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The case for Literature Guides?

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  • jejegreer
    replied
    Re: The case for Literature Guides?

    I know that this is a somewhat old thread. However, I am trying to go through the threads for middle school ages since my oldest daughter will be doing mostly full-time MP next year and I am trying to figure out what subjects to teach.

    I have always had issues with the younger literature guides. They do not ask enough for a child who reads very well and can do basic reasoning at a young age. Stella did a Tapestry of Grace Dialectic literature co-op in 5th grade, and was the 2nd best student in the class (the top one was in 8th grade). She read the books once, but she followed the questions that TOG had and digested and understood them. While her written answers were not written with the degree of precision of an 8th grader, her oral statements during class, and her spur of the moment thought process when pressed on a question, were spot on. I do not think that she needed to read the books twice. I do understand that for older level books (maybe 7th/8th grade and beyond), the questions may require a re-reading for some students. I never did that for literature, and I did really well in school, college, and law school. I guess I am still not convinced.

    Oh, I do think that the re-readings and younger literature guides, particularly with Cheryl Swope's tilt on them for special needs, will be a huge benefit to Clara. Clara has some diagnosed learning disabilities.

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  • Emilylovesbooks
    replied
    Re: The case for Literature Guides?

    Jen and Heidi,

    Yes, I may consider having him listen to or read more of the selections before studying them for school. This has happened naturally with some books already, but I don't know why I thought I "should" be saving them for school. Thank you!

    Emily

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  • VAmom
    replied
    Re: The case for Literature Guides?

    We also read or listen to most the books before we get to them as school books. My eldest has been eagerly anticipating the Beatrix Potter books that are at the end of 2nd grade.

    Jen, I like SWB’s descriptions of the different levels of reading. It made me think of how often we can reread Scripture and continually glean new applications and perspectives.

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  • Jen (formerly) in Japan
    replied
    Re: The case for Literature Guides?

    Emily, not sure if this matters or not: I have my son read most of the literature selections *before* the Lit guide work. That allows the first time through to be "delight filled", snuggling under the covers at bedtime, and then when the book reappears for school, there is a sense of happiness ("Yay! I liked that book!"). Thus far, this strategy has worked well for us.

    One exception I made was for Heidi. I worried that it was a Girl Book and that my son would balk, so I didn't have him read it first. He is taking the final test today. He loved it (of course). The story is timeless... and Peter was a great hit around here, since he added the Boy Element to the story.




    Jen

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  • Emilylovesbooks
    replied
    Re: The case for Literature Guides?

    Heidi, Mary, Jen—
    You are convincing me to keep on with the guides. I do have my son write out a complete sentence answer for each section. We do not reread the sections, though. I understand the value of rereads, but they seem better when more time is taken between reading the entire book. (Picture books are not a problem, since they are so short!) I think some of my feelings on this may not apply when studying at an older age. MP has chosen great literature, and I just really don’t want my kids’ memories of Little House in the Big Woods, for example, to be tarnished by the school part of it and then they have no interest in rereading on their own in a couple of years.....That sounds dramatic, but I don’t know how to put it better!
    Jen’s ending comment about it depending on the child could be part of this, too. My second grader remembers the details quite well so far, but it will very likely be a different experience with my next child.
    Thanks for the input!

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  • Jen (formerly) in Japan
    replied
    Re: The case for Literature Guides?

    Heidi,

    Your comparison is a good one. I was trying to think of a way to make clear that the point of MP's Literature *is* to use selected works to dig deep beyond the simple plot line. MOST young students will be reading the book through the first time to understand the plot only. Susan Wise Bauer of the Well Trained Mind calls the first read of any book, the grammar stage reading. She makes the case that every reader, 3-99yrs, reads the book through the first time to understand the plot. The second reading is the "slow down" (logic stage) where the reader begins to ask the important questions. The third time through is the rhetoric level, where the reader mentally interacts with the author.

    One piece that might be getting lost in this discussion is that MP's Lit guides ramp up in expectation. The lowest levels (K-2) might seem much like any other competitor's "comprehension guides", which only ask questions to see if the student was paying attention. In my 15 years of homeschooling, I have seen many types of comprehension guides, but one thing they all have in common is that they ask questions that check to see if the student caught the plot details. MP's guides are different, but you might not know this or see this unless you stick with them into 3rd grade or higher. The type of questions in MP guides begin to move from plot-based to composition based. In order to even answer some of the questions, the student must have at least the logic level of reading and understanding to do so, paired with the fact that the student is using "pre composition skills" to write out a complete, well written sentence for each of those answers. In Heidi, 5th grade Lit, my son is asked a high level thinking question at least every other chapter. I have been able to see that he *needs* help to think past the plot details because for years, that is all that has been asked of him. The MP guides, sequenced through the grades, take the student from "mere" plot and comprehension questions to higher level thinking. Not every student will need to read a chapter 3 times to get it, though. That is where the homeschooling teacher can make her own adjustments for the student.


