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The case for Literature Guides?

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  • Mary
    replied
    Re: The case for Literature Guides?

    Originally posted by Michelle T View Post
    This doesn’t happen very often, so Mary forgive me. I’m going to disagree a little with your last comment about the literature guides. In first and second grades, the students should be reading the books out loud. At least part of the scheduled selections.
    I stand corrected! Thanks for that clarification.

    I'll be sure to do round-robin reading with my youngest when she gets there...and we'll not talk to the older kids about how Mom Messed This Up.

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

    This doesn’t happen very often, so Mary forgive me. I’m going to disagree a little with your last comment about the literature guides. In first and second grades, the students should be reading the books out loud. At least part of the scheduled selections.

    When the phonic pre-work from the Teacher’s Guide (or the Phonics Guide for Reading and Spelling info) is done, students should get practice orally decoding the literature books that go with the lit. Since you have just one child reading the same amount scheduled for a classroom, we do suggest Mom do some of the reading as well. But those early readers need lots of practice reading out loud with the varied words in the lit. In fact

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

    Blessings,
    Michelle T

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  • Mary
    replied
    Re: The case for Literature Guides?

    Originally posted by Meadowlark View Post
    This may be obvious, but how do you read the books for the lit guides? Is the student supposed to read the book with you, on their own, or you read to them or a combo? What if the student's reading ability is not yet up to par with the book?
    The beauty of this is that there are no hard-and-fast rules. My oldest is a 7th grader and quite capable of reading independently. There are some novels, though, that we read together (each taking a page) so that we can discuss in the moment before sending her off to fill out her workbook. Right now, we're reading Anne of Green Gables together because she was missing some of the deeper elements. I felt it helpful for us to read together and discuss before she filled out her workbook questions. As we've gone through, she's now seeing more of the depth of the book -elements she'd missed the few times she'd read this for pleasure in the past couple of years. (I have found this with her - she's often read the books assigned previously and sometimes tries to just "mail it in" with her literature work. *weary laugh*)

    My middle guy, 5th grade, prefers to read every novel with me. We take turns reading (again, each of us taking a page) and he's able to ask questions and I can explain any vocabulary not covered in the lit guide. He is able to read on his own and he does for pleasure reading; however, he just prefers to do literature with Mom and honestly, I love to do it with him. <3

    When they're really little, say 1st and 2nd grade, most mothers read the book aloud. 2nd and 3rd grade are a great time to begin trading off reading - a sentence or paragraph each - mom and child, back and forth. This is great for building confidence, fluency and word mastery. <3

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  • Meadowlark
    replied
    Re: The case for Literature Guides?

    This may be obvious, but how do you read the books for the lit guides? Is the student supposed to read the book with you, on their own, or you read to them or a combo? What if the student's reading ability is not yet up to par with the book?

    Leave a comment:


  • howiecram
    replied
    Re: The case for Literature Guides?

    Originally posted by LauraP View Post
    One last question today! Often she narrated answers to me, and then copied her responses from a dry erase board (where I wrote them) to alleviate the struggle of spelling on her own.
    This is precisely how the literature guides are done in 1st, 2nd, 3rd and even into 4th! The difference is you are teaching her how to go through a book, rather than a mere comprehension check! The writing will help cement grammar, spelling, etc. You get multiple skills worked on at the same time!

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  • LauraP
    replied
    Re: The case for Literature Guides?

    Thank you both for your thoughtful and wise replies! I certainly see the advantages you describe, and was especially interested in the progression the Literature Guide questions will make in the years to come. While these early days of basic comprehension questions may seem simple enough to discard, laying a strong foundation for future literature study is valuable and worth practicing while it seems "easy". With your encouragement, we'll "keep on, keeping on" as we have been answering the questions orally and offering some as a copywork of sorts to facilitate handwriting practice, writing in complete sentences, and articulating thoughts clearly. I really appreciate your constructive feedback, ladies!

    I'm glad that we've only ever known MP, and that their literature selections (even for Literature Guide follow-up) are so wonderfully chosen that reading together is a joy rather than a chore! We are certainly benefiting from their "magic" in our homeschool culture

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  • Mary
    replied
    Re: The case for Literature Guides?

    Jen stole the words from my mouth...except hers are more beautiful than mine. <3 i'm going to reiterate much of what she said.

    These workbooks are an excellent way for parents to model good sentence structure for children and for children to work through what a well-formed sentence looks and sounds like. It is very easy to sit on a couch and discuss orally (which has its place!) but often we resort to sentence fragments and sound bytes without really thinking through a grammatically correct sentence or proper punctuation. Furthermore, they help children to develop the discipline needed to sit still and carefully copy (in the early years) or develop well-crafted, thoughtful answers to the questions presented. Students have the opportunity to practice skills that translate neatly to composition lessons and, vice-versa.
    Developing writing skills, correct pencil grip, penmanship practice, good posture, time-management - all of this is neatly wrapped up in the literature workbook exercises. The icing on the cake is that this discipline gradually fosters independence in completing assignments and encourages those nebulous "critical thinking skills" we all want our children to have but we find nearly impossible to describe. (Martin Cothran wrote a marvelous article on the Thinking Skills Trap not long ago. I'll see if I can find/post a link here.)

