We've used Progeny Press Literature Guides in the past and have really enjoyed them. I attribute this mainly because each section of the guide takes a fresh approach to each topic without 'beating the book to death' as other literature guides do. As a bonus, with Progeny Press guides, your child has the option to use it interactively by typing his answers directly onto the computer instead of using paper and pencil. (Be sure to check out a sample of Progeny Press' interactive study guides!)
"Progeny Press study guides concentrate on critical thinking, comprehension, literary analysis, and Christian application. Our goal is to teach our children to think clearly, to understand literature, and to rely on scripture for truth and values, and enjoy themselves while they do it!"After purchasing a guide of your choice, plus obtaining the matching book, all your student will need is a good dictionary, thesaurus and Bible. Supervised access to the Internet may be helpful as well.
We choose Across Five Aprils to review with my 5th and 8th graders for a few reasons. First, it's a good story taking place during The Civil War. Second, I wanted to see if my older student, who previously read the book, would gain new insights into the story. And third, I wanted to see how well my younger student could handle the study guide.
Each Literature Guide begins with useful sections on: How to use the guide, Book synopsis, Background on the author and time period and Pre-reading activities. In our case, it's suggested that the student research the causes of Civil War with some map work as well.
After first reading Across Five Aprils, we are ready for the Chapter 1-2 work. Each chapter begins with vocabulary. BUT, each chapter incorporates a different method such as: Look up and define, fill in the blank, multiple choice, matching...Progeny Press does a nice job of variety!
The remainder of Chapter 1 includes questions on setting and comprehension, similes and idioms plus activities from Dig Deeper and Optional Writing Activities.
I love how scripture is incorporated as well. One of the Dig Deeper Questions is: "Read Psalm 103:8-10 and Romans 12:19-21. How do these verses illustrate Matthew Creighton's response to Mary's death?"
Chapters 3 & 4 have you doing similar assignments but with variety. Beginning with some historical research on the Civil War (from a number of choices), the guide jumps back into vocabulary, comprehension questions, literary techniques, Digging Deeper and Optional Writing Assignments.
Again - there's a lot of variety! No two sections look the same!
As for my kids - my 8th grader whizzed through it fairly easily on the 'factual questions' and found the digging deeper sections more challenging. For my 5th grader, he was able to handle the study, but at a much slower pace.
Check out other literature guides from Progeny Press ranging from kindergarten through high school at http://www.progenypress.com.
Across Five Aprils Literature Guide
Paperbound Booklet $18.99
CD + Booklet $23.99
Email Attachment $16.99
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Disclaimer: I received a literature guide free of charge in exchange for an honest review.