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    I'm struggling (literature guide related vs. just reading)

    I've read and reread the sticky about literature guides in MP. And, when I'm reading them, I'm 100% on board with their purpose and intent.

    But then, I go to a certain popular homeschooling forum and hear the discussion about the debate of using a reading program and just letting the kids read for enjoyment. And then I'm torn.

    With my older kids, I just let them read...and read and read and read. And it worked like a charm. They entered public school scoring 99 on ITBS and most importantly, they devoured books. I feel like it's the one thing I did right.

    So here I am with my next batch of kids, trying to follow MP as closely as I can to give it a fair chance. We're doing the lit. guides for 2nd grade. I've been kind of "meh" about Prairie School and Animal Tales. They were lower than his reading level but we did them. Now we're on Little House and I can see it's getting a little meatier. But I still cringe when we write down the vocabulary and I cringe when I have to tell him to "stop at page 23" for example. I'm NEVER a fan of stopping a willing child when they're excited about a book! But I am trying to follow the plans as best as I can. I can see the comprehension questions are great and I see the value of him writing (copying) my answers in the guide. And now that we're in Little House, I see the extra activities and extensions of the book. I can only assume they get better from here...

    And still I'm wondering if I should just throw the guides out the window and let the kid read. Because that's what he wants to do. I'm torn between using these very quality guides, and just reading for the enjoyment of reading. What do you think? Is there any reason NOT to just let them read, or are these guides just so valuable that you wouldn't dare to teach reading without them?

    #2
    Re: I'm struggling (literature guide related vs. just reading)

    My kids were in 3rd and 1st when we started doing MP. My oldest had never completed a literature guide but was a very motivated reader and had excellent comprehension. She read all the time! I think that for a young (primary grades) child that has that kind of passion for reading, the guides may or may not be necessary. Of course they are not necessary for reading practice since they can just read for that. I do think that they are great writing practice at that age, though, and it might be hard to jump right in to the older level guides without building up to that amount of written work every year.

    For the older grades I think they are absolutely fantastic and necessary. They teach literary elements, give essay practice, and force students to really think about what they are reading and then be able to articulate their thoughts. The younger guides are obviously much more simplistic.
    2018/2019
    Dd 12: MP 7A and First Form Greek
    Ds 10: MP 5M
    Ds 5: MP K

    Comment


      #3
      Re: I'm struggling (literature guide related vs. just reading)

      Originally posted by Meadowlark View Post
      I've read and reread the sticky about literature guides in MP. And, when I'm reading them, I'm 100% on board with their purpose and intent.

      But then, I go to a certain popular homeschooling forum and hear the discussion about the debate of using a reading program and just letting the kids read for enjoyment. And then I'm torn.

      With my older kids, I just let them read...and read and read and read. And it worked like a charm. They entered public school scoring 99 on ITBS and most importantly, they devoured books. I feel like it's the one thing I did right.

      So here I am with my next batch of kids, trying to follow MP as closely as I can to give it a fair chance. We're doing the lit. guides for 2nd grade. I've been kind of "meh" about Prairie School and Animal Tales. They were lower than his reading level but we did them. Now we're on Little House and I can see it's getting a little meatier. But I still cringe when we write down the vocabulary and I cringe when I have to tell him to "stop at page 23" for example. I'm NEVER a fan of stopping a willing child when they're excited about a book! But I am trying to follow the plans as best as I can. I can see the comprehension questions are great and I see the value of him writing (copying) my answers in the guide. And now that we're in Little House, I see the extra activities and extensions of the book. I can only assume they get better from here...

      And still I'm wondering if I should just throw the guides out the window and let the kid read. Because that's what he wants to do. I'm torn between using these very quality guides, and just reading for the enjoyment of reading. What do you think? Is there any reason NOT to just let them read, or are these guides just so valuable that you wouldn't dare to teach reading without them?
      What you're seeing is the difference between reading solely for enjoyment and actually studying a work. They are both essential. If our children only read for enjoyment they will love books but won't know how to really dive into a work (it won't always feel like "diving deep" in the early grades; remember, at these ages you're laying foundations for more advanced study). At the same time, if they only study/analyze books, they will see books as something to be dissected. This is why we only study a few books each year in our school time. It's assumed they are also reading many things outside of school purely for enjoyment. So the balance is there without us having to constantly weigh the scales.

