Saturday, March 17, 2012

Progeny Press: Across Five Aprils

Progeny Press produces literature study guides for all ages.  These guides are written from a Christian perspective, and they currently have over 100 guides available.  They are available as printed booklets, pdf documents on CD, or as a pdf document emailed directly to you.  I was emailed the pdf file for the guide for the book Across Five Aprils.

The pdf files for these guides are interactive, so the student can type their answers directly in the pdf.  Alternatively, the files can be printed if you prefer your student to write the answers.  There is a separate answer key included as well.  The guide begins with author information and then provides historical background information for the novel.  Following this information are pre-reading activities.  Progeny Press recommends the student reads the entire book before going back to study with the guide, and suggests that the student complete one or more of the pre-reading activities during this initial reading of the book.  Most guides will take 8 to 10 weeks to complete.

After the student reads the book completely, then the student begins the study guide. The Progeny Press guides are not easy, fill-in-the-blank-without-thinking guides.  The students are asked to go above and beyond simply understanding the story, and are required to really think about the story.  There are questions about the plot, but instead of simply making sure the student read the book, the questions require to think about the book and why things happened.  Students are asked to define words by using context as well as using a dictionary.  Literary terms, such as similie and  idiom are explained, and the student is asked to find examples in excerpts taken from the book.  The student is asked to look up Bible verses and explain how they relate to the book.  Because Across Five Aprils is an historical novel about the Civil War, the student is asked to look up various battles and mark them on a map, in addition to other "Connections with History" questions.  There are also optional writing assignments in the guides.  

The guide ends with an Overview.  In this section, plot, rising action, climax, conflict, and motif are explained and the student is asked to write about each of these elements in Across Five Aprils.  Once again, these questions require more than a simple regurgitation of events in the book.

I'm not a huge fan of literature study guides in general.  We read a lot of books in our homeschool and we typically just discuss them.  However, I'm impressed with the Progeny Press study guides and I am considering ordering one or two for Jacob to complete next year.  Since I now have five in school, I don't always have time to read every book that my boys read, let alone discuss every book.  The questions in the Progeny Press guide are very thorough, and I really think they can fill this gap in our homeschool.

The price for the Across Five Aprils study guide is $18.99 for the booklet, $16.99 for a CD, or $23.99 for a book/CD package.  Shipping is additional for these items, but you can have the pdf emailed to you for $16.99 to save on shipping.  If you're looking for study guides for literature, definitely take a look at the guides from Progeny Press.

For additional reviews of Progeny Press Study Guides, go here.


Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are mine. 

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