Small People

Small People

Friday, August 9, 2019

Memoria Press - Ninth Grade Literature Set Review

It's hard to believe but I now have another child in high school. Caelin is in ninth grade this year, which means a new level of school work and expectations. Since all of my children learn differently, I knew that what I used with the twins for literature was not going to work with Caelin. I was intrigued by the Ninth Grade Literature Set from Memoria Press, so I jumped at the opportunity to review it. The fact that these cover classical literature was very appealing. Caelin and I started with the Beowulf the Warrior Memoria Press Literature Guide, and we will work through the rest of the literature guides during this year.

For this review, we received 8 soft cover books:
  • Beowulf the Warrior literature guide - teacher guide and student book
  • Henry V literature guide - teacher guide and student book
  • The Canterbury Tales literature guide - teacher guide and student book
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight literature guide - teacher guide and student book
Each of the literature guides is set up to correspond with the specific novel. The novels themselves are not included, so we had to purchase them. As a house of book lovers, that is not a problem at all; who wouldn't want to add good literature to their book shelves. For Beowulf the Warrior, it is designed to be used with the version of Beowulf retold by Ian Serraillier. 

Each guide contains several units, breaking down the novel into smaller pieces. The Canterbury Tales guide covers "The General Prologue" and three individual tales - "The Pardoner's Tale", "The Nun's Priest's Tale", and "The Franklin's Tale." Each guide can easily cover a nine week period, so all four guides together create a strong literature basis for a full year's English credit. Grammar, vocabulary, and writing are also included in the study of each book; I love that all of the components of English are studied together, rather than having separate curricula for each and having a very disjointed feeling to English.

The basis for these studies is to discover what they call the Central One Idea through the use of the trivium - grammar, logic, and rhetoric. The Central One Idea is basically the heart of the book or the thesis that a student will address in an essay. Each unit in the guide follows the same format. They use four stages to help the student get to the Central One Idea.
  • Stage One is Pre-Grammar or Preparation. In this section, there are prompts to get the student thinking about topics or ideas in what they are about to read. For example, at the beginning of the first part of Beowulf, there are prompts to discuss or write about monsters/villains and about an epic hero. Both of these topics are key to the theme of the novel.
  • Stage Two is Grammar or Presentation. This section is the longest and includes reading notes, words to be defined, reading the assigned section of the book, and comprehension questions. The reading notes cover characters and main places in the setting as well as vocabulary words with definitions. In the section for words to be defined, students are given a definition bank and several sentences from the book with bold print words, and they have to match the bold print word with the correct definition. Because this is assigned before the reading, this has been greatly beneficial in helping Caelin better understand what she is reading.
  • Stage Three is Logic or Dialectic. In this section, there are several Socratic discussion questions designed to help determine the Central One Idea. For this part, Caelin and I sit down and discuss the answers to the questions together. 
  • Stage Four is Rhetoric or Expression. This final section has the student writing the Central One Idea in her own words and adding support for that idea to prepare for writing an essay. Learning to write a thesis statement can be challenging, but by guiding Caelin through determining the Central One Idea and using that as her thesis, this has become much easier.
One of the things I really like about how the Memoria Press Literature Guides address reading and understanding literature is the instruction they give in marking a book. This has also greatly increased her ability to comprehend what she is reading. Rather than underlining like is suggested, she has chosen to highlight the important passages because that helps her visualize that passage better.

You can learn more about Memoria Press on social media:

Are you interested in what other reviewers have to say about Memoria Press and other grade level literature guide sets? Check out more reviews from the Homeschool Review Crew.

First to Tenth Grade Literature Guides {Memoria Press Reviews}

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