top of page
Homeschoolers:  We now offer courses throughout the 2024-2025 academic school year.   
Literary Focus Academic Enrichment Professional Development

Building better readers, writers, and thinkers

Literary Focus is a nonprofit organization that provides live, online literature courses for college-bound students in Grades 7-12 and professional development for secondary school English teachers.

—Students—

Would you like to discuss literature in small, seminar-style classes to prepare for the rigor and challenge of college-level coursework?

Student Reading novel at table
female student reading on a laptop

Would you benefit from individual instruction to learn how to read more closely, write more clearly, and think more deeply?

Would you like to share thoughts and ideas with a diverse group of motivated students from around the country and the world?

student smiling cross-legged on the ground in a library
Five Stars.png

March 30, 2024

"I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation for the enriching experience that Mr. Bunting's English literary program has provided.  The diverse range of activities and comprehensive curriculum fostered our child's deep love for reading and writing.  She has completed two courses and looking forward    to many more!  The foundational skills acquired and the enthusiasm for reading and writing that has been ignited are invaluable.  Mr. Bunting went above and beyond in providing    a personalized learning experience by adapting to the kids' pace of learning and areas of interest to ensure that the content remained challenging and engaging for each student.  Mr. Bunting's genuine passion for teaching created a supportive and nurturing learning environment, and his individual feedback and encouragement were invaluable in boosting our child's confidence and enthusiasm.  Thank you for being so committed to enriching children's lives through literature!"

- Gayathri R.

Houston, Texas

Derek School 2017.jpg
Derek Bunting
CEO/Founder
Lead Instructor

B.A. English

Dartmouth College


M.A. Education

Stanford University

Summer Courses

2024

We teach six books each session at three levels of difficulty to accommodate various ages and abilities:

Level I

Our Level I books are typically taught in Grades 7-9 and utilize relatively simple vocabulary and straightforward syntax.  The underlying themes can be nuanced, however, and students will need to learn how to read closely and think deeply to uncover the work's hidden meaning.  These books offer a solid foundation for those students who are still developing the basic skills and knowledge necessary for more advanced literary analysis.

Level II

Level II books are generally taught in Grades 10-11 and contain more advanced vocabulary, challenging syntax, and complex themes.  Students will need to learn how to read between the lines to understand the writer's true intent.  The most widely read classics in American and World Literature fall in this category, and most colleges will expect incoming students to have read these books at some point in their high school careers.

Level III

Level III books are the most challenging that students will read at the high school level.  They are usually reserved for AP classes in Grade 12 and represent the type of books that students will read at the college level.  These books are subtle and complex, often employing difficult syntax that requires careful reading to decipher the underlying themes.  When students are comfortable with Level III books, they know that they are ready for college.

Session One

June 18 - July 11

Morning Courses

Level I

Duration:

Four Weeks

Dates:

June 18 - July 11

Days:

Tuesdays and Thursdays

 

Time:

10:00 a.m. - 10:50 a.m. MT

Tuition:

$225

Lord of the Flies.tif

Publisher's Note:

 

William Golding’s Lord of the Flies remains as provocative today as when it was first published in 1954 for its startling, brutal portrait of a group of ordinary English boys marooned on a coral island.  Alone in a world of uncharted possibilities, devoid of adult supervision or rules, the boys begin to forge their own society, exposing the duality of human nature—the dark, eternal divide between order and chaos, intellect and instinct, structure and savagery.

Level II

Duration:

Four Weeks

Dates:

June 18 - July 11

Days:

Tuesdays and Thursdays

 

Time:

11:00 a.m. - 11:50 a.m. MT

Tuition:

$225

The Joy Luck Club II.tif

Publisher's Note:

 

After World War II, four Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco, begin meeting to eat dim sum, play mah jong, and talk.  United in shared unspeakable loss and hope, they call themselves the Joy Luck Club.  With wit and sensitivity, Amy Tan’s debut novel—published in 1989 and now widely regarded as a modern classic—examines the sometimes painful, often tender, and always deep connection between these four women and their American-born daughters.

Level III

Duration:

Four Weeks

Dates:

June 18 - July 11

Days:

Tuesdays and Thursdays

 

Time:

12:00 p.m. - 12:50 p.m. MT

Tuition:

$225

Brave New World.jpg

Publisher's Note:

 

Aldous Huxley's profoundly important classic of world literature is a searching vision of an unequal, technologically-advanced future where humans are genetically bred, socially indoctrinated, and pharmaceutically anesthetized to passively uphold an authoritarian ruling order—all at the cost of our freedom, our full humanity, and perhaps our souls.  Huxley’s masterpiece is as relevant today as it was in 1932 when it was published amid the rise of European fascism.

Afternoon Courses

Level I

Duration:

Four Weeks

Dates:

June 18 - July 11

Days:

Tuesdays and Thursdays

 

Time:

4:00 p.m. - 4:50 p.m. MT

Tuition:

$225

The House on Mango Street_edited_edited.jpg

Publisher's Note:

 

The House on Mango Street is the remarkable story of Esperanza Cordero, a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago, inventing for herself who and what she will become.  Told in a series of vignettes—sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous—Sandra Cisneros' masterpiece is a classic story of childhood and self-discovery.  Acclaimed by critics and beloved by readers of all ages, Cisneros’ novel has been taught in schools and universities around the world since its publication in 1984.

Level II

Duration:

Four Weeks

Dates:

June 18 - July 11

Days:

Tuesdays and Thursdays

 

Time:

5:00 p.m. - 5:50 p.m. MT

Tuition:

$225

Macbeth.tif

Publisher's Note:

 

No dramatist has ever seen with more frightening clarity into the heart and mind of a murderer than has William Shakespeare in the compelling tragedy of Macbeth.  Fast-moving and bloody, this drama—written in 1606—has an extraordinary energy that derives from brilliant plot devices, replete with treachery and murder, and from Shakespeare’s compelling portrait of the ultimate battle between a person’s ambition and the consequences of guilt and remorse.

Level III

Duration:

Four Weeks

Dates:

June 18 - July 11

Days:

Tuesdays and Thursdays

 

Time:

6:00 p.m. - 6:50 p.m. MT

Tuition:

$225

Beloved.jpg

Publisher's Note:

 

Written in 1987, Toni Morrison’s spellbinding novel won the Pulitzer Prize for its unflinching look into the abyss of slavery.  Sethe escaped to Ohio after being born a slave, but eighteen years later she is still not free.  Sethe has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm in Kentucky where so many hideous things happened.  And Sethe’s new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby girl, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. 

Session Two

July 23 - August 15

Morning Courses

Level I

Duration:

Four Weeks

Dates:

July 23 - August 15

Days:

Tuesdays and Thursdays

 

Time:

10:00 a.m. - 10:50 a.m. MT

Tuition:

$225

When the Emperor Was Divine.tiff

Publisher's Note:

 

On a sunny day in Berkeley, California, in 1942, a woman sees a sign in a post office window and learns that her family—along with thousands of other Japanese Americans—have been reclassified, virtually overnight, as enemy aliens and are about to be uprooted from their home and sent to a dusty incarceration camp in the Utah desert.  In this lean and devastatingly evocative first novel, written in 2003, Julie Otsuka tells this family’s story from five flawlessly realized points of view.

Level II

Duration:

Four Weeks

Dates:

July 23 - August 15

Days:

Tuesdays and Thursdays

 

Time:

11:00 a.m. - 11:50 a.m. MT

Tuition:

$225

The Great Gatsby.jpg

Publisher's Note:

 

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, one of the undisputed classics of American literature, was published in 1925 and brings to life the Jazz Age of the Roaring ‘20s.  Nick Carraway, a Yale graduate and veteran of the Great War, moves to West Egg, Long Island, eager to leave behind his native Middle West, and rents a small house next to the fabulously wealthy and enigmatic Jay Gatsby, a man who comes to represent both the promise and the corruption of the American Dream.

Level III

Duration:

Four Weeks

Dates:

July 23 - August 15

Days:

Tuesdays and Thursdays

 

Time:

12:00 p.m. - 12:50 p.m. MT

Tuition:

$225

Frankenstein.jpg

Publisher's Note:

 

Obsessed with creating life itself, Victor Frankenstein plunders graveyards for the material to fashion a new being, which he shocks into life with electricity.  But his botched creature, rejected by Frankenstein and denied human companionship, sets out to destroy his maker and all that he holds dear.  Mary Shelley’s chilling Gothic tale, originally published in 1818 and then revised in 1831, remains a devastating exploration of the limits of scientific knowledge and human creativity.

Afternoon Courses

Level I

Duration:

Four Weeks

Dates:

July 23 - August 15

Days:

Tuesdays and Thursdays

 

Time:

4:00 p.m. - 4:50 p.m. MT

Tuition:

$225

Of Mice and Men.tif

Publisher's Note:

 

While the powerlessness of the laboring class is a recurring theme in John Steinbeck's work, he narrowed his focus when composing Of Mice and Men in 1937, creating an intimate portrait of two migrant laborers, George and Lenny, who confront a world marked by petty tyranny, misunderstanding, jealousy, and callousness.  But though the scope of the novel is narrow, the theme is universal: a loyal friendship and shared dream that make an individual's existence meaningful.

Level II

Duration:

Four Weeks

Dates:

July 23 - August 15

Days:

Tuesdays and Thursdays

 

Time:

5:00 p.m. - 5:50 p.m. MT

Tuition:

$225

Their Eyes Were Watching God.jpg

Publisher's Note:

 

A classic of American literature, Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, published in 1937, tells the story of Janie Crawford’s evolving selfhood as a fair-skinned, long-haired, dreamy child who grows up trying to enjoy her life without being one man’s mule or another man’s adornment.  Even though the story does not end happily, it draws to a satisfying conclusion as Janie becomes a woman who refuses to live lost in sorrow, bitterness, fear, or foolish romantic dreams.

Level III

Duration:

Four Weeks

Dates:

July 23 - August 15

Days:

Tuesdays and Thursdays

 

Time:

6:00 p.m. - 6:50 p.m. MT

Tuition:

$225

The Kite Runner.tif

Publisher's Note:

 

The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner transports readers to Afghanistan at a tense and crucial moment of the country's history.  A powerful story of friendship, it is also about the price of betrayal and the possibility of redemption.  Since its publication in 2003, Hosseini's novel has become a beloved, one-of-a-kind classic of contemporary literature.

—Teachers—

Are you a veteran teacher interested in incorporating new instructional strategies and curricular designs into your existing practice?

Teacher thinking and gazing out of the window
Teacher reading a book while sipping coffee

Are you a new teacher looking for a comprehensive framework to teach any novel or play in an effective and engaging manner?

Are you a teacher eager to share your thoughts and ideas with other dedicated professionals outside your existing school?
teacher smiling while working on a laptop

—Donate—

student reading while sitting on steps

Please support our mission by donating what you can to provide scholarships for students in financial need or from underrepresented communities.

Students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches as part of the USDA National School Lunch Program automatically receive tuition waivers to attend our academic enrichment classes.

Your generosity provides financial support for these students, and since we are a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, your contribution is 100% tax deductible.

bottom of page