      I think part of the trap we fall into as homeschoolers is that we think everything worthwhile must be done during/for school. Studying a few books each year during school hours is not going to kill a child's love of reading if books are part of their life outside of school. And studying them is essential if we want our children to really grasp the deeper meanings and connections between works; some children get these from reading only, but most don't and there are always things they will miss due to lack of life experience, literary knowledge, etc.
      Jennifer
      Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

      DS16
      MP: Lit 10, VideoText Algebra
      MPOA: High School Comp. II
      HSC: Spanish I, Conceptual Physics, Modern European History, and electives

      DS15
      MP: Biology, Lit 10, VideoText Algebra, Greek Tragedies
      MPOA: High School Comp. II, Fourth Form Latin
      HSC: Modern European History

      DS12
      7M with:
      Second Form Latin, EGR III, and HSC for US History

      DS11
      SC Level 4

      DD9
      3A, with First Form Latin (long story!)

      DD7/8
      Still in SC Level 2

      DD 4/5
      SC Level C

      Comment


        #4
        Re: I'm struggling (literature guide related vs. just reading)

        I think you are describing two different kinds of reading. And the two types are NOT mutually exclusive. Ideally, you want to have both of these types of reading going on in your home. Children will do well if you give them only one type, but they will do even better with both!

        After teaching kids to read, I think it is important to do whatever you can to create voracious readers. It is a worthy goal to raise kids who love to read....and who read A LOT. There are many ways to do this, but offhand, I think limiting screens and "passive" entertainment is REALLY important. It also helps to make sure there are lots of books available and you do what you can to lead them to good books. It also helps to make sure they have the time to read. (Example: You can read before bed, or go to sleep.) Read Alouds and audiobooks also help give children a love for books. This type of reading is what I call free reading...and ideally, it should be spent on books of worth that bring enjoyment.

        In addition to this, it is also good to do what I call a slow reading once in awhile. And this is what the literature guides help us to do in our homes! This was a principle I first read about when studying Charlotte Mason. (Please note that I come to Memoria Press from a very "classical mason" mindset, and I find their materials to be very close to her methods!) When reading books quickly in great quantity, you are often "consuming" one idea after another idea in a very quick fashion. There is no time to really meditate upon those ideas. It is one thing to read (and enjoy!) The Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe....it is another thing to discuss the authors life, to map out the characters travels, to read and discuss scripture and quotes from the authors other books, to discuss ideas he borrowed from mythology, etc. etc. There is just a LOT more depth. We came to Memoria Press with the "4th Grade for New Users Core". By that time, we had already read a few of the literature picks. However, I had the kids re-read them the slow way. They understood them before---but now those books have become deeply ingrained in their soul! They know those stories and characters and the messages like the back of their hand. I was amazed at the difference this type of reading can make.

        The literature guides, if you will notice, are NOT workbooks in the sense that we often use the word. They are really a directed vocabulary study and a writing course all in one. They teach the child to slow down and formulate their thoughts on the books into words....in an age-appropriate way. Very similar to the idea of Charlotte Mason's written narrations. They also

        NOW--not every book begs to be read slowly in this fashion. That is why you will notice that Memoria Press typically schedules only about 3-4 books per year to be read slowly with depth. (And I think their book choices are very nice.) Hopefully, your child is reading much more than 3 books per year. But the lit guides give us a practical way to read these GREAT choices with depth.
        Cathy aka The Attached Mama
        2019-2020
        DS 12, 7th Grade
        DD 11, 6th Grade
        DS 5, K

        Comment


          #5
          Re: I'm struggling (literature guide related vs. just reading)

          Originally posted by Meadowlark View Post
          I've read and reread the sticky about literature guides in MP. And, when I'm reading them, I'm 100% on board with their purpose and intent.

          But then, I go to a certain popular homeschooling forum and hear the discussion about the debate of using a reading program and just letting the kids read for enjoyment. And then I'm torn.

          With my older kids, I just let them read...and read and read and read. And it worked like a charm. They entered public school scoring 99 on ITBS and most importantly, they devoured books. I feel like it's the one thing I did right.

