My daughter has been using a brand new homeschool reading curriculum from Apologia Educational Ministries called Readers in Residence Volume 1 (Sleuth). Now you know how we like Apologia curriculum and, this curriculum paired with the Writers in Residence course we recently reviewed makes a complete Language Arts Program. Voila!
WHAT IS THE READERS IN RESIDENCE SERIES?
It is a reading comprehension, literature, and vocabulary program that can be used alone or with a Writing program such as the Writers in Residence series to work on these critical skills. Designed for approximately 4th grade and up, the Readers in Residence program is divided into 6 units covering a different, classic piece of literature in each unit. Three genres are covered in the program including:
- historical fiction (book read – Sarah, Plain and Tall)
- animal fantasy (book read – Charlotte’s Web)
- contemporary realistic fiction (book read – Because of Winn-Dixie)
How does the program work?
After the student studies the book in the genre there is a section for the student to do an “On Your Own” (OYO) section to continue learning what was learn in the last unit by selection a book within the same genre and working through it as the previous book. There are several choices for the student to consider if they don’t have an idea of their own for a book fitting the genre being studied. For instance, Unit 1 studies Sarah, Plain and Tall, which is historical fiction. Unit 2 in OYO and provides examples for the student to study like The Bronze Bow, The Sword in the Tree, and The Door in the Wall to name a few. However, it is important to note the student can choose ANY book as long as it is historical fiction for Unit 2.
Units 1, 3, and 5 walk the student through the 3 pieces of classic literature. Units 2 and 4 are OYO units based on the genre previously studied. Unit 6 is the last unit and is an OYO for any genre the student wishes.
The books are NOT included in the package so you will need to purchase them or get them from the library to complete the program. This wasn’t a problem with these books because they are classics and readily available at the library. We already owned 2 of the 3 of them so that wasn’t an issue either. And we had several of the suggested books on hand as well for the OYO units.
The book has a suggested daily schedule for a 4-day week, which is how we typically do school at home anyway, so that was nice. Though you wouldn’t have to follow the schedule to a “T,” it is doable. Below is a sample of the schedule for weeks 8 and 9:
- Day 1 – Read Module 4, 4.14 and do activities and exercises
- Day 2 – Read Module 4, 4.15 and do associated activities and exercises
- Day 3 – Module 4, 4.16 – Unit Project
- Day 4 – Module 4, 4.16 – Unit Project
- Day 1 – Module 4, 4.16 – Unit Project and Rubric
- Day 2 – Module 4 – Checklist 4
- Day 3 – Intro to Unit 2 – Read Unit 2 Introduction – pick your book
- Day 4 – Module 5 – 5.1-5.4
Classic literature studies spend approximately 7-8 weeks on the book. OYO units spend 3 weeks on the book.
A Book Club follows each assignment. Suggestions on how to start and/or run a book club are included in the worktext. There is a checklist provided for each unit that allows the student to track his or her progress. Points are earned from module checklists, rubrics, and book clubs by the parent/teacher and then points are recorded on the Sleuth Log in the Appendix.
PIC OF CHECKLIST
Each Unit contains modules and modules cover such activities and skills building as reading comprehension, character development, vocabulary building, basic grammar, understanding the climax, plots and genres. Basic parts of the books are introduced like authors, chapters, etc. The book club at the end of each of the 3 main units is used to allows for discussion and sharing of what the student has learned.
WHAT WE THOUGHT
On first impression this Student Worktext is MASSIVE! It can be intimidating but it is complete. Everything you need except for the actual literature book is included in te Student Text and Workbook. And it is 32 lessons to be used over the course of a year. And since it is spiral bound, it is easy to use.
The activities are interesting. The schedule is doable. And the books were age appropriate. There really is a LOT packed into their program.
My daughter’s favorite activities were the creative ones like “Develop your own Main Character” (Character Development) in Unit 1 and learning about and creating onomatopoeia’s in Unit 3. She really enjoyed that one!
I really liked the vocabulary. There were vocabulary exercises throughout each unit. Called “Word Sleuth,” these challenge the student to “guess” the meaning of the word used in a sentence before looking it up, challenging them to learn to figure out a meaning by sleuthing through the context of the work used in the sentence. All vocabulary is taken directly from the literature used.
For instance, a Word Sleuth exercise looks like this:
“Does he really?” said Mrs. Arable, rather vaguely. (page 53)
My guess: __________________________
Dictionary definition: __________________
The text is colorful and interesting and easy to read. Overall, I was impressed with the quality of the program and see this being very complete and a good guide for learning all there is to know about a piece of literature as well as how to analyze and comprehend the text.
We really enjoyed Readers in Residence and think it is a great compliment to the Writers in Residence program. I would highly recommend this program for any student. It’s easy to work through independently as well as teach in a setting with multiple students. I found the program very thorough and fun for the students!
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