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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Schoolhouse Crew Review: Progeny Press

Progeny Press Review
Progeny Press carries a wide variety of literature study guides for lower elementary all the way through high school.  As part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, we recently had an opportunity to review study guides for The Giver and The Door in the Wall
Progeny Press Study Guides help students better understand and enjoy literature and show them how to think through the themes and ideas introduced in the stories.  In addition to the guide and the book, students will also need: a good dictionary, a thesaurus, a Bible, and at times access to the Internet.  Most middle and high school guides will take from 8-10 weeks to complete with students completing one section per week. 
 Elementary will probably take a little less time.  Progeny Press recommends that the student complete the novel before beginning the study guide and be allowed to refer back to the book while working through the guide.  
Progeny Press Review
The Giver Study Guide is recommended for children in grades 5-8.  The study guide is available to be purchased as an interactive download, CD, or printed workbook.  We received the interactive download to review which can be purchased for $18.99.  Progeny Press sells the book for $8.99 if you choose to purchase it from them, or you can buy it elsewhere, or borrow it from the library.  An answer key is included.
The Giver Study Guide is 60 pages long.  The guide contains brief notes to the instructor, book synopsis, author information, background information, and suggestions for pre reading activities.  The assignments are divided up into sections: Chapters 1 and 2 together, 3,4, and 5, 6, 7, and 8, 9, 10, and 11, 12-16, 17-20, and 21-23.  Some of the activities include: vocabulary questions, comprehension questions, questions about setting, digging deeper, thinking about the story, discussion questions, optional writing assignments, essay questions, and summary questions.
I had my 12 year old sixth grade son read the Giver on his own and work through one section of the study guide per week.  He completed these activities independently. We used the study guide on the iPad in Notability.

Progeny Press Review
The Door in the Wall is recommended for students in grades 3-5.  It also is available as an interactive download, a CD, or printed workbook.  You can purchase the downloadable interactive study guide for $16.99 and the book from Progeny Press for $6.99.  An answer key is included.
There are 37 pages in the study guide.  The guide contains: brief notes to the instructor, synopsis, information about the author/illustrator, background information, and ideas for pre reading activities.  There are no chapter numbers in the book so the sections are split up by using the first few words of each chapter.  For example the first section is titled, " Robin drew the coverlet..." and " May came in..."  Activities include vocabulary questions, comprehension questions, thinking about the story, digging deeper, discussion questions, fact and opinion, similes and metaphors, and conclusion questions.
My 4th grade son used this study guide.  I had him read the book independently and then we went through the study guide together working on one part of each section per day.  He also did his on the iPad.

 I have had an opportunity to review Progeny Press twice in the past, both times being the High School level guides.  We enjoyed both of those studies, so I was excited for my younger boys to have an opportunity to use a study guide, especially after we had finished our writing course for the year and I needed something constructive and worthwhile for them to do to fill in their time.

I think the Progeny Press Study Guides are a great way for children to dig deeper into and learn more about wonderful children's literature.  Progeny Press has a huge selection of guides for a wide variety of age ranges so there is sure to be some choices your child will enjoy.  The questions and activities are age appropriate for the recommended levels.  I think the digging deeper questions are my favorite and the vocabulary sections.  So many times we continue reading even when we are not completely sure of the meaning of a word and I think the vocabulary sections really help give children a good understanding of the words.  I personally like the interactive feature of the guides as it saves ink and paper, but you do have the option to print the pages out and write in them if you wish.  Middle and high schoolers can complete the guides independently, elementary ages may need more help and guidance.

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