          So here I am with my next batch of kids, trying to follow MP as closely as I can to give it a fair chance. We're doing the lit. guides for 2nd grade. I've been kind of "meh" about Prairie School and Animal Tales. They were lower than his reading level but we did them. Now we're on Little House and I can see it's getting a little meatier. But I still cringe when we write down the vocabulary and I cringe when I have to tell him to "stop at page 23" for example. I'm NEVER a fan of stopping a willing child when they're excited about a book! But I am trying to follow the plans as best as I can. I can see the comprehension questions are great and I see the value of him writing (copying) my answers in the guide. And now that we're in Little House, I see the extra activities and extensions of the book. I can only assume they get better from here...

          And still I'm wondering if I should just throw the guides out the window and let the kid read. Because that's what he wants to do. I'm torn between using these very quality guides, and just reading for the enjoyment of reading. What do you think? Is there any reason NOT to just let them read, or are these guides just so valuable that you wouldn't dare to teach reading without them?
          If your child loves to read and is willing, I don't think you'd need to stop them at a certain page. Just let them read on. Then, go back and follow through the literature guide. As previously discussed in lots of forum posts, you don't have to write out every.single.question, but those questions can be done orally. You could also spend some time in the Enrichment section, since your child is enjoying LH so much.

          For vocab, we do a word bank, and we do it together. Ex: I take all the definitions from the TM, and write them on the white board, scrambled. Then, we read each sentence, and choose the definition that fits. (from the white board) It's a chance to chat about unusual words or concepts, and can even be a jumping off point for discussion. We were working through Farmer Boy today, and chatted about working for yourself, versus working for someone else, all because of a vocabulary word. It sounds nerdy, but these are the things that I love about homeschooling. Pulling real life in.

          Can you teach literature without these guides? Sure. But the heavy lifting is done for me, so I love it.
          Plans for 2019-20

          DD1 - 24 - College Grad and rocking her own bakery business
          DD2 - 13 - 8A Louisville HLS Cottage School and MPOA
          DS3 - 11 - 4A Louisville HLS Cottage School
          DS4 - 11 - 4A Louisville HLS Cottage School
          DD5 - 7 - MP2, Louisville HLS Cottage School
          DS6 - 5 - MP K

          [url]www.thekennedyadventures.com/all-about-our-memoria-press-homeschool[/url]

          Comment


            #6
            Re: I'm struggling (literature guide related vs. just reading)

            You know-after thinking about this today, I think I've pinpointed what is bothering me. It's the vocabulary! So-how do you all do vocabulary? Sometimes he can figure out the meaning from the sentence, but most times not. I'm a former reading teacher and you'd think I'd be able to figure this out. Here's what we do now: We read the sentence in the student guide first. Then I ask him if he has an inkling of what it means. If he doesn't, then we look it up in the literature dictionary or I just tell him. Then he writes it down either asking me how to spell things or I write it on the whiteboard. I don't like how I'm doing it. But waiting until he encounters it in the story doesn't work either because then we have to stop the flow. And I can see that it's valuable to him to know the definitions in advance. I think it's the writing it down that is bothering me because it seems....pointless and like busywork.

            So, what should I be doing differently? How do you all handle vocabulary at the 2nd/3rd grade level?

            Comment


              #7
              Re: I'm struggling (literature guide related vs. just reading)

              Originally posted by Meadowlark View Post

              So, what should I be doing differently? How do you all handle vocabulary at the 2nd/3rd grade level?
              We do a word bank. See above post.
              Plans for 2019-20

              DD1 - 24 - College Grad and rocking her own bakery business
              DD2 - 13 - 8A Louisville HLS Cottage School and MPOA
              DS3 - 11 - 4A Louisville HLS Cottage School
              DS4 - 11 - 4A Louisville HLS Cottage School
              DD5 - 7 - MP2, Louisville HLS Cottage School
              DS6 - 5 - MP K

              [url]www.thekennedyadventures.com/all-about-our-memoria-press-homeschool[/url]

              Comment


                #8
                Re: I'm struggling (literature guide related vs. just reading)

                So many awesome responses already! I will just echo Dianna and say yes, absolutely let them keep on reading if they want. I don’t force mine to stop either. We often have lags of lost time in school because people get carried away reading any one of their books - not just their novels. Don’t worry about that. And then listen to what all these other wise women just told you and you’ll be great!

                But yes...able to read is one thing. Able to have thoughts on what you have read, and express those thoughts persuasively - those require more intentional effort. That is where the guides become invaluable.

