For grades 7-12
Stories give us an experience of certain knowledge, which is why how we feel about the book is part of what the book is teaching us. We have kept these things in heart and mind while making The Inklings Collection of literature guides, to be used in conjunction with the work of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Dorothy Sayers. We named them “Walking to Wisdom” because acquiring wisdom happens at the pace of a walk and with a mentor. We have sought to guide students through these marvelous books as well as in the skill of reading these particular texts.
Tolkien, Sayers, and Lewis all expressed their ideas in both fiction and nonfiction. The fiction includes dramatic literature, short fiction, long fiction, epistolary satire, and allegory. To shed light on their fiction, we have incorporated some nonfiction essays of Lewis and Sayers in the guides that cover their works. We strongly encourage students to take a full year and use all eight guides as a twentieth-century British literature course, though working through even one guide will be beneficial. Each literature guide both stands on its own and interacts with the others, with sidebar comments and thematic continuity. These books will change students’ lives and, in the meantime, teach them how to read with delight, depth, and skill, as well as prepare them to write well.
These substantial literature guides thoughtfully instruct students with the following habits:
• taking notes in their books
• answering reading questions
• creating their own questions
• reading sample student writing
• keeping notes book-wide on themes and motifs
• answering discussion questions about thematic material
• memorizing important quotations
• preparing, while reading, to write
• participating in creative enrichment activities related to the books
This literature guide references page numbers that line up with the 2015 HarperOne edition of Screwtape Letters, but with a bit of extra preparation you can use this guide with any edition. If you would like to buy the 2015 version, you can find it for purchase here.
The context essays referenced in the Walking to Wisdom Literature Guides are highly recommended but not required. For copyright reasons, the context essays are not printed in the guides. Most of the books in which the essays are found are available for purchase on Amazon (links have been provided for each of those books). For the essays that are not available in book form, we have provided links to online sources. A full list of the context essays for each Walking to Wisdom Literature Guide can be found here.
A note on the teacher's edition: This essential companion to the student guide includes sample essays as well as answers and instructions for teachers. Students learn by comparing their own answers to the answers provided in the teacher’s edition. The material provided in this edition is substantial, the product of an intellect that has lived with these books a long time and studied them in great depth.
“This has been an absolutely wonderful experience with my daughter. We have greatly enjoyed working through The Screwtape Letters and the literature guide together. One of my favorite parts of the guide is where it teaches you how to mark up a book and really make it your own. This is something she will carry with her for the rest of her life.” —Jeniffer Do Nascimento, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine
“I was really struck by the quality of the questions and activities in these study guides. . . . I’ve been disappointed by some of the newer literature study guides from other publishers since they seem to stick with comprehension questions, ignoring the intriguing ideas raised by the books themselves. I believe that a large part of the value of reading great books is wrestling with the ideas and stories, and this series seems to be one of the best I’ve ever seen for accomplishing this.” —Cathy Duffy
Context Essay Information (PDF)
“The Fellowship of the Inklings” Infographic (PDF) A visual interpretation of the literary journey through the themes and motifs found in some of the works of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and honorary Inklings member Dorothy Sayers.
Grade Level: Grades 7 and up