Do you use anything for literature analysis is your home? I have always been leery of doing too much with literature since I didn’t want my kids to resist reading because of it. When I was growing up, I never enjoyed book reports, and literature analysis always felt to me like a book report. But when I was offered a chance to review the literature guides for The Door in the Wall and The Courage of Sarah Noble from Progeny Press, I thought it would be a great idea to give them a try since I have heard great things about them! The Door in the Wall e-guide retails for $16.99 and is intended for grades 3-5. The Courage of Sarah Noble e-guide retails for $11.99 and is intended for grades K-3.
The Progeny Press guides come in four different levels: lower elementary, upper elementary, middle school, and high school. The guides can be purchased as a study guide on a CD or as an e-guide that is available as an instant download. Both can be printed time and time again for your children. You can also purchase the printed workbook. The great thing about the e-guides is they can be used interactively. So if your child prefers typing to writing, they can fill out the questions that way instead. The guides are intended to take about 8-12 weeks to complete and answer keys are available in the back of every guide.
I decided to print off the guides for each of my children. Our computer is not always reliable and can run slow, so I figured this would be the best way to make sure the guides get done. We already own the books for the guides we are using, but most of the study guides are for award winning books that can be found in most public libraries.
For my oldest son, I chose the guide for The Door in the Wall. This guide is intended for the upper elementary level. I love how the guides break the readings and activities into easily managed chunks. For Caspian, it worked out best to do a few days of reading, and then work on the study guide for the next few days. His guide came with great information about the book to help him understand the background. There were a few pre-reading activities, and then we jumped right into the guide. Each section is full of meaningful questions that can’t be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”. Some of the questions are directly about the story, but others really made him think beyond the story line of the book. There are wonderful exercises to broaden his vocabulary.
One of my favorite parts of the guide is the Scripture references. I love how they use the story to connect to God’s word. There was obviously a lot of thought that was put into each and every question. We have had some wonderful discussions not only about the book, but also about how the answers can be applied to our lives. I just love the “dig deeper” section of the questions! I also love that the guide ends with wonderful suggestions of similar books and even some videos. If you have sparked an interest in a subject with these guides, you have an easy resource to guide you to more great things.
My daughter, Aurora, was given the guide for The Courage of Sarah Noble to use. This guide is for the lower elementary group. Even though Aurora already read this book last year, she was very excited and eager to read it again! Her guide included many things similar to Caspian’s, but just at a different level. She had vocabulary work along with some great questions, which again, included ties to Scripture. Then end of her book included some fun extras. There is a section of recipes, crafts, art, games, and even a crossword puzzle. The end of her guide also included other books by the author, and books related to the same time period as The Courage of Sarah Noble.
These guides were a great first start for my kids in literature analysis. There is just enough work to help them learn, but not enough to overwhelm them. The authors of the guides suggest doing about one page per day, and for us that was a reasonable pace. I didn’t want to overwhelm them with too many questions, and this was perfect. I would think doing one or two of these guides per year would be a perfect balance of free reading and literature analysis. I know my kids would get quickly overwhelmed if we did one of these guides for every book, but a couple per year would be great.
If you need a way to check comprehension and analysis skills in your readers, I would recommend the Progeny Press guides. They are so easy for the parents. No putting together activities or coming up with your own questions. It has all been done for you with the Progeny Press guides. Now to decide which guides we will choose next! 😉
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