                AMDG,
                Sarah
                Last edited by KF2000; 12-13-2018, 07:08 AM. Reason: Gosh - so many exclamation points.
                2019-2020 - 9th Year with MP
                DD, 18, Homeschool grad; Art major/philosophy minor
                DS, 16
                DD, 14
                DD, 12
                DD, 10
                DD, 7.5
                DD, 5.5
                +DS+
                DS, 18 months

                Comment


                  #9
                  Re: I'm struggling (literature guide related vs. just reading)

                  The vocab set up isn't my favorite either.

                  If DS doesn't know the word, I just tell him the definition. We also didn't do quizzes for the first few books we did with the MP guides (does 2nd grade have quizzes?).

                  Right now we're doing the Blue Fairy Book (4th grade) and it DOES have the definitions box in the guide (as another poster suggested to create), and I LOVE that. He can do that portion independently, and I only help if he can't figure it out.

                  So yeah, I'd either just tell her the definition or do the definitions box thing.

                  FWIW, I'm reading those threads on the other board too and also get confused.
                  ~ Carrie
                  Catholic mom to four - ages 10, 7, 5, and 2
                  7th year homeschooling, 2nd year MP!
                  2019-2020: 5M (LC year 2), 3M (LC year 2), and K enrichment!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Re: I'm struggling (literature guide related vs. just reading)

                    Tanya and her minions are working hard to complete a "dictionary" for the Lit and Classical studies vocab. That was one area I wasn't happy about either. My son wasn't getting much out of that section, since his own look-ups would often produce a different answer than the TM's provided definition. The new vocab guides will also help the students with dictionary skills, while limiting the vocab to "approved definitions".

                    Unfortunately, I believe the grades in the new guides will be the 3rd - 6th grade? If you are doing 2nd grade, you might need to figure out a work-around until your child hits the 3rd grade level. Honestly, you could just do the 2nd grade vocab as a discussion, then have the child fill it in during that time. The point of the vocab is to aid the student's level of comprehension of the plot.

                    As for free reading, yes, the child should indulge. I tend to use a literature rich "enrichment" curriculum with historical fiction, along with MP Lit (for pre-composition skills), AND my son has his own fun books to read. All three types are going at the same time which meets many literature goals.



                    Jen
                    DS, 26 yrs, graduated from MIT (Aerospace), recently completed the design and execution of unhackable military software... in his spare time.

                    DS, 24 yrs, graduated from SIU's School of Business, ENGAGED!

                    DD, 21 yrs, Senior in Education at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC

                    DS, 11 yrs, 6M: complete!

                    All homeschooled.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Re: I'm struggling (literature guide related vs. just reading)

                      One of the keys to success in reading is the expansion of vocabulary. It is not necessarily an exciting course of work but can be less drudgery when tied to an interesting storyline. During reading lessons it always amazed me how many very basic words students did not completely understand. Hence the development of extensive vocabulary lists within the enrichment program and the work done within FSR and the literature guides in vocabulary building. Yes, the guides have some writing and other work as we teach across many subjects (grammar and punctuation to name a few) to tie knowledge together for the student. This work can feel as if it is squashing the love of reading but it isn't really.

                      If your child is reading along and enjoying the story, I would not encourage you to make them stop. But reading done within the curriculum should be used as a launch to other reading and not be the only reading a child does. When I was schooling at home I told my children there is reading we "have" to do, that is studied within the curriculum, then reading we "get" to do that is of our choosing but we are doing both! What I discovered is some of my children naturally wanted to read on their own and others I had to use all the parental powers at my disposal to get them to read anything beyond that which was required. Two of my four children are adults out of college. One loved reading in school one only deigned to read, however both are now avid readers. I can report on the other two deigners in about 10 years.

                      Teaching the vocabulary is needed and more effective when done as outlined in the literature guides or other guides. The manner in which you are teaching is correct: read the sentence, ask if they already know the meaning of the word, if they do write definition, if they don't look up definition then write it. I would add that when the word is encountered in the story, underline it and ask if they remember what the word means.

                      With all the great advice you received from everyone else on this post you should feel confident in your methodology! But I remember those moments of panic teaching at home when I would think, "What if I'm ruining their joy of learning (or reading)?" Or, "Am I teaching this right?"

