Monday, June 18, 2012

Reading Street 3rd Grade - a review

Although school is officially out for the summer we try to keep going with Reading and basic Math skills. I don't want the kids to lose everything they learned and I don't want their brains to go into hibernation so they have to be woke back up when we officially start school back! They don't typically mind the little bit of "school" they do each morning and it gives us some sort of routine to our day.

This year, for Zach, I was given the opportunity to review a new Reading Program, so that's what we started using for "summer learning". Pearson Education has been known for many years in the public school system and they are now trying to venture in to the world of homeschoolers, and trying to make their products work for homeschooling families. We were given their 3rd Grade Reading program to review, called "Reading Street". Zach is only 6 and going into the 2nd grade but he is a very strong reader so I thought he could handle this.

When I first heard about the program I assumed it was just a reading program, boy, was I wrong. It is so much more than that. It encompasses every aspect of reading and language arts.

We were given the two "reading books" that are very similar to the reading books I remember having in public school as a child. They are the typical gorgeous hard-back book with brightly colored pages and full of lots of fun stories for the students to read as they progress through the books. The books are broken down into Units with 6 weeks of reading comprising each unit. There are a total of 6 units, thus 36 weeks of instruction are included. Each unit has a different theme and all the stories and poems go with that theme. The six themes of the year are:

Living and Learning
Smart Solutions
People and Nature
One of a Kind

Each week there are different language arts and writing skills to work on. The student is introduced to different writing styles and genres. There are also specific comprehension skills worked on as well as vocabulary and spelling skills to be taught. There is really just a ton of information.

We were also given a "Guide on the Side" which is definitely designed with the public school teacher in mind. Here you will find a scope and sequence as well as tips on how to schedule all the components of language arts into the school day. The sections include:

Oral Language
Word Work
Genre/Text Structure
Concept Development
Media Literacy

The last section is "Teacher Resources" where you will find more information on what each story in the reader teaches, spelling lists for each unit, vocabulary for each week, and a glossary. The "Guide on the Side" was a bit overwhelming and I have taught in the public schools and seen this type of guide before. I cannot imagin how confusing it would be to someone who has never seen this type of information presented this way in the past. Although it is jammed full of information, like I said, it is definitely written for a classroom teacher who has to keep up with state standards, and juggle a classroom full of kids at varying abilities.

Also included in our package were two DVD-ROMs. A Teacher's Resource DVD-ROM and an ExamView DVD-ROM. The Teachers's Resource DVD-ROM is full of worksheets and other helpful add-ons to the curriculum. Everything is broken down into the unit so it is easy to navigate and find what you need. Now, I am sure in the public schools most all of these worksheets are utilized. To me, it seems like way too much busy-work so we only used them to reinforce a concept Zach didn't quite understand.


So, as you can see there was a ton of information to look through when we first received our package. This is not an "open-and-go" curriculum. It definitely takes a little time to get used to how the information is presented and how to schedule it into the day. There is a sample schedule in the "Guide on the Side" but it is definitely written for classroom instruction. It is suggested to spend 1 1/2 to 2 hours each day on the included activities. If we were to do all the suggested worksheets I can see how you could spend that much time in a classroom. However, that is not how Zach learns. His brain would shut down 30 minutes into the day! So, we tweaked the program and did it our way, and we LOVE it. Zach loves to read so reading the stories was great fun for him. He loved the shiny book and the colorful pages with gorgeous illustrations (although some of the pages are a bit busy and he would get sidetracked easily). Like I mentioned, we used the worksheets only as needed for reinforcement. Instead, we talked about the concepts and did some of the activities orally. Zach does NOT like writing so we did not do the writing aspect of the program except to talk about the concepts. I will most likely schedule some of the writing in when we resume a full schedule in a couple of weeks. I did find some of the reading very simple for Zach, but he is a pretty advanced reader. It was really great read-aloud practice for him and a great confidence booster. There are also lots of different types of reading selections from all types of fiction, to non-fiction, to poetry.

We will continue to use the curriculum into next school year just in our own way. That's the beauty of homeschooling-I can tweak each curriculum to meet the needs of each child. Also, the books are non-consumable so I will be able to use whatever parts of the curriculum I feel Molly (and the new baby) may need in years to come.

You can purchase the entire set for $124.99. They also have other grade levels as well as wonderful programs for Math and Social Studies. The Crew reviewed several different products. Click the banner below to see the reviews!

Disclaimer: I received this product for free in exchange for an honest review. There was no other compensation given for this review. All opinions stated here are my own.

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1 comment:

Pearson Homeschool said...

Thanks for reviewing our Pearson Homeschool product and posting such great things. Feel free to follow us on our new Facebook account.