Trumpet of the Swan
Sam Beaver is a young boy who loves nature, and unlike most little boys, has a deep respect for it. Although he lives in Montana, Sam is camping in Canada. He discovers a pair of trumpet swans building a nest on a lake. He observes them carefully, and comes to visit after their eggs have hatched. Trumpet swans may be the most glorious breed of birds. Besides being marvelously beautiful, they also have the ability to trumpet joyously. Well, all of them except for Louis. When the father swan brings over his children to show off to Sam, all of them give him a polite beep, except for Louis, who can't beep or make any other sound and instead just tugs on Sam's shoelace. When fall comes, the family flies south to Montana. Here Louis decides that he must learn to read and write so he can better communicate. He finds Sam and begins attending school with him. Louis falls in love with a beautiful swan named Serena, but not even his education compensates for his inability to trumpet his love. Then his father finds him a real brass trumpet. Will Louis be able to use the musical instrument to win Serena's love? 272 pgs, pb. By E.B. White; illustrated by Fred Marcellino.
Language arts programs listed in this section cover most areas of language arts (reading/literature, writing, grammar, spelling and handwriting) in one curriculum, although some skill areas may be covered with less intensity than a focused, stand-alone course.
Teaching language arts often seems messy and disorganized. The appeal of an integrated program is almost irresistible. Instead of a book for reading, one for grammar, one for spelling, one for vocabulary, one for handwriting, one for composition, and one for thinking skills, why not wrap all of these studies around quality literature? This is exactly the approach suggested by the veteran educator Ruth Beechick. Starting with her sample lessons, the authors of the Learning Language Arts Through Literature series, Diane Welch and Susan Simpson, developed more lessons of their own and eventually collaborated with Dr. Beechick in the preparation of this series. Now after some twenty-five years of publication and a second significant revision, the 3rd edition series continues to be an easy-to-use favorite among homeschoolers. Countless students have proven that written language is best learned by reading fine literature and by working with good writing models.
In addition to the new 3rd edition covers and clearer day-by-day instruction, there are updates throughout the series to reflect changes in how research is conducted. Also, there is clearer direction for making personalized spelling lists. Some lessons have been "switched-out" to give students exposure to more classic literature. Since the original series was written over several years by two different authors, this 3rd edition has been tweaked to make it more consistent. A few out-of-print books have been replaced as well. Some specific changes include: Yellow - ten lessons replaced. Orange - thesaurus and editing activities have been added to most lessons and the book has been reorganized. Purple - reorganized with added vocabulary and spelling activities. Tan - reorganized with three lessons replaced. Green - The Mysterious Benedict Society has replaced Adam and His Kin book study; several lessons replaced and reading comprehension and writing activities have been added to many lessons. Gray - Daddy Long Legs has replaced Across Five Aprils as a book study. In-depth analogy studies have been added.
At the heart of this approach are lessons based on excerpts from great literary works. Each week a passage is introduced to the student. At the younger levels, the student copies the passage after hearing it read. At higher levels, the student writes the passage as it is dictated sentence by sentence. The rest of the week is spent on instruction based on the passage. As an example, Lesson 10 from the Tan (6th grade) book starts with a paragraph from The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong. On the first day, the student is expected to write the passage from dictation after taking note of the usage of quotation marks. Words missed in writing the dictation are incorporated into a spelling lesson which also includes coverage of words spelling the long /i/ sound with igh as in light. Next is a study on homonyms centered around the usage of "hole" in the passage and how the meaning would be changed if "whole" were used. Other homonyms are also studied and then the student is asked to write a sentence using a homonym pair. The second days lesson starts with an examination of point of view from which a story is told. The student examines this passage as well as other stories to look for various points of view and then is asked to rewrite the passage from a different point of view. Lesson work on the third day is on an example of independent clauses linked by semicolons included in the passage; it then progresses to a general discussion of independent clauses versus phrases. Again the student is asked to rewrite the passage making changes in the sentence structure. Also included in this days lesson is a study on the emotions in a story and how good writers use descriptions to draw the reader into the action and to create a mood. The lesson concludes with a short writing assignment (paragraph) and a review of spelling words. Day four is a study of plot utilizing a helpful plot line graphic organizer and including another short writing assignment. The weeks lesson is concluded on day five by choosing one of several activities including writing a short story containing the five plot elements. Each weeks lesson is followed by a page of Review Activities. The teacher can choose any or all of the review activities.
There are full-length book studies (usually four) included with each course. For example, The Bronze Bow is studied in the Tan Book. Starting with an introduction and summary (found only in the Teacher Book), the study continues with a vocabulary worksheet and discussion questions. A list of eight activities concludes the study with the student being instructed to choose one or two. Some of these studies incorporate activities from other disciplines such as the mapping exercise from the Carry On, Mr. Bowditch study found earlier in the Tan Book. Occasionally, there are special instruction segments like the How to Research section in the Tan Book.
There are 36 week-long lessons in each course each of which is an in-depth book study or a passage-based lessons. The passage-based lessons are drawn from a wide variety of literature. To give you some idea of the breadth of these literature selections, here is the list from the Tan Book: Bambi, The Eagle, Little House in the Big Woods, The Story of a Bad Boy, Prince Caspian, The Bronze Bow, King of the Wind, The Wheel on the School, Jest Fore Christmas, Swiss Family Robinson, Swallows and Amazons, Big Red, Kidnapped, Robinson Crusoe, Wind in the Willows, Caddie Woodlawn, The Gettysburg Address, Where the Red Fern Grows, The Railway Children, Psalm 136:1-5, The Horse and His Boy, The House at Pooh Corner, Anne of Green Gables, The Crow and the Pitcher, Little Women, Invincible Louisa, and Matthew 5:13-16. Assessments are included periodically.
These courses are very user-friendly. Obviously, a portion of every lesson includes teacher-student interaction but teacher preparation is minimal and students are often given assignments to work on independently. The Teacher Book provides all necessary background and instructional information; laid out step-by-step for the teacher. These contain all the content from the Student Books in 2/3 page width columns placed side-by-side in the center of the book (two-page spread). These inside columns sometimes contain information not found in the Student Book such as the introduction and background information for the book studies. The outside 1/3 page contain teachers notes as well as all the answers.
The Student Book is consumable and contains some instruction and background information directed to the student as well as generous space to write assignments. These books also contain Enrichment Activities that are found only in the student book although the answers are in the back of the non-consumable Teachers Book.
Although there is a great deal of overlap between the teacher and student book, there are enough differences that both are necessary. You will need to have access to several reference books - dictionary, thesaurus, and encyclopedias - but you easily use the library or internet for those. In addition to the book study selections (often available from the library but which we sell for your convenience), you will need only general school supplies - pencils, paper, colored pencils, drawing paper, notebook, file folders, and construction paper.
The books are designated by colors but correlate with skills taught at specific grade levels. Since some parents are unsure of where to begin their child in the series, we have placement tests for each course from Common Sense Press available on our website. A biblical and Christian worldview is evident in all courses. ~ Janice
Embracing the Socratic methodology of literature instruction outlined in Teaching the Classics, the Ready Readers provide a welcome pick-up-and-go option.for those who want fleshed-out lesson plans. The Readers are exactly that - whole book studies that encompass both comprehension and literary analysis. Discussion-based, the studies are designed to involve the student in question answering and analysis in several general areas - setting, characters, conflict, plot, theme, literary devices, and context. Having identified the best Socratic questions in each area for this particular book, the teacher is aided in handling the discussion by talking point answers. Also provided for each study is a one page summary of the book and a story chart. Although they don't specifically say so, there is an "empty" story chart that looks like it's designed to be copied and then filled out by the student. A completed chart graphically outliming the major structural and thematic elements of each story is provided for the teacher.
Each of the Readers features books in a designated reading level range. The studies however, can be used with students who are somewhat older. In fact, the authors recommend that each year begins with a study that is somewhat below the student's reading level. This serves to acquaint the student with the Socratic methodology and familiarize both the student and the teacher with the discussion environment. The Readers can be used with any unabridged version of the literary selection.
These Readers are a welcome addition to the Teaching the Classics line-up of literature studies. With Teaching the Classics, the parent/teacher receives an excellent introduction to the world of Socratic literary discussion and the tools she/he will need to effectively set up meaningful literature studies. Reading Road Maps - by the same authors - flesh out the process a little more and provide all the "answers," so to speak for 100 favorite books. Still, there are many of us who want more - more guidance and direction - as we embark down this discussion path that we may enthusiastically embrace "theoretically." The sample studies in Teaching the Classics are a starting place, but I would probably be one of those who would like more examples before feeling entirely comfortable setting out on my own armed only with my literature selection and a list of Socratic questions. So, thank you Missy Andrews.
The Readers thoroughly provide all the elements needed for a comprehensive and meaningful literature study. I can already hear the question being asked. "If they're so thorough, do I really need to watch the Teaching the Classics video seminar?" I have no doubt that the Andrews would answer with an emphatic "yes!" The Readers are obviously designed to complement the TTC series rather than replace it. While someone picking up a Reader could probably do a passable job of leading a discussion on any particular book, the fullness and richness of that same study conducted by a TTC "graduate" will make that "passable" job seem pale by comparison. