Instruct class to use their own imagination to write an ending for the story, I do not recommend a minimum length. Instead, allow each individual to establish his ending without the worry of having to write a certain number of words, Pt names and other difficult words from story o board to facilitate spelling. After reviewing papers teacher may read some to class or ask students to read their own story endings. A day or two later finish reading Gibson’s account from,book to the class, Refer interested students to other accounts of Odysseus’ wanderings from bibliography.

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PurposeTo introduce some religious beliefs of the Ancient Greeks and Romans. More specifically, to introduce the major Olympian Gods.
PreparationSome knowledge of these gods should already have been gained through the children’s class room reading and oral reading done by the teacher. Have the following list mimeographed and a copy provided for each student.
ProcedureDistribute lists of Olympian gods to each student, Discuss with class the Greek and Roman names and main functions and attributes of each god listed, Have posters or such books as D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths or Gibson’s Gods, Men, and Monsters av .Ilable to show illustrations of each god discussed when possible.
Follow-up Use he included quiz to see how much the class has remembered of the Olympian gods. QUIZ

Circle correct letter.

 1. The ruler of the sea is:
a. Poseidon b. Zeus c. Apollo . d. Hades
 2. This god would drive the sun chariot.
a. Zeus b. Juno c. Hades d. ApoLlo
 3. This was the Roman god of war.
a. Vesta b. Vulcan c. Mars d. Hermes
 4. This god was the lord of the underworld.
a. Zeus b. Hades c. Apollo d. Neptune
 5. This goddess was Zeus’ wife and sister.
a. Vesta b. Aphrodite c. Hera d. Minerva
 6. This god had winged sandals and was the messenger god.
a. Hades b. Hermes c. Apollo d. Neptune
 7. She was very beautiful and called the goddess of love.
a. Aphrodite b. Hera c. Athena d. Vesta
 8. Athena. the goddess of wisdom was known by what name to the Romans?
a. Minerva b. Vesta c. Venus d. Pluto
 9. The most powerful of the Olympian gods was:
a. Poseidon b. Pluto c. Apollo d. Zeus
10. The Greek god of fire and handicrafts was:
a. Hades b. Hephaestus c. Pluto d. Apollo
Answer Key: 1. a 2. d 3. c 4. b 5. c 6. b 7. a t3. a. 9. d 10. b

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1. Dolch, Edward Wm., Ph.D. Psychology and Teaching of Reading, (Champaign, Ill.: Garrad Press, 1957), pp.,62-63.
2. Witty, Paul, Helping Children To Read Better, (Chicago: Science Research Associates, Inc., 1961), p. 15.
3. Gans, Roma. Reading Is Fun. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1954), p. 1.
4. Dechant, Emerald V. Improving the Teaching of Reading, 2nd ed. (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1970), pp. 93-94.
5. Ibid., p. 93
6, Dechant, op. cit., p 93.
7. McCloskey, Robert, Homer Price, (New York: Viking Press, n.d.)
8. Gibson, Michael. Gods, Me and Monsters. (New York: Schocken Books, 1982).
9. Ibid.
10. Alexander, Beatrice, Famous Myths of the Golden Age, (New York: Random House, 1974).
11. D’Aulaires, Ingri and Edgar. Book of Greek Myths , (New York: Doubleday and Co., 1962),
12. Coolidge, Olivia. Greek Greek Myths , (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1949) p. 23.
13. Gates, Doris. Two Queens of Heaven , (New York: Viking Press, 1974).
14. Coolidge, Greek Myths , p. 32.
15. D’Aulaires, Ingri and Edgar. Book of Greek Myths , (New York, Doubleday Company, 1962),
16. Heilman, Arthur W. Principles and Practices of Teaching Reading , (Columbus,Ohio: Co., 1967) p. 176.

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MIX = suitable for middle elementary grade levels 3-4

UE = suitable for upper elementary grade levels 5-6

Alexander, Beatrice. Famous Myths of the Golden Age . New York: Random House, 1974. Collection of eleven Greek myths. Large print, short chapters. Each story averages 3-6 pages. Excellent color illustrations. 62 pp, (UE)

Bullfinch, Thomas, A Book of Myths . New York: Macmillan Company, 1942. A collection of he more popular Greek myths with sketches, 126 pp. (UE)

Coolidge, Olivia, Greek Myths. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1949. Best known Greek myths told in skillful way. Describes landscape of early Greece, the great heroes and the simple country folk. 243 pp. (UE)

D’Aulaires, Edgar and Ingri. Book of Greek Myths , New York: Doubleday and Co., 1962. Collection of some exciting stories plus a lineage of the gods. Outstanding; drawings. 73 pp.. (ME) (UE)

Egan, E, W. Italy in Pictures, New York: Sterling Company, 1975. Contains descriptions of Italy, past and present. Many pictures. Good reference book.

