We've been fans of all things Memoria Press for quite a few years now so I was excited to receive the Eighth Grade Literature Guide Set to use with the Princess. Memoria Press offers quality literature guides for 1st - 12th grades and their goal in producing them is to teach children to be active readers. One of the things that I love about these literature guides is that you can use them with a range of grades interchangeably. It is easy to pick and choose which literary works you would like to study during a given year. For example, although the Princess is in the ninth grade this year, I chose to revisit a few classics we'd read together several years ago while introducing some new ones to her reading repertoire. The 8th grade guides offered us the perfect opportunity to combine old favorites with new (to her) material. I'm sure these new books will soon become old favorites as well. The MainMost was super excited when the box of goodies arrived and even helped her pick out which book to start with. He highly recommended As You Like It because it was one of HIS favorite literary works and he just knew she'd enjoy it, too. He was correct.
Obviously we couldn't use the entire literature guide set in just our normal review period, but we were able to dive right in and begin immediately because we already had all four of the books downloaded to our Kindles. How convenient is that? The Princess could begin reading right away and we are even set for the remainder of the year. Literature takes you to worlds unknown and helps you travel backwards and forwards in time. I love reading and am glad to see that love developing in my girl.
The Literature Guide Set includes both Teacher and Student Guides for each of four books. The Eighth Grade Set focuses on As You Like It, Treasure Island, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and The Wind in the Willows. My original plan had been to start her with The Wind in the Willows because she is an animal lover and she'd never read it. It's been ages since I've read it so I thought it would be a great start for us and I wanted to re-read alongside her. BUT . . . like I mentioned, her daddy interjected and Shakespeare it was. I like that daddy had input. You know?
Each of the four Student Study Guides are similar in nature varying in length due to the chapters (or acts) in the literature to which they correspond. There are directed questions for each chapter of study in the chapter books; Acts from the play are broken down even smaller -- by scene and epilogue. These workbooks are consumable, so the Princess is creating literary works of art for future reference. The accompanying Teacher Guides contain all of the answers to the questions found in the Student Study Guides AND blank quizzes/exams, final exams, and full answer keys. There is no timeline given for study which I like. I remember teacher's assigning a certain number of chapters per week in school and I always hated it. When I start reading, I like to finish. If I'm in a really exciting part of the book, I want to know what's happening next. That's how we approach literature at Long Leaf Academy. We read and read and read until we find a natural stopping point.
And that's how the Princess has been utilizing this literature set. As she reads, she works in her workbook. The As You Like It guide contains an introduction to Shakespeare which explained his influence on current literature and movies (The Lion King or West Side Story anyone?) and this helped make Shakespeare approachable and not the least bit scary for her. An included Character Log helps her to see the big picture. I love it!
Each Student Study Guide includes Reading Notes, Vocabulary words, Comprehension Questions, Discussion Questions/Activities, and a place to mark the Who?, What?, & When? of Quotations found throughout the reading. In my opinion, this is super-important for understanding the complexity of characters and following the timeline of events. As You Like It even includes Journal Prompts to keep the reader "in the moment" and has my girl comparing characters to Scripture. Perfection.
I'm looking forward to our re-study of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (because we read it aloud a few years ago, I plan to use the Student Study Guide as a review for her.) I think it will be interesting to see how much she remembers and will be a great test of comprehension. It also has a section that teaches students how to mark a book. How cool is that? It's the perfect skill to learn for life. Through both Bible study and college study, knowing how to find what is important and focus on that will help tremendously.
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I was given the opportunity to review the Eighth Grade Literature Guide Set by Memoria Press as a member of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew. You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew thought of this and other products as well (or just click on the banner below.)