I believe that there is so much one can learn from reading good literature. I have loved having Soccer Girl and Ballerina use the Seventh Grade Literature Guide Set from Memoria Press to explore great novels like Anne of Green Gables and The Bronze Bow.
For this review, we received separate soft-cover Teacher Guides and Student Study Guides for the following novels (the novels themselves are not included in the set):
- The Bronze Bow
- Anne of Green Gables
- The Trojan War
- The Hobbit
Soccer Girl and Ballerina each chose one of the novels to study. Soccer Girl chose Anne of Green Gables, and Ballerina chose The Bronze Bow. We already own both novels, so as soon as the Teacher Guides and Student Study Guides arrived, we were ready to jump in.The Student Study Guides are consumable workbooks, so if the girls had wanted to study the same book, I would have needed to purchase another study guide so they could each have their own.
The beginning pages of both the Student Study Guides and the Teacher Guides are teaching guidelines. Now that my girls are older, I am trying to make them be more accountable for their schooling so I like that these guidelines are in their book as well.
The study guide follows the same format for each chapter:
- Reading Notes - This section gives background information on the characters, information about the places in the story, definitions for terms that might be time-period or theme specific. For example, in the Study Guide for The Bronze Bow, they explain terms like mezuzah, Shema, and ketzah in the Reading Notes section.
- Vocabulary - In this section, they give several words in the context that they were used in that chapter and ask the student to write the meaning. They also pull out 1 or 2 main vocabulary words and have the student look it up in the dictionary, write out the definition, alternate forms (if it's a noun, write the verb or adjective form), and 2 or 3 synonyms for the word. This has helped my girls get practice using a thesaurus, which will help them with their writing.
- Comprehension Questions - This helps me see if the girls are truly understanding what they are reading. There are some fact-based questions, but there are also some questions that involve more critical thinking skills, like inference, identifying irony and what makes a situation ironic, examining motive, etc.
- Expressions for Discussion - These are quotations from the chapter. I discuss this section with the girls. We discuss who said the quotation, to whom they were speaking, and what the circumstances are when this took place.
- Discussion Questions/Enrichment - Sometimes this section only has questions for the girls and I to discuss. Other times it contains enrichment activities that might include locating places on a map, researching a topic that branches from something they read in that chapter, drawing a picture of something from that chapter, and other activities that involve higher order thinking skills.
With 5 children all reading different novels/books throughout the school year, it is next to impossible for me to read the books alongside them. Thankfully, the Teacher Guides have everything I need to be able to 1) know what my girls are reading, 2) check to see if they are answering the vocabulary and comprehension questions correctly, and 3) be able to have a quality discussion about the novels with them.
Each literature guide has reviews and tests after several chapters. This depends on the book - Anne of Green Gables has a midterm and final review and test, while The Bronze Bow has tests every 7 or 8 chapters.
I really like that I can have my girls work through the novels and study guides at the pace that best suits each of them. One of my girls struggles with reading comprehension, so we might take longer going through the discussion questions and comprehension questions reading through a chapter more than once so that I know she truly comprehends it. The other can go much more quickly through her book, but might spend more time on some of the enrichment activities while she researches something that corresponds with what she read.
I am definitely a fan of these literature guide sets and will have Soccer Girl and Ballerina move on to The Trojan War and The Hobbit after they have completed the novels they are working on now.
Memoria Press doesn't just have Literature Guide Sets; we've also used their Latina Christiana I to get a good start on Latin.
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Are you interested in what others have to say about the Memoria Press Literature Guide Sets? Check out more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew.