Friday, October 9, 2015

Progeny Press (A Schoolhouse Crew Review)

Before we started our new school year, I sat down and made of list of books with literary value that I wanted to use as read aloud with Ash and Garrett.  One book we decided on was entitled Stone Fox written by John Reynolds Gardiner, a story about a young boy, his dog and his determination to save his grandfather and their family farm. Because of this selection, when I was offered the opportunity to review the Stone Fox Unit E-Guide, an interactive study guide from Progeny Press, I figured it would be a great opportunity to add to our literacy study of the book.

Progeny Press is a publishing company who offers study guides for literature with a Christian perspective. Offering guides for reading levels from early elementary through high school, Progeny Press's guides are designed to help students to better understand the story they are reading as well as to recognize the themes presented by the author. The units contain study questions as well as recommended map work, research ideas, vocabulary lessons, and even Biblical verses that tie into the story.

How We Used It

We were given the 58 page E-guide version of the Stone Fox study unit for our review as well as the separate Teacher's Answer Key.  Books must be purchased separately from the study unit but are offered for sale on the Progeny Press website.  This particular study unit is recommended for Upper Elementary grade levels between grades 3rd through 6th. However, I used it with Ash and Garrett who are currently in 2nd grade for a total of 3 weeks as we read through the book together.

The questions are absolutely wonderful and made for a great way to gauge the kids comprehension of the story as well as a platform to help the kids dig deeper into various story elements and ideas presented. There were many ideas presented in the study guide that I would have never thought to have thought to dig into, such as discussing empathy and words of comfort for example. There were also really great questions for reviewing antonyms and synonyms, facts and opinions, and similes and metaphors.  Many of the questions and activities were a bit advanced for my kids which I was expecting as the target group for this unit study was for older elementary students, however, it is very easy to adapt these activities to younger students without much work.

But the biggest draw of this particular study unit as opposed to other literary units is the way the authors of the study were able to really tie Jesus's teachings in regards to the story.  Students are encouraged to look up recommended Bible verses and then reflect on what they teach about a particular topic, such as paying taxes or respecting your elders.

 Subsequent questions build off of these verses to help show how they relate to the story or even to the world we live in today.  I really enjoyed being able to tie the word of God into a seemingly unrelated story and found that the kids actually looked forward to days when we pulled the Bible out, read the verses together and then discuss them.  Again, though I found the activities as presented were a bit advanced for the kids, I could easily prepare ahead and make copywork sheets of the verses for the kids to work on as they are still too young to actually look verses up on their own.

Overall, we really enjoyed being able to explore the story using this study unit and found it to be well prepared and thought out.  As said above, I found it easy to adapt to their particular style of learning and I believe that later down the road, it would be great to return to this study once the kids are doing more independent reading.

Progeny Press can be found on their website as well as on Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter.

Be sure to check out the reviews of other crew members who were given the opportunity to review other Unit Studies by Progeny Press by clicking the banner below. 

Progeny Press Review

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