How to Read a Book
Why did nobody tell me about this book before now??? Even just the first few chapters lifted loads from my shoulders and helped me understand so much about my reading. Did you know that we read for three basic reasons? For entertainment, information and understanding. If reading for understanding is your goal, the author of this book will take you by the hand and open the world of books up for you. There are levels to reading which you will learn about: elementary (basic reading), inspectional (skimming systematically), analytical (best and most complete reading given an unlimited amount of time), and syntopical (comparative reading through many different sources). While focusing mainly on analytical reading, this book will encourage you to take your reading level beyond elementary, (which is where many people are stuck), and to progress on to the fantastic and ever so rewarding heights of the higher levels of reading. Then be taught techniques to reading different types of books including practical books, imaginative literature, plays, poetry, history, science, mathematics, philosophy and social sciences. Included in Appendix A is a list of recommended reading books. I would buy the whole book just for this list; it is that helpful! While moms and dads will also want to read this book, I think it will be particularly helpful for teens as well. Progressing through high school, studying for exams, getting my teeth into classics and learning about things which interest me would all have been enhanced had I read this book long ago! This 1940 classic by Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren is now brought to you in a revised, updated, and expanded version. Enjoy and be stretched! 426 pgs, pb. ~ Genevieve
This text is by the same author and follows the same standards and format as Traditional Logic. Basically, it is a guided tour through Aristotle's Rhetoric, and you will need a copy of that book to complete the course. It covers the first two books of Aristotle's thoughts on writing and oratory, basically concerning the speaker and the audience. Those familiar with Aristotle will know that he valued content and quality of writing more than technique, and this study reflects that philosophy. It should be noted that this is not an introductory course on writing, but is meant to refine those skills that students should already have, for the specific purpose of persuasion. The book is well laid out and is designed so that students can be taught even by those with little experience with this topic. The course is designed to be consumable and will lead students every step of the way through a study on rhetoric over the course of a year. Tips on how teachers can grade the work and keep students accountable are included in the book. The first part of the course covers Book One of Aristotle's Rhetoric: "Rhetoric as it Concerns the Speaker." It starts with lessons on the scope and purpose of rhetoric and the definition and division of rhetoric.The rest of the speaker section is then divided into political, ceremonial, and forensic rhetoric, with several lessons per topic. The second part of the book then covers Book Two of Aristotle's Rhetoric: "Rhetoric as it Concerns the Audience". It then gives a basic introduction to Aristotle's views on the subject and gives lessons covering Pathos, Ethos, and Logos. The text includes several ways to test students and helps them to thoroughly review and understand the content. Reading Comprehension Questions are the main part of the course and are designed to help students glean as much from Aristotle's Rhetoric as possible by completing short answer questions. Evaluating Writing Assignments require that the student not only know what Aristotle said, but assess it on the basis of their own assumptions, which may differ from Aristotle's. Weekly Research and Writing Assignments are designed to apply the lessons the student has learned. Reading Lessons are made up of questions based on Mortimer Adler's How to Read a Book, which are designed to help the student fully understand what, how, and why Aristotle says what he does. Logic and Latin Review Questions are review questions related to Traditional Logic. Though that book is not a prerequisite for this course and these questions can be skipped, the author does recommend completing that before beginning this. Finally, there are Case Study Analyses focusing on four speeches, which are classic examples of the three kinds of speeches discussed by Aristotle. Each case study is accompanied by questions relevant to the section of Aristotle just covered. These are designed as models for the students to imitate in their own persuasive discourse. The user-friendly format and multiple-aspects of reviewing make this a very complete review and guide for Aristotle's Rhetoric. A Teacher Key can be purchased separately and provides detailed answers for the lessons and exercises.
Classroom DVDs are also available which offer verbal instruction on every aspect of the course along with helpful graphics slides that help to explain lesson content. Downloadable lecture slides to accompany the DVDs are available from Memoria Press. ~ Rachel S.
Imagine a classically-based history course where your child reads great history books and period-related literature, keeps a running timeline of the period studied, writes outlines and summaries of important people and events, completes history-related map work, and does all of this without extensive planning on mom's part. Although it may sound too good to be true, luckily for you it's not! Author Kathleen Desmarais has done an awesome job of combining an excellent variety of resources and activities and presenting it all in a very straight-forward, professional way that takes the stress of lesson planning off of you and puts the accountability and expectations squarely on your history student.
History Odyssey is basically a series of study guides, with one guide covering one era of history (Ancients, Middle Ages, Early Modern, or Modern) in one year. There are three levels to the program, so if you completed the whole series, you would cycle through world history three times - once in elementary, once in middle school, and once in high school education. The first level is intended for grades 1-4, the second level for grades 5-8, and the third level for grades 9-12. There will be twelve guides when the series is complete; currently, there are still several guides in production. The guides are loose-leaf and 3-hole punched, designed to be placed in a binder. You'll probably want a thick one; students will be adding a lot of material!
Although the same eras in history are covered in each level, the expectations on the student become more sophisticated, following the classical education progression. In Level 1 (the grammar stage), students are encouraged to approach history as a great story as they read (or are read to) and complete map work, History Pockets activities, copywork, and coloring pages. This level will require more attention from the parent than the two upper levels. Depending on the reading ability of the child, some reading selections may need to be read aloud or read together. There will also be copies to make and supplies to gather for each lesson. Level 2 (the logic stage) introduces the timeline, outlining as a writing skill, research, and independent writing assignments. Students are expected to read all assignments on their own, and critical thinking and analysis are emphasized through the assignments. Parental involvement should be reduced at this level, as parents should be only checking the quality of each day's work and making sure that it has all been done. By Level 3 (the rhetoric stage), students will be reading much more demanding history selections (including classic literature) and will be writing plenty of expository, descriptive, narrative and persuasive essays. Research, timeline work, and map work are continued from Level 2 but are more in-depth at this level. For each level, history, geography, and writing are strongly represented. Although the writing practice is extensive, you will probably want to be using a separate course in English and writing.
Now that you're familiar with the basics of the course, let's look at the lessons. Lessons are presented to the student in a checklist-type format. All assignments, including reading, timeline, writing, and others are listed for each lesson with a box to check when the task is complete. In Level 1, lessons are structured a bit differently, in that there is some parent preparation (highlighted in gray), a "main lesson" of assignments, and then several "additional activities" listed. Lessons typically include a mix of readings from resource books, map work, timeline work (in the upper two levels), and writing assignments/copywork to be added to the student's master binder. Exceptions may be lessons which ask the student to begin reading a required book. In this case, a recommended time frame is given in which the book should be read, and follow-up writing assignments may be listed. Occasionally websites may be listed to check out more information, but these are not absolutely necessary to the course if you are not able to visit them. Following the lessons, you'll find worksheets referred to in the lessons, outline maps used in map activities, and several appendices. Although the guide is not reproducible, the author does give permission to copy the maps and worksheets for your family's use only.
There are several important aspects of this course. First of all, with the exception of Level 1, there is little parent preparation. A "Letter to Parents" at the beginning of the guide explains the course, while the "How to Use This Guide" lists required resources and other necessary supplies, describes the organization of the student's binder, and briefly discusses several aspects of the program. For the upper two levels, parents will be primarily making sure the necessary books and resources are on hand and ensuring that each lesson's work has been done and is complete. This leads to my next point, which is that at the end of this course, the student will not have "completed a workbook," but will have compiled their own meaty notebook with all their work from the course. Instruction is given at the very beginning of the course on how to organize the student's notebook, and from that point on, the student will be putting all of their work into the binder. The binder will be not only a tremendous keepsake but a collection of all work done in the course. Finally, the timeline is a very important tool used in Levels 2 and 3 of History Odyssey. This can be made by you, or you may choose to purchase Pandia Press's very attractive Classical History Timeline, which is described below. Events and people studied are added to the timeline throughout the course, and when they're finished with the guide, the timeline can be folded up and included in the student's binder.
One bonus to the course is that they use well-known resources and literature that you may already own! Level 1 heavily uses Story of the World books, A Child's History of the World and History Pockets. My sample of Middle Ages Level 2 lists the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia, The Story of Mankind, Usborne Internet-Linked Viking World, The Door in the Wall, Tales from Shakespeare, Beowulf: A New Telling, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Castle (by David Macaulay), The Canterbury Tales, and many more. Check out the lists of resources beneath each History Odyssey Guide below - I'm sure you'll see many familiar
Please note that this curriculum was originally written to use with the 4th edition of History of the World by J.M. Roberts. That book is currently on its 6th edition and while technically still useable, it does not match up with the curriculum well. The publisher has put the History Odyssey curriculum for this level out of print until it is rewritten at a later date for a newer edition of History of the World.
Please note that the Level 3 History Odyssey curriculum was originally written to use with the 4th edition of History of the World by J.M. Roberts. That book is currently on its 6th edition and while technically still useable, it does not match up with the curriculum well. The publisher has put the History Odyssey curriculum for this level out of print until it is rewritten at a later date for a newer edition of History of the World. We will have stock on this curriculum while quantities last.