Apologia Educational Ministries has recently released a new program for reading and Connor has been working through it. The first level is Readers in Residence Volume 1 (Sleuth), written for students in 4th grade and up. It is a year-long program that assigns three children’s books (Sarah, Plain and Tall, Charlotte’s Web, and Because of Winn-Dixie) and allows the student to pick out three books on their own in the genres of historical fiction, animal fantasy, and fiction and goes through the process of analyzing them. The focus of Readers in Residence is to teach students how to read to learn.
My first impression of the program was surprise at how hefty the student book is. At 562 pages it is a bit bulky to use but the spiral binding allows the pages to lay flat making it easier to write in than most workbooks we’ve used.
It is divided into 6 units, alternating the required books and books the student chooses. An interesting feature of this program is the book club. Before beginning the program, the student is asked to host a book club with friends. We just did this among ourselves. We had iced tea and cookies and talked about our favorite books and tried to convince the others to read our book. The second book club is specifically for Sarah, Plain and Tall and the only requirement is that each guest should read the book before attending the meeting. Two more book clubs follow the units on the other required books, and a fifth book club is a recap of the other books. The student book includes food, discussion questions, and other suggestions to make these book clubs memorable.
Each unit is broken into modules. A Suggested Daily Schedule located at the front of the student workbook makes planning easy. This is a consumable workbook, so the student writes answers in the provided spaces. Grading is simple with the Answer Key and grading rubrics.
To make the book choices easier, the author includes suggested titles. Each unit builds on the one before and covers topics such as literary genres, character development, plot, and setting. These topics are discussed in detail, allowing the student to gain an in-depth understanding of the parts of a book and what makes a good story. Reading comprehension questions are asked about each book.
The workbook is colorful and very well organized, allowing the student to progress on his own with little preparation by the parent or teacher. Charts are sprinkled throughout. Also included in each module is a section called Sowing Seeds. Because this curriculum is from a Christian publisher, these sections provide discussion between the parent/teacher and the child concerning biblical principles related to the book being studied. These sections are gems and I can see these being used as discussion starters during family dinner.
The back of the student book includes a dictionary and glossary. The appendix includes templates and reviewer rubrics as well as a Sleuth’s Log. This is where the student records the points earned for his work using the grading rubrics. The student can receive an award of distinction when he earns 85% of the possible points.
If you’re interested in finding out more about Readers in Residence, you can download the first three modules of unit one or check out their frequently asked questions. As always with The Old Schoolhouse reviews, you can click the button below to see what other homeschooling moms think about it.