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Reading Roadmaps

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  • Item #: 005267
    ISBN: 9780988898905
    Retail: $39.00
    Rainbow Price: $35.95

    This book should be on every homeschooler's desk (and I don't mean the bookshelf!). Rarely will you hear me be quite so emphatic, but this book is a treasure! Designed to be a companion to Teaching the Classics, a Socratic approach to teaching literature, and undoubtedly an amazing resource for those using that approach, it is also an incredible reference for anyone who wants flexibility in terms of teaching literature coupled with "just enough" structure.

    The authors identified 200 books for grades K-12 and then (in a wonderful spreadsheet format) annotated them with tons of information plot, conflict, theme, aids & devices, and alternate titles (other books that could be used). In short, it lists everything you need at your fingertips to supervise a comprehensive literary analysis of the book. As if that weren't enough, they further reworked that annotated information into six different curriculum models daily, weekly, monthly, six-week, quarterly, and seasonal. These different models mean that you can teach literature in whatever way you want. Want to focus on literature everyday? Want to conduct a short-term co-op course? Want to hit literature "hard" for a little while and then be done? This resource will help you plan and implement any of these scenarios.

    The usefulness doesn't end there, however. There are separate chapters on writing from literature, learning objectives by grade level, grading and assigning credits, and major historical periods in western literature. The writing from literature section gives a brief overview of writing assignments (what sort and how long) for the elementary, junior high, and senior high levels. On the other hand, the analytical essay is dissected very thoroughly and a helpful "tootsie-roll" diagram helps the student to see how the parts of the essay work together. Just as helpful is the model essay that illustrates the effective use of this diagram. The graded learning objectives for literature are quite specific and can be used as a scope and sequence or for developing lesson plans. I used high school literature texts as references when I wanted information about the history of literature, but to have that same information at my fingertips would have been a beautiful thing. 234 pgs. pb ~ Janice

  • Item #: 047604
    ISBN: 9781934338391
    Retail: $27.95
    Rainbow Price: $19.95

    If you have a middle school (or older) student who is a striving (a.k.a. struggling) reader, you are aware of two things. First, you are desperate to help them. Striving readers often derail in decoding ability because they guess at multi-syllabic words based only on beginning phonemes. In essence, they are reading only a small percentage of the words – usually sight words – and their comprehension is affected. After that it's a downward spiral as self-image is impacted. Second, there aren't a lot of affordable, effective resources available. Organized around the six basic English syllable patterns and providing instructional sequences, games, and activities that appeal to older students and make it easy on the teacher (a.k.a. Mom and Dad), this manual provides a solution to both dilemmas. (I think it would also work well as a follow-up to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.)

    The six syllable patterns – CVC, CV, Cle, R-control, CVCC, CVVC – are taught in order. Each pattern is covered in a chapter full of lessons spread over 1-3 weeks. To round out the decoding instruction, concluding chapters cover the hard and soft "c" and "g" sounds as well as the sounds of /sh/ (because they are confusing); there are 15 weeks of instruction overall. Lessons are detailed – but not quite scripted – and start with a Do Now segment which serves as an informal diagnostic tool. Mini-lessons are presented, usually over one to two days, followed by guided practice. All teaching segments are kept short (10-20 minutes) which works best for the student but is also an advantage for busy moms. Since the ever-present goal is automaticity (students being able to decode automatically), the teacher can judge how much practice is needed and choose to add, repeat, or skip various components. Guided practice includes graphic organizers, worksheets, and games. Each chapter ends with a post-test using nonsense or "pseudo" words, a technique which avoids a dependence on sight-reading.

    If this sounds confusing, you won't be confused by the detailed scope and sequence that provides a roadmap through the chapters and the teaching sequences. At a glance you can see the suggested time frame for each chapter, time to allow for each lesson, and the materials needed. The accompanying CD-ROM saves in prep time. It provides PDF versions of the book's reproducibles, assessments, and full-color game materials. Many of the game materials are cards, so I would suggest printing them out on cardstock. It's recommended that you use an individual-sized whiteboard and dry erase markers for student responses. Since this resource was developed with a classroom in mind, there are references to pair-work and some group activities. I don't think it will be too tricky to adapt these to the homeschool setting and can see value in bringing siblings into the mix for some of the games. Answers, where needed, are provided right with the exercises. 183 pgs, pb ~ Janice