                      Blessings,
                      Michelle T

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Re: I'm struggling (literature guide related vs. just reading)

                        Originally posted by Meadowlark View Post
                        You know-after thinking about this today, I think I've pinpointed what is bothering me. It's the vocabulary! So-how do you all do vocabulary? Sometimes he can figure out the meaning from the sentence, but most times not. I'm a former reading teacher and you'd think I'd be able to figure this out. Here's what we do now: We read the sentence in the student guide first. Then I ask him if he has an inkling of what it means. If he doesn't, then we look it up in the literature dictionary or I just tell him. Then he writes it down either asking me how to spell things or I write it on the whiteboard. I don't like how I'm doing it. But waiting until he encounters it in the story doesn't work either because then we have to stop the flow. And I can see that it's valuable to him to know the definitions in advance. I think it's the writing it down that is bothering me because it seems....pointless and like busywork.

                        So, what should I be doing differently? How do you all handle vocabulary at the 2nd/3rd grade level?
                        You may have seen my recent post on the FB group about me finding my almost 4yo writing zeros and telling me "I'm writing zeros so I can learn them!" I always tell my own kids, and my 2nd grade co-op kids, that we write these things down to help our brains remember them. I tell them this whenever they don't want to write an answer to something or when they're rushing through their spelling work. It really resonates with them and helps them understand that the writing isn't busywork. They're learning that it's worth doing and worth doing well.
                        Jennifer
                        Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

                        DS16
                        MP: Lit 10, VideoText Algebra
                        MPOA: High School Comp. II
                        HSC: Spanish I, Conceptual Physics, Modern European History, and electives

                        DS15
                        MP: Biology, Lit 10, VideoText Algebra, Greek Tragedies
                        MPOA: High School Comp. II, Fourth Form Latin
                        HSC: Modern European History

                        DS12
                        7M with:
                        Second Form Latin, EGR III, and HSC for US History

                        DS11
                        SC Level 4

                        DD9
                        3A, with First Form Latin (long story!)

                        DD7/8
                        Still in SC Level 2

                        DD 4/5
                        SC Level C

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Re: I'm struggling (literature guide related vs. just reading)

                          We use the vocabulary section to practice dictionary skills. I give them homemade dictionaries that list all of the vocabulary words for the year in alphabetical order with the definition used on the test. I assign vocabulary as "independent work" to be completed before we read. They look up each word and copy the definition on their own. Right before we read the books** I have them read the facts to know and vocabulary words with definitions. I also check to make sure that their handwriting and spelling is correct when they copied. I have them fix anything. I then tell them to listen for the words when we read and raise their hands each time they hear them. If it is an especially difficult word, or I am doubting their understanding, or I just want to review, I will ask them to define the word in their own words.

                          Our Literature Schedule-
                          We school 4 days per week and start literature at 2 PM on those days. This is the same time we usually have our afternoon tea so that is why it happens so regularly. (We think the Brittish were brilliant when they came up with this "meal" in between lunch and dinner. A little caffeine is usually just what I need at this time of day, and a nice snack often hits the spot too!) I put the kettle on, each child scurries to pick their favorite cup or mug...then we make tea and usually have a little snack. I light a candle and try to make it a special time in our day.

                          Day 1: DD10 Working with mama (usually on the couch), DS12 is working on his literature independently at the table, and DS5 is usually playing on the floor near the couch. He likes to hear the books read aloud and the poems and gets mad if we read without him.

                          Poetry Recitation: Oral recitation of the current poem by memory. (I usually assign one new stanza per week.) Some weeks we review previously learned poems.
                          • Poetry Workbook: Check and correct any previously assigned poetry work. (Ex: copywork, illustration, comprehension questions, etc.)
                          • Literture review: Check and correct the previous chapters comprehension questions and enrichment together. This was previously assigned as indpendent work. (This also serves as a review of what happened last.) I make sure that each answer is a complete sentence. I also check their spelling and punctuation as well as the content of their answer.
                          • Go over current chapter's reading notes and vocabulary together.
                          • Read current chapter aloud together listening for new vocabulary and reading notes as we go. We "buddy read" this switching every paragraph. (Yes, I still make even my 6th grader read aloud to me! I explain to them that this is to work on their oral reading skills. I even give them a grade on this.)
                          • Go over current chapters questions and discussion questions. I preview the enrichment. If there is anything that is better done with me, I do it with them at this time. (Example: look up art work or research trains, etc.)



