Sunday, March 18, 2012

Progeny Press Literature Guides - a review

Paul is a wonderful reader. He has read 24 books so far this year for "school" and many more just for fun. It has gotten to the point that I can't possibly pre-read everything he reads. So, it's difficult for me to always be ready with vocabulary development and comprehension questions for him, much less deeper discussion questions. I have him do narrations about what he is reading and try to ask thought provoking questions, but as he gets older and is reading even more, and the other two begin reading more in depth books I am never going to be able to keep up. So, what a wonderful think Progeny Press has with over 100 literature guides for students.

Progeny Press offers literature guides for all ages! We were blessed to review the guide for "The Cay". This book and the accompanying guide is geared for middle schoolers. Paul is not yet a middle schooler but his reading and comprehension skills are strong enough that he was fine with it. It could also easily be adjusted for younger students if someone read the book to them.

The suggested way to use the guides is to have the student read the book and then take a couple of weeks going through the guide. I felt it would work better for Paul if we read each section and then did the accompanying assignments for that chapter(s). There is vocabulary to work on, basic reading comprehension questions as well as deeper more thought-provoking questions that help the student relate to the characters and learn from their experiences. There are also wonderful scripture references that help to give the student a biblical perspective on great literature, and help them use literature to make changes in their own life.

I have looked at many different literature guides and used quite a few. Progeny Press is the first one I have found that effectively brings Biblical truths out of regular literature. Paul truly learned a great deal and it really helped him to better understand the book. I am currently looking over next years reading list to see which guides I will need to purchase for next year. Even though the curriculum we use offers comprehension questions for many of the books he will read I like the idea of more detailed questions, as well as the thought-provoking questions that help him think about how it relates to Biblical truth and his own life.

A great feature that I might use in the future is that the pdf versions of the guides are interactive. This means the student can type his/her answers directly into the pdf and then save it. I contemplated allowing Paul to do it that way but decided I wanted to see how he liked it as just a regular assignment instead of having his opinion influenced by the thrill of extra computer time! (In reality it was God intervening since our computer crashed shortly after I printed and started using the guide, so if I had not printed it it would have been totally gone...but that's a different story for a different time. Let's just say, back-up all your data! Hard-drive crashes are no fun!)
I won't lie and say Paul loved every minute of working on the guide and he especially didn't like the vocabulary (it is a good bit of vocabulary). However, I will be ordering more, because they helped him to understand what he was reading and it gave him so much perspective on the lives of the characters in the book as well as his own life! There are sometimes (actually many times) that Mom just knows best and this is one of those times when Mom knows he needs this. It is going to be a part of our "stepping it up a notch" for him next year.

The guides are available in print format($18.99), as a pdf for download ($16.99) or you can get the pdf version on CD ($16.99).

Go take a look at what TOS Crew Members had to say about these amazing guides on the TOS Crew Blog.

Disclosure: I received a free pdf copy of this literature guide for review purposes. There was no other compensation given for this review. All opinion are my own, honest opinions.

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