    Jen

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  • VAmom
    replied
    Re: The case for Literature Guides?

    Originally posted by Emilylovesbooks View Post
    I feel the same way as the OP, no matter how many threads I’ve read or participated in about the guides! I just sense that having to go through it formally does take away some of the joy of reading, especially for little ones. I realize this isn’t how everyone experiences it! And the reading it three times sounds so unappealing. I’m just not convinced that the academic value gained in three readings or even two is worth leaving them not enjoying the reading experience as much. Maybe I’ll change my mind!
    In 5th or 6th grade, I had heard or read some references to To Kill a Mockingbird. Being a young literature lover, I naturally rode my bike to the library, used the card catalog to locate a copy and checked out the book. (Oh to be a child of the 80’s 😊.) I read the book, thought it was a good story but wondered why it was mentioned as a must read or among great American novels.

    Four years later or so , I reread To Kill a Mockingbird when I had a marvelous high school English teacher assign it to us. I completed study guides, wrote essays, compared, contrasted and took tests on the book. To this day, it remains one of my favorite books. I’ve reread it again (maybe a couple of times?!?) but without a teacher slowing me down and showing me how to examine the literary and cultural nuances of a book, the deeper and more complex parts of the book would have been lost on me.

    I am passionate about literature and children and have had the same concerns you are expressing. Yet when I have tried to speed things up or cut things out, something is lost. Now to be clear, we don’t check every box or answer every comprehension question but we do slowly and intentionally examine a good piece of literature. It has not killed the joy of reading, but enhanced it. The books we’ve studied in school have become a part of our family culture. They are books that we’ve read, reread, discussed and interacted with. They are the books the kids reference in imaginary play or as explanations to other things.

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  • Mary
    replied
    Re: The case for Literature Guides?

    Originally posted by Emilylovesbooks View Post
    I feel the same way as the OP, no matter how many threads I’ve read or participated in about the guides! I just sense that having to go through it formally does take away some of the joy of reading, especially for little ones. I realize this isn’t how everyone experiences it! And the reading it three times sounds so unappealing. I’m just not convinced that the academic value gained in three readings or even two is worth leaving them not enjoying the reading experience as much. Maybe I’ll change my mind!
    One thing I've grown to adore about MP is the fact that everything is balanced. It's *just enough*. I like that we are only dissecting a select number of books each year. I think it's very good that we use other books as read-alouds and still countless others (on Martin's famous book list) are left for pleasure reading. That balance between read-aloud, literature and pleasure reading selections does bear fruit in the form of well-rounded readers when children are a bit older. In order for a child to become proficient in anything, he must practice. Try thinking of literature as similar to a mastery-based subject, just like math. We don't worry that hammering in the multiplication tables will prevent our children from someday loving algebra; quite the contrary. The child who knows his basic facts and can recite them quickly is the child who will someday do well in higher level math classes (or, at least, not make elementary mistakes). Likewise, the child who has a good command of language, who has developed fluency in reading aloud and the ability to read silently without merely skimming is the child who will do well with reading-related tasks throughout his education. It is easier to teach discipline early on (literature guides + repetition). Pleasurable pursuits (read-alouds, free-reading) will follow.

    Now that my older kids are, well, older *weary laugh*, I am so very glad I stayed the course with regard to formal literature lessons - and that I didn't add more (I fall on the other side of that fence). When a child engages in the systematic study of a few well-chosen books, s/he learns the usual things we want him/her to learn: fluency, good sentence structure, comprehension and so on. But as time goes on, that child will automatically begin to apply the same things he's learned in formal study to his pleasure reading. It's much the same as training a muscle - training a child by introducing the formal study of literature is unconsciously training his tastes, allowing him to recognize a well- written story (well-developed theme/plot/characters/so on) and ask himself thoughtful questions as he reads through a book purely for fun. He'll be able to succinctly articulate why he likes or dislikes a particular book or writing style instead of just repeating the oft-used and incredibly nebulous, "It's boring" or "It's stupid"...or worse, engage in a half an hour rambling critique based on faulty logic and sound bytes that leaves the instructor scratching his head. *laughs, cringes*
    Last edited by Mary; 03-27-2018, 01:17 PM. Reason: Cleaned up some messy sentences!

