Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Progeny Press (A Schoolhouse Crew Review)

Recently, the kids and I went to the Renaissance Festival and like any typical kids, they fell in love the ideas of Kings, Princesses, Castles and Knights on Horses.   So when we were given the opportunity to read the book The Minstrel in the Tower by Gloria Skurzynski with the kids and then use and review The Minstrel in the Tower E-Guide by Progeny Press, I knew the kids would be pretty excited.  Granted, the Medieval times were a bit before the Renaissance period, but I knew the kids would still be pretty excited about it.  With E-Guide in hand, the kids and I traveled back to 1195 to France following the Crusades and to learn about Alice and Roger and their quest to find their Uncle. 

About Progeny Press

Progeny Press is a publishing company who offers E-guides for literature with a Christian perspective. Offering guides for reading levels from early elementary through high school, each of the Progeny Press 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 reviewed the 47 page  downloadable E-guide version of the Minstrel in the Tower study unit by Rebecca Gilleland. The chapter book 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 Lower Elementary grade levels between Kindergarten through 3rd grade.  I used it with Ash and Garrett as we read through the book together.

The E-Guide is broken down with questions and activities to use with each chapter of the book. At the end of the E-Guide is various suggestions on projects and activities to do after completion of the book that tie in arts and crafts, cooking and oral reports .

Since Garrett balks at the idea of any amount of writing, I found the best way for us to use the E-Guide was to print out a master copy for myself that I could use to ask the comprehension questions and we could discuss the answers as a group.  The individual activities such as the word find puzzles and I printed out for the both of them to work on their own.  As this is a downloadable product, Progeny Press's license does allow for parents to reproduce pages for use in their own classroom and home so I was able to print out copies for both of them.

Garrett works on a vocabulary exercise

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 also some really great activities for helping build vocabulary.  The last few pages of the E-Guide provide additional resources that coincide with the study as well as the answer key for the activities included.

As Progeny Press offers literature studies E-Guides from a Christian perspective, different elements of the story are also tied in with corresponding Biblical verses that help children understand not just the story but the scripture better.  For example, at the beginning of the story, the mother asks the son to do something but that the son is unsure about.  At this point in the study the children read and discussed Ephesians 6:2 and what it means for children to obey their mother and father.   Later in another chapter, when discussing  overcoming fear, we read and discussed Psalms 23:4, Isaiah 41:10 and Psalms 118:14 and talked about how God is always with us to provide strength and never abandons us.   All verses are presented in the NIV format.

Not only did we enjoy the E-Guide but we also used a few of the suggestions for outside resources and read about Francis of Assisi whom the kids found very interesting.   Progeny Press puts together some really wonderful E-Guides and they are a company that I know that I can trust for quality materials for our various literature units.

Find out more about Progeny Press and the various Literature E-Guides they offer by visiting their website or any of their social media sites.

    Twitter:  @progenypress

The Minstrel in the Tower E-Guide is for Lower Elementary students, but Progeny Press also has guides for Upper Elementary, Middle School and High School levels so be sure to to read the other reviews to learn the differences between these levels.
Literature Study Guides from a Christian Perspective {Progeny Press  Review}


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