Inside: If you struggle to find good literature for your homeschool. See how Memoria Press solves this problem with their literature guides.
I struggle to find good literature for my daughter. There’s so much out there that isn’t good. I want the books to be wholesome, yet exciting. She loves to read on her own and I don’t want to ruin that with boring titles I assign during the school year.
Memoria Press has solved this problem. They have wonderful classical literature which covers all the bases I require. I reviewed their Fourth Grade Literature Guide Set which is part of the classical homeschool curriculum they sell.
The Fourth Grade Literature Guide Set with Novels includes:
The full set contains a teacher’s guide, student guide, and literature book for each title. The student guides are consumable.
For my review, my daughter read The Cricket in Times Square because we had just returned from a trip to New York City. She was excited to see about a place she had just visited.
The guides have an easy to follow layout with the same format in each one. They are separated into the following sections:
Review Previous Material
This step starts with chapter 2. Once your child has read chapter 1, you need to review the vocabulary from the previous chapter before moving on. You should also discuss important concepts that have happened so far.
The parent reads this part aloud. It’s used to prepare the student for reading and helps him understand the main characters, setting, and the plot of the story.
The parent and child discuss any new vocabulary words introduced in the chapter. This helps him recognize them while reading and comprehend the passage better.
The child should go over these questions before reading so he is familiar and will recognize the answers when he comes across them during the chapter.
The books can be read independently or as a read aloud by the parent. Another option is to rotate back and forth after every paragraph or page. I think this depends on the age of your child, his reading level, attention span, and learning style. My daughter prefers to read by herself, so that is what she did.
The student should identify and mark vocabulary words when he sees them. They also encourage him to write notes in the margins of the workbook page when he comes across answers to comprehension questions. This will help him remember facts and details to include in his answers.
After Reading Activities
This is an activity using the vocabulary words in sentences and the student uses context clues to figure out a synonym for them. Some guides give a word bank and others don’t.
Depending on the age of the student and writing ability, these questions are answered independently or with the parent. This is a great opportunity to teach students how to answer questions with a complete thought and how to restate part of the question in their answer. This is something we are always working on.
If your student finds writing tedious, he can answer some of them orally. I did this a lot when my son was younger. I would write his answers for him and then write “answered orally” and date it for portfolio review purposes.
Quotations and Discussion Questions
I loved that quotations are highlighted from the book. Sometimes the quote is by itself and other times there are questions asking who said the quote or why the person said it. They are a starting point for discussions. Many of these quotes are great for copywork!
There are prepared discussion questions in the teacher’s book. I appreciate that all I have to do is open and discuss. My schedule is packed and I don’t have the time to to pre-read and come up with questions on my own. It’s nice that it’s done for me.
The discussion questions are separate from the comprehension questions and will require some thought and critical thinking. We had some great conversations with these.
Every guide includes a composition the student writes. It can be anything from 2 to 3 sentences for younger children up to a full page for older, more experienced writers. Through the process the student will learn to edit and write a final copy.
The rest of the activities vary by book. They cover a variety of skills such as:
- Sequencing- Order of Events
- Plot and Setting
- Character Descriptions
- Word Choice in Writing
- Grammar and Punctuation
- And much more!
Quizzes and Tests
Parents have the option to give quizzes and a final test. They give the quizzes after so many chapters and the final test at the end.
These Literature Guides Might Be for You If You:
- Want a literature guide you can adapt to children with different writing levels
- Need something you can open and go
- Use a classical education approach in your homeschool
- Have a classical/traditional learner
- Are looking for good classic literature
- Want book choices that are interesting and your children will enjoy reading
These Literature Guides Might Not Be for You If You:
- Have children who need hands-on learning
- Have children who don’t like workbooks
- Like to teach multiple ages at once
- Like your literature program to include other subjects
My daughter is the classical learner in the family so she enjoyed the workbook style lessons. The books were selections she would choose on her own and she was excited about all the titles in this set.
We split the lessons over several days so they weren’t as long because we use Charlotte Mason style short lessons. Breaking them apart helped her stay focused and pay attention.
The appendix had some great information. She especially enjoyed the map of New York City (since she had just been reading NYC maps on our trip), and the picture of the Afghan Hound so she could see what one looked like.
We only did one book for this review, but plan to go through the rest of them throughout our school year. I believe the compositions will be very helpful with her writing skills.
I also think marking vocabulary words while reading and taking notes about comprehension questions will carry over into other subjects like science and history and become a habit that benefits her in the high school years.
My daughter is older than fourth grade; however, I feel these guides are comprehensive enough to use a lower grade with older children if they like the titles in the set.
Other sets you may be interested in:
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