Reading Street Homeschool Old Edition
Considering that this program is from a major textbook publisher, it is surprisingly user-friendly if you take a little time to become familiar with the various components and decide which ones you want to integrate into your course at home.
Incorporating an amazing array of reading material, practically every genre is represented fiction: realistic fiction, drama, folktales, fantasy, fables, legend, tall tales, historical fiction, and poetry, and nonfiction: expository, literary nonfiction, procedural text, biography, autobiography, photo essay, and interview. Being a fan of word pictures, I have a special appreciation for the "Envision It!" feature of this series. Key concepts are depicted by graphics, often creating fun and humorous mnemonic devices. These graphics are incorporated into two handbook features the Visual Skills Handbook and the Visual Strategies Handbook a part of each text. For instance, in the 3rd grade text the Visual Skills Handbook includes depictions of authors purpose, cause/effect, classify/categorize, compare/contrast, draw conclusions, fact/opinion, generalize, main idea/details, graphic sources, literary elements, sequence, and steps in a process. The Visual Strategies Handbook includes background knowledge, important ideas, inferring, monitor/clarify, predict/set purpose, questioning, story structure, summarize, text structure, and visualize.
The hardback Reading Street Texts (two volumes in grades 2-6; five soft-backed readers in 1st grade) are the starting point. If you wanted to keep things simple, I think you could "do" the course with just these readers. At first glance, they might seem a little "busy" at least compared to some of our other reader series. But that busyness actually translates into the elements that make up a complete course. Some of the reading selections are on the inner two-thirds of each page, and the text is interspersed with both illustrations and their labels. For instance, within an article titled “Meeting the Challenge of Collecting” (Grade 3.1), there is a picture of the anthropologists being interviewed, Incan pottery from Peru, tapa bark cloth from Papua New Guinea, a woven basket of the Wappo Indians, and a mask from Cameroon. The outer third of each page provides valuable sidebar information. In this collecting article, one sidebar provides objectives and a short teaching sequence on the interview genre. The remaining three provide discussion questions (Let’s Think about . . .) on both the interview content and its relationship to a previous reading selection. One of these questions suggests a writing activity. This is just one example - the reading selections are presented in a variety of ways. In the same text, there are some that are just well-illustrated stories without any sidebar interruptions (fiction), and some that are text plus illustrations (non-fiction). After one of these, there are a series of five “think critically” questions, a series of illustrations to aid the student in retelling the story, and some biographical information on the author. Interspersed between the reading selections are the language arts lessons. These include: phonics review, writing workshops (assignment, directions, checklist, and model), grammar and vocabulary instruction, reading comprehension strategies, and fluency activities. The texts are brightly (one might even say brilliantly) full-color and literally packed with both stories and information. I meant it when I said that going through these texts together with your student will provide a well-rounded reading experience as well as complete language arts instructions. By the way, at the back of each text is a complete glossary and a vocabulary handbook.
However, this package provides more. The Guide on the Side will bring out the teacher in you. Tab-indexed, this collection of teacher helps – scope and sequence information, pacing chart, instructional strategies and example lessons, monitoring progress, scoring rubrics, research-based “routines” (i.e. lesson plans), and strategies for differentiation (suggestions for teaching both struggling and advanced students) – is designed for easy access and support. 384 pgs, hard back cover, spiral bound.The Teachers Resource DVD-ROM provides an array of printable teacher and student support material in digital format – vocabulary, comprehension, writing and grammar activities. These include digital whiteboard transparencies, practice books (printable PDF forms), a colorful lesson planner template, scoring rubrics, and vocabulary resources (printable Envision It! vocabulary cards). Please note that the publisher has blocked some of the teacher content for homeschool use. Lesson plans and online content is not accessible.
The ExamView CD-ROM provides printable tests - weekly tests as well as unit and end-of-year assessments - and includes an option for creating your own tests. Minimum System Requirements: Windows XP, SP, Vista SP1, and 7. Mac OS 10.5.8 or OS 10.6.4~ Janice