    Back to the everyone-cuddled-up-on-the-couch method of literature discussion. This is absolutely brilliant and is not to be ignored or tossed out in lieu of workbooks. Rather, the two work beautifully together. The read-alouds included in each core provide a lovely way for children to merely listen to - and enjoy - great works of literature without the pressure of having to answer formal questions. However, discussion usually occurs organically and children are better able to engage in meaningful discussion and articulate questions they have much more easily than if they haven't studied any literature more formally. How do I know this? *weary laugh* I didn't start my homeschooling journey with MP. The difference in my kids after just one year of using full cores was astounding.

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  • jen1134
    replied
    Re: The case for Literature Guides?

    Originally posted by LauraP View Post
    One last question today! Can you all explain the rationale and benefits of a student completing the written answers in the Literature Guides? I realize that they are designed to show reading comprehension of course, but I wonder if that is necessarily shown by fill in the blank writing. Through K, 1st, and 2nd grade my daughter has been able to answer the questions immediately after reading. Often she narrated answers to me, and then copied her responses from a dry erase board (where I wrote them) to alleviate the struggle of spelling on her own. While I'm happy to continue along this way, I'm wondering if it is boring her after a joyful reading experience. I do recognize the need to write, and to show comprehension, and sometimes just to complete a task that may be undesirable even, but I'm wondering if this is the place we should be doing that. I'm thinking instead of discussing the reading still, but in a more general and relaxed way as Sarah Mackenzie and others might advocate. Can you all share pros/cons of using the Literature Guides, or ways you have modified them perhaps to serve your schooling without becoming a burden?
    Ha ha! I just posted about this on another thread! I'll copy it here:

    ...another concern you had was that MP used workbooks. I wonder if that is part of your doubts about literature for 2nd and 1st grade?

    I was concerned about this as well (and even asked about it on the forum back in 2016!) but here's what convinced me: the student guides introduce your children to a Prepare, Read, Reflect, Write approach to the study of literature. I stress study because they only select a few books for this deeper consideration; books are meant to be enjoyed but some deserve a deeper look. So the guides are just that: they guide the child back through what they've read so they can understand it at a deeper level. It's not a pop-quiz "let's see what you remember" thing at all. At the 1st and 2nd grade level, the guides necessarily have more fact-based questions because this is the age when children are soaking up facts. In subsequent years they are gradually introduced to literary devices, begin to be shown how the ideas in the book relate to other studies, etc. It's a beautiful thing and part of the reason literature is one of the most famous parts of the curriculum.

    Another thing they do in the 1st and 2nd grade levels is use the literature readings to teach basic grammar, sequencing, etc. They also learn how to express their thoughts in writing. At HLS (Memoria's flagship school), the children discuss and refine the answer with their teacher, then the teacher writes it on the board with correct spelling and punctuation for the children to copy. They only do this with a few of the questions. The rest are done orally. Once the child is in 4th grade, the writing of answers has been well-modeled for two years and they are (usually) ready to craft/write complete sentences independently.

    That's one of the things my husband and I love about MP -- everything is done for a purpose. They don't have you study something in 3rd grade just because "that's what everyone does in 3rd grade. Each item is there to prepare the child for what is to follow in later years. The questions in each subject's guides are to encourage appreciation, understanding and deeper thinking while the way it is taught prepares the child for independence and the ability to write/speak well about what they study and their own ideas.

    I was always concerned that my children would lose their love of learning and I yearned for the "cozy on the couch, everyone in wonder" ideal that everyone talked about. I based my curriculum decisions on that for years as we went through CM, Unschooling, Traditional and Montessori trying to reach this beautiful vision.

    Imagine my surprise when we discovered MP, knew it was what we were being called to, and then found that our children were actually enjoying school. Are they head over heels about sitting down to it each day? Of course not -- but they bring it into every aspect of their lives ON THEIR OWN! They decided to use the Glory Be in Latin as a password for their room so their little sister would stop invading their space -- she promptly quoted the majority of it to them! They learned about Hobbit runes in 7th grade lit and my 14 year old was recently "translating" passages of Matthew's Gospel into runes. My husband was reading something that reminded my 7yo about one of her art cards and she excitedly jumped off the couch to show it to him. I went to put their guides into the recycling bin at the end of last year and my 11 year old started pulling the vocabulary lists out of his Latin book, asked if he could keep his Astronomy book for reference and confiscated the Hobbit Student Guide from his older brother.

    My kids love what they're learning and our homeschool is finally beautiful.

    Leave a comment:


  • LauraP
    started a topic The case for Literature Guides?

    The case for Literature Guides?

    One last question today! Can you all explain the rationale and benefits of a student completing the written answers in the Literature Guides? I realize that they are designed to show reading comprehension of course, but I wonder if that is necessarily shown by fill in the blank writing. Through K, 1st, and 2nd grade my daughter has been able to answer the questions immediately after reading. Often she narrated answers to me, and then copied her responses from a dry erase board (where I wrote them) to alleviate the struggle of spelling on her own. While I'm happy to continue along this way, I'm wondering if it is boring her after a joyful reading experience. I do recognize the need to write, and to show comprehension, and sometimes just to complete a task that may be undesirable even, but I'm wondering if this is the place we should be doing that. I'm thinking instead of discussing the reading still, but in a more general and relaxed way as Sarah Mackenzie and others might advocate. Can you all share pros/cons of using the Literature Guides, or ways you have modified them perhaps to serve your schooling without becoming a burden?
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