Farmer, Penelope. The Story of Persephone. New York: William Morrow Co., 1973. Relates the Greek myth which explains the reason for the changing seasons. (UE)

Gates, Doris.. The Warrior Goddess. New York: Viking Press, 1972 Tells of the birth of Athena. Also contains stories in which she plays a central role, as in adventures of Jason and Perseus. No pictures. 117 pp. (UE)

Gates, Doris, Lord of the Sky, New York: Viking Press, 1972. Include stories of Zeus, the chief god, mingling with mortals. Nice pictures. 125 pp. (UE)

Gates, Doris. The olden God, New York: Viking Press,1973. Feature Apollo, the sun god, and the myths in which he plays a major role. 108 pp. (UE)

Gates, Doris, Mightiest of Mortals: Heracles. New York: Viking Press, 1975. Tells of Heracles’ early adventures, his madness, and his resulting labors, Few but great illustrations. 94 pp. (UE)

Gates, Doris, Two Queens of Heaven. New York: Viking Press, 1974. This book concentrates on the myths associated with Aphrodite, the goddess of love and Demeter, the goddess of vegetation. 94 pp. (UE)

Gibson, Michael, Gods, Men, and Monsters. New York: Schocken Books, 1982, A collection of myths pertaining to ancient Greek gods and heroes. Exceptional art drawings . 152 pp. (UE)

Graves, Robert. Greek Gods and Heroes, New York: Doubleday and Company, 1969. Collection of stories including some hard-to-find mythological characters in children’s books. Includes stories of Asclepius, Melampus, Alcestis and Sisyphus. 155 pp. (UE)

Green, Roger. Tales the Muses Told. New York: Walck, Inc., 1965. Short stories ranging from 3-6 pages. Different tales on such subjects as flowers, trees, birds, stars and lovers. Excellent for the reluctant reader who is afraid of tackling long stories. 133 pp.. (UE)

Gunther, John, The Golden Fleece. New York: Random House,1 959. The story of Jason’s search for the Golden Fleece. Short chapters, large print, good illustrations. 54 pp.. (UE)

Kingsley, Charles. The Heroes. Santa Rosa, Calif.: Classic Press, 1968. Deals with the adventures of Perseus, Heracles, Theseus and the Argonauts. Fair drawings. Recommended for higher level readers. 215 pp. (UE)

Masters, Robert. Greece in Pictures, New York: Sterling Company, 1975. Description of Greece, past and present. Many pictures, good reference book.

McLean, Mollie and Wiseman, Ann. Adventures of the Greek Heroes, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1961. Contains six separate stories of 3-5 chapters each. Includes Heracles, Perseus, Theseus, Orpheus, Meleager, and Jason. Good illustrations and large print. 174 pp. (UE)

Moffitt, Frederick, Tales From Ancient Morristown, N.J,: Silver Burdette Co., 1979. This book gives Odysseus’ story in a diary form. There are excellent drawings, charts, and a glossary of main characters. 90 pp.. (UE)

Serraillier, Ian. The Way_ of Danger. New York: Walck, Inc., 1963. The story of Theseus’ heroics. Good black and white illustrations. 86 pp. (UE, )

Serraillier, Ian. A Fall From the Sky, New York: Walck, Inc., 1966. The story of Daedalus and his son, Icarus, who built wings of wax to escape from Crete. Easy reading, short chapters. 58 pp. (UE)

Stobbs, William, The Clashing Rocks. New York: Viking Press, 1972. Jason’s Search for the Golden Fleece and the adventures he encounters. Black and white pictures. 96 pp. (UE)

Untermeyer, Louis. The Firebringer, and Other Great Stories, New York: Evans and Company, 1968. A collection of over 50 myths from 3-6 pages each on various subjects. Includes some Northern European myths. Recommended for higher reading level. 255 pp. (U)

Winwar, Frances. Cupid, the God of Love, New York: Random House, 1959. Delightful stories of Cupid as both a child and a young man. 54 pp. (UE)

Wise, William, Monster Myths of Ancient Greece, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1969. Excellent re-tellings of myths about Perseus, Bellerophon, Atlanta, Theseus and others. Easy reading, good pictures. 48 pp. (ME)

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Barber, Richard, A Companion to World Mythology. New York: Delacorte Press, 1979. Alphabetically arranged listing of mythological terms. Includes many indexes and cross reference lists. Fantastic illustrations.

Barth, Edna, Cupid and Psyche: A Love Story. New York: Seabury Press, 1976. The Greek god of Love, Cupid, falls in love with the beautiful mortal, Psyche.

Barthell, Edward Jr, Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Greece. Florida: University of`Miami Press, 1971. Very comprehensive narrative of all the Greek myths that form the backbone of classical literature. Useful reference aid.

Carlyon, Richard, A Guide to the Gods. New York: Quill Press, 1981. Over a thousand entries describing the stories of gods and goddesses from all over the earth. Excellent source.

Dawson, Grace. Your World and Mine. Boston: Ginn and Company, 1969. Sixth grade social studies textbook that contains a good unit on Ancient civilizations.

Duthie, Alexander, The Greek Mythology. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1979. An excellent handbook with information classified by subject. Table of Greek and Roman name variations.

Gans, Roma, Reading Is Fun. New York: Columbia University Press , 1949. Useful tips and techniques to help motivate children to read.

Grant, M, and Hazel J. Gods and Mortals in Classical Mythology New York: Random House, 1973. Handbook of classical mythology. Good reference text.

Green, Roger, Heroes of Greece and Troy, New York: Walck, Inc., 1961. Tales of Ancient Greece skillfully woven into one continuous narrative. Great for reading to class.

Green, Roger, Tales of Greek Heroes. New York: Penguin Books, 1958. Easy to read collection of myths, one story growing right out of another. Excellent for oral classroom reading.

Guerber, H.A. The myths of Greece and Rome, London: Harrap Press, 1938. Famous Greek and Roman tales told in simple but graphic style. Entertaining. Genealogical table of gods and glossary.

Hamilton, Edith. Mythology. New York: Mintor Press, 1940. Standard text of mythology presents the view of the Greeks as creatures of light and reason.

Hillerich, Robert. Fifty Wags to Raise Bookworms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1969. Service bulletin of excellent creative ideas to make reading more fun,

Perowne, Stewart. Roman Mythology. London: Hamlyn Publishing, Inc. Traces the development of religions in the Roman state. Very readable text with rich illustrations.

Pinsent, John, Greek Mythology. London: Hamlyn Publish Company, 1969. Narration of familiar and lesser known stories. Traces development of certain myths from primitive times to Golden Age of Greece. Illustrations include superb selection of vase paintings and sculptures.

Seltman, Charles, The Twelve Olympians. New York: Crowell Pub. Co., 1960. Discusses origins and duties of major Olympian gods. Good illustrations.

Tripp, E. Crowell’s Handbook of Classical Mythology. New York: 1970. Many entries; those on major figures of myth are detailed. Good illustrations and full references to literary sources.

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Materials for Classroom Use


Ancient Games. 28 min. color, elementary—adult. Travel to the site of the Ancient Greek Games at Delphi to recreate the original Decathlon. Available from Conn. Film circuit (free)

Flight of Icarus, 10 min. color, elementary—adult. The tale of Daedalus and Icarus comes alive in this color animated film. Available from Hamden Library. (free)

Story of King Midas. 11 min., color, primary—adult. Story of a King who receives a gift of turning to gold anything he touches. Available from Conn. Film Circuit. (free)

Theseus and the Minotaur. 21 min” color. Historic and literary details of the legend. Rental $13 Syracuse University Film Rental Center, Syracuse, N.Y.


Apollo and Phaethon. Story of the sun god’s child and his unfortunate attempt to drive the sun chariot. Available from New Haven Audio Visual Department.

Atlanta’s Race. Famous foot race between Atlanta and a suitor seeking her love. Available from New Haven Audio Visual Dept.

Baucis and Philemon. Story of two older people who win the respect of the gods for their hospitality. Available from New Haven Audio Visual Dept.

Ceres and Proserpina. Story of the goddess of vegetation, her daughter’s kidnapping and the Greek explanation for the changing seasons. Available from New Haven Audio Visual Dept.

Glory That Was Greece. Overview of Greek Civilization during Golden Age. Available from New Haven Audio Visual Dept.

Grandeur That Was Rome. Highlights of Golden Age in Rome. Available from New Haven Audio Visual Dept.

Minerva and Arachne. Story of a spinning contest between a goddess and a mortal. Available from New Haven Audio Visual Dept.

Prometheus and Pandora. Story of the theft of fire for man and the resulting punishment. Available from New Haven Audio Visual Dept.

Roman Empire. Life in Home during the empire. Available from New Haven Audio Visual Dept.

Roman Republic. Life in Rome during the period as a republic. Available from New Haven Audio Visual Dept.


Heroes, Gods, and Monsters. 6 records or cassettes includes Perseus, Narcissus, Theseus, Pandora, Orio and others. $59.94 Random House, Maryland.

Jason and the Golden Fleece. Caedmon Records, New York, 1973. Available from Hamden Library. Read by Cathleen Nesbit as told by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

The Twelve Labors of Heracles. Caedmon Records, New York, 1968. Available from Hamden Library (free) Read by Anthony Quajrle as retold by Padraic Colum.


American Classical League, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. 29’ X 23’ Zeus, Apollo, Achilles, Trojan Horse, set $9.90.

National Geographic Education Services, Washington, D.C. Mythological Realm of Gods and Heroes 38’ X 26’ Paper poster. $3.

Perfection Form Company, Legan, Iowa, 1972. Large colorful posters portraying characters from Greek myth. Has printed paragraph giving short introduction to myth.

Games and Puzzles

Mythology Crossword Puzzles. 14 puzzles $1.10 American Classical League, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.

Mythology;y Crossword Puzzles. Book of 14 $1.10 Perfection Form C., Legan, Iowa.

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