I love reading. It is no secret. We have developed a family of readers in our household. My children beg to stay up and read. However, despite their great ability to read, I worry about their ability to question and critically analyze their stories. I am always on the lookout for quality reading comprehension curriculums. This search had me eager to review two unit studies from Progeny Press. For the last few weeks we have been reviewing The Little House on the Prairie Study Guide and Shadow Spinner Study Guide.
About The Company
“To teach our children to think clearly, to understand literature, and to rely on the scripture for truth and values, and enjoy themselves while they do it!” The aforementioned quote is the mission statement of Progeny Press. Obviously, when reading this statement, you can deduce that they are a Christian based company with core Christian beliefs.
Michael and Rebecca Gillieland are the founders of Progeny Press and through their declaration of faith they have created literature based products that help lead students to biblical principals. Unlike other religious based companies that I have seen, they do not shy away from books that may have “controversial” parts, however, they use those elements to help guide children to what the Bible and God say is correct.
I was given two separate products to review, so I will speak separately about each study guide.
The Little House on the Prairie Study Guide was written by Rebecca Gillieland. It is a 67-page study guide than can be used with students in grade 4-6, or students who are at that instructional level. I was given the interactive guide, which means that it is an electronic pdf version that gives the user capabilities to answer the questions by typing into the designated areas. If the user is not comfortable doing this, or wants the teacher wants to use it with multiple children, the pages can be printed for use as well.
The licensing of the study guide allows for the teacher to use with multiple children, however, it does not permit the teacher to upload the guide to any online platforms. This is simply because anyone can get access to it.
The Little House on the Prairie Study Guide is meant to be used as one section per week. Each section contains five chapters, with the exception of the last section, which contains six chapters. Each section contains vocabulary activities, general guiding questions, “Think About the Story Questions” which are geared toward make the reader think more critically, “Dig Deeper” questions which are meant to make the reader think on a higher level, and “Optional Projects and Activities” which bring in cross-curricular type activities.
We were able to complete The Little House on the Prairie Study Guide in 5 weeks. All three of my children worked on this guide together. We read the story aloud, taking turns, and each of them had a copy of the study guide. I printed two pages per sheet to save ink and paper. Each child would write their answers on their paper, and then we would hold a discussion about each question. This really helped us see things from a variety of point of views.
Included in this study guide are “Pre-Reading” and “After-You-Read” activities which help the reader think about the story as a whole. The activities vary in nature and include writing activities, geography, cooking, and art activities, among others.
It was recommended that they write in a journal about the story. I gave my children an option to write a comic book, or a journal. My two boys created a comic book. My daughter created a journal.
I was also given then answer key, which provided me with support on some of the questions when we held our discussions. It also allowed to the opportunity to let them be the teacher and lead discussions.
To view a sample of The Little House on the Prairie Study Guide click on the image below.
The Shadow Spinner Study Guide is of course of the study guide to the story “Shadow Spinner”. If you are not familiar with the story “Shadow Spinner” it is a bit risky, depending on the audience. It is geared toward middle school ages, which is a bit advanced for my youngest two. My daughter was able to work through the story independently. It is 101 pages long.
The study guide, like The Little House on the Prairie Study Guide is an interactive download and contains the same types of higher thinking activities. There is a larger focus on writing within the Shadow Spinner Study Guide.
To view a sample of the Shadow Spinner Study Guide click on the image below.
We loved the variety of activities given for us them to complete. Some of their favorite activities were the art and music activities. Listening to a variety of music that Pa would have played on his fiddle was especially fun for them. My daughter mentioned that she would have liked the opportunity to do more fine art type activities with “Shadow Spinner”.
We loved the interactive aspect of the download. This would have provided me the opportunity to go paper free, which I did with “Shadow Spinner.”
I loved that I had the rights to use this one download with as many students as I needed to. Some materials can only be used with one child, which can be a financial burden for homeschool families.
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