And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. Isaiah 54:13 KJV

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Complete Literature Study Guide

We like to try many different approaches to studying the literature I have assigned to the kids. Progeny Press sent us a wonderful Tuck Everlasting Study Guide download to review so we added the book to Apple's reading list. This was the first guide I've seen that recommended the student read the whole book before doing the work.

Progeny Press Review

Apple really enjoyed that approach. She loves to delve into the story, and she finds stopping and working after each chapter can detract from it. So she read Tuck Everlasting first. It was her first time reading the story by Natalie Babbitt. She found the story very intriguing. When we went to the local bookstore to purchase our copy, there were only 2 left. A sales associate told me it is a very popular book locally for school reading lists.

Progeny Press Review
This digital download study guide that I received is recommended for grades 5-8. Each guide is intended to take eight to ten weeks to complete. The product can be printed or you can have your student complete the guide on the computer. Adobe Acrobat 9 and up will open the guides to print or use interactively. We tried the interactive version but Apple decided she preferred the materials printed. I was happy to print it for her, and we placed it in a 3 ring binder for easy access. The guide is 54 pages long, and there is a separate answer key download for easy grading. 

The guide gave some "pre-reading" suggestions.  Apple chose to give a brief presentation on Juan Ponce de Leon and his quest for the fountain of youth. This worked out perfectly given our recent study of another explorer. I just love when our subjects all blend together. 

This guide has a great focus on vocabulary comprehension. Each section begins with vocabulary work but the activities are different each week. There were multiple choice questions, fill in sections, and some activities with word banks. This keeps the student really involved in learned the words and definitions without boring them. If you have a student who struggles with vocabulary, it would be easy to have them complete the activities before reading each section of the book so the meanings would be clear.

The real meat of the unit study workbook was the discussion questions. They really prompted Apple to dive deeper into the symbolism and meaning of the book. She loves to read and she's great at comprehending reading material but this was a chance for her to explain some of it in written form. I felt like this was a great exercise for her because I was able to send her back to think more about some of the questions. She also tends to be brief with her writing so I used lots of these questions to encourage her to give more detail in her written answer. Some of the discussion questions used Bible verses to compare and contrast or further explore an idea from the book. A Christian component is something I haven't seen in many study guides. Because Tuck Everlasting explores the idea of eternal life, there were some interesting discussions. 

Progeny Press offers their study guides for many pieces of literature. Their website has the guides divided into lower elementary, upper elementary, middle school, and high school so you can easily browse the level you need. They offer printed study guides as well as the e-guides. I think the interactive e-guides are a great resource especially for a child with access to their own computer. Everything on the guide we received could have been completed on the computer except one word puzzle. 

All in all, I felt like this was a great unit study. It covered many different aspects of the novel while giving added vocabulary instruction. The pre-reading suggestions were great as were the overview activity suggestions. Apple loves a fun project! While we wouldn't do a unit study this intense for every single piece of literature the kids read, I think it is great to focus on a couple of pieces of work this way each school year.

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