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  • Michelle T
    replied
    Re: The case for Literature Guides?

    I will mention that our teachers spread out the readings. For instance if the weekly assignment is pages 21-30, they may read half the pages one day, half the next, then all of them for the second (and third) time. The final reading can be silent if the student is fluent.

    Blessings,
    Michelle T

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  • Emilylovesbooks
    replied
    Re: The case for Literature Guides?

    I feel the same way as the OP, no matter how many threads I’ve read or participated in about the guides! I just sense that having to go through it formally does take away some of the joy of reading, especially for little ones. I realize this isn’t how everyone experiences it! And the reading it three times sounds so unappealing. I’m just not convinced that the academic value gained in three readings or even two is worth leaving them not enjoying the reading experience as much. Maybe I’ll change my mind!

    Leave a comment:


  • Michelle T
    replied
    Re: The case for Literature Guides?

    We really do suggest you read the selections 3 times though not in the same day. And I will say that the amount of oral reading done by the child should progress from K to 2, but you have only one reader, whereas our classrooms have many. This fact should also figure into how much of the selections are read by the student. You have them read a page then you read a page or you could switch after every paragraph, whatever works for you. But as a home schooler, mom will be doing some of the oral reading. If you have a struggling reader, on the days in which the second or third reading occurs, allow your student decoding of the pages you read aloud during the first reading. If your student does well, in the subsequent readings have them really focus upon expression. At Highlands, two of these oral readings are done in class and the final reading is done at home over the weekend or on the Monday study day.

    The first reading is for decoding.
    The second reading is to improve speed/fluency.
    The third reading is to develop expression.

    As students get older, 3rd grade and up, the number of readings is reduced to twice with the second reading being silent.

    Blessings,
    Michelle T

    Leave a comment:


  • tanya
    replied
    Re: The case for Literature Guides?

    Thanks for stepping in here, Christine. Michelle is currently visiting a school, so she is away from computers. She is sitting in classrooms. I'm sure she will be back online when she can, but I wanted you all to know that she isn't ignoring you. And Christine has stepped in nicely.

    Thanks,

    Tanya

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  • howiecram
    replied
    Re: The case for Literature Guides?

    Originally posted by Meadowlark View Post
    I'm a little confused about this too. So, for 2nd grade, you're saying they need to read the selection 3 times, even if it's a chapter? That seems like a bit of overkill? Wouldn't that take forever?
    The three readings are spread out. They are not reading them 3x in one day! After all the pre-reading activities, etc it should be easier. If the level of reading seems too high for the 2nd grader, you may consider Storytime treasures for both the 1st and 2nd grader. The first grader needs to be able to read cvc words, blends and silent 3e (basically completed AAR2). The first grade now begins the first few weeks going through long vowels with First Start Reading book e. Then Storytime treasures begins. Additionally, Core skills phonics is scheduled. Lots of phonics works, plus the traditional spelling. It sounds like a lot, but all is scheduled and works together like the AAR teacher’s manual, letter tiles, word cards, readers and student activities book.

    If the 1st grader has not made it past AAR 1, I would consider a quick go with FSR books A-C, and then follow the whole plan for FSR D, before moving onto 1st grade phonics/Spelling, etc.

    I will try in the morning to give you a side by side comparison of the AAR levels with MP phonics K-2! That might help you place them all.
    Last edited by howiecram; 03-25-2018, 09:59 PM.

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  • Meadowlark
    replied
    Re: The case for Literature Guides?

    I'm a little confused about this too. So, for 2nd grade, you're saying they need to read the selection 3 times, even if it's a chapter? That seems like a bit of overkill? Wouldn't that take forever?

    Leave a comment:


  • ljallen44
    replied
    Re: The case for Literature Guides?

    Be sure to read the selection 3 times. Once for decoding, once for speed/ fluency and the final time for expression.

    Blessings,
    Michelle T[/QUOTE]

    Michelle,
    Can I ask for clarification on this, as it's not something I was aware of. We are nearing the end of STT with my first grader who is behind in reading a bit. Are they to read the daily assigned pages 3 times that day, or just read the story 3 times whenever? We've been reading the assignment, then again later in the week on the day to re-read, then it goes into her basket as a choice for nighttime practice. So, she is getting 3 readings in, but spread out some. Should we be getting 3 readings in before moving to the next assigned pages?

    Thanks,
    Laura

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