                          Day 2: DD10 work independently, DS12 works with me (using the same routine as above), and DS5 plays nearby listening to this book too!
                          Independent work:
                          • Re-read current chapter silently while sipping tea. Yes, we read each chapter twice. We *know* these books, and I think repeated reading really is good for these kids.
                          • Complete current chapters comprehension questions. (These will be checked and corrected the next day when they work with me. If they can't answer a question, they are instructed to skip it and I will help them the next day.)
                          • Complete current chapters enrichment.
                          • Complete NEXT chapters vocab and reading notes using their dictionary. (We will go over this the next day.)



                          Day 3: DD10 working with me using a similar routine as Day 1. DS12 working independently using a similar routine as Day 2. And DS5 playing nearby listening in.

                          Day 4: DD10 working independently using the Day 2 routine. DD12 working with mama using the Day 1 routine....and DS5 playing near by.

                          ---------------
                          NOTE: When my kids were younger, I actually did the comprehension questions WITH them to teach them how to do this. We would asnwer the question orally together, and I would write the answer on a white board. They would then copy it into their workbook and I would check that they copied the spelling and punctuation accurately and wrote neatly. After awhile, I gave them a chance to try to answer it indpenendently, and I would be there to help them spelling. Then I would check and have them correct and praise, praise, praise. This investemnt paid off, and now they can answer every question VERY quickly and very well independently. They have always answered every question in wriitng. They don't know any differently. So they just do it without questioning or complaining. It has really been helpful for improving their writng skills. After doing this for even one year, they went up 3 grade levels in writing!

                          Also, if they finish up literture early before the hour is up, they are then aloud to free read. They also free read for at least an hour each day too. Often longer.
                          Cathy aka The Attached Mama
                          2019-2020
                          DS 12, 7th Grade
                          DD 11, 6th Grade
                          DS 5, K

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Re: I'm struggling (literature guide related vs. just reading)

                            This thread makes my heart happy. You guys are teaching literature just like we envision it. And you are able to help each other because you have learned so well.

                            And your success warms my heart even more - you are indeed saving Western Civilization, one student at a time!

                            Tanya

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Re: I'm struggling (literature guide related vs. just reading)

                              I love the MP literature guides, all the way up from the (now out of print) Phonics for Reading and Phonics for Spelling book, which offered guidance for the Primary Phonics Readers, to Story Time Treasures, and on through the rest of the guides. The are truly some of the best guides I have ever seen because they are very balanced. A lot of literature guides are simply comprehension questions, maybe some vocabulary, and maybe some projects.

                              For me, the MP guides have done the work for me as i prepare my students to read a book. Yes...I use the guides heavily before we read.

                              I should mention that I am teaching a private class of 1st/2nd graders who are not yet fluent readers. I use these guides to "front load" my students with lots of information before we read. This includes phonics study of words that they will encounter, a highlighting of "common words", many of which do not follow regular phonics patters, and of course new vocabulary and contextual information about the story.

                              Having this information at my fingertips is invaluable. Of course, I could analyze any book and create word study lists and vocabulary, but its great having that work done for me.

                              I will say however, in the classroom setting, I tend to do the wide majority comprehension questions and vocabulary in the form of teacher-guided oral discussion, rather than in the student books. Just because there is a space for student writing does not mean I will use it. We do A LOT of oral discussion as that is how students are able to process their thinking and practice complex syntax and semantics that they may not be able to generate yet in writing.

                              The language skills needed to express oneself orally tend to be more advanced that those required to read or express oneself in writing. So I try not to underestimate the value of discussion--particularly teacher-guided discussion where proper language use is modeled to the student and the Socratic method is used.

                              I will have students do some dictation/copywork and grammar exercises in their notebooks, but we are mostly working these on the board together. I'll also add that my language arts program has a strong writing component, so I am not relying on our literature studies to teach writing.

                              So long story, that is why I enjoy the literature guides...because they truly do guide my students into being able to read much more complicated text than they would be able to without guidance. As they become more fluent readers, the guides will also, as many others here have said, allow them to dive deeply into diverse works, and appreciate the literary elements, nuanced plots, vocabulary, etc.

                              All that said, I do encourage my students to read freely at their "just right' reading level...the level that they can read, comprehend and enjoy without assistance. Free reading does not require a formal study. However, formal study does lead to more free reading as fluency improves!

                              Shawna

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