The Art Of Loving Well

A Character Education Curriculum for Today’s Teenagers

By: Nancy McLaren, MEd
Grades: 8-12
Length: 343 page student book and 58 page instructor’s guide

Art of Loving Well Collage

THE ART OF LOVING WELL: A Character Education Curriculum for Today’s Teenagers is a nationally acclaimed, literature based relationship skills curriculum from Boston University that teaches healthy relationship skills to youth. This program teaches students about the complexities and joys of a wide variety of relationships, including friendships and family, infatuations and first romances, enduring commitments and marriage. Studying short stories, poems, essays, folk tales, and myths empowers teachers to help students connect ideas in literature to choices in real life and the skills necessary to achieve healthy relationships.

View the Table of Contents

The Art of Loving Well anthology includes 41 selections divided into three sections: Early Loves and Losses, Romance, and Commitment and Marriage, which provide both lessons and practice. This curriculum empowers teens by honing the full range of communication and critical thinking skills, but it is also skill-based in a much broader sense.  The text includes such concrete activities as rewriting a discussion to defuse anger, providing sound advice to a friend in trouble, and tending a colicky “egg baby” for four days.

Loving Well stories and poems explore universal human emotions and challenges. Experience shows that students, even students who struggle to read, are so intrigued by the stories that they read more than are assigned because the topics are so relevant to their lives. These stories teach constructive ways to resolve conflict; they teach about self-knowledge, feelings, and character; and they give language to key concepts. They also cultivate an appreciation for important communication skills like reflecting before acting and agreeing to communicate precisely, fearlessly and kindly.

Teens will learn:

  • Key concepts in relationships.
  • A vocabulary of self-knowledge, feelings, and character.
  • Basic and subtle communication skills.
  • Constructive ways to resolve conflict.
  • Awareness of body language and intonations as well as word choice.
  • A sense of ease with the most daunting of four letter words,  L-O-V-E.

More about Literature-based Character Education

Loving Well has been field tested and taught successfully in grades 7 through 12 in a broad range of language arts, English, health, counseling, and family and consumer science classes. This unique program was originally developed under a U.S. Health and Human Services grant (1987-1992) to combat the burgeoning rate of teenage pregnancy.


Instructor’s Guide

This helpful 57 page guide offers teachers:

  • Detailed guides that highlight key issues and provide questions and activities to use with each selection for each literary selection.
  • Research backed, developmentally appropriate advice about how boys and girls mature differently and how to integrate their perspectives into discussions.
  • Suggestions about how to use the text as a sex education supplement if desired.
  • Advice about how to use the program in a fatherhood education context if desired, or as a point of departure for expanded discussions about families and fatherhood – the challenges, responsibilities, and rewards.
  • Field tested hints and suggestions for implementation from experienced teachers.
  • A sample journal assignment from one of the selections.
  • A guide for introducing the program to students in a relatively lighthearted yet substantive way.
Program Materials (click for details and prices)
The Art of Loving Well Anthology Instructor’s Guide The Art of Loving Well Instructor's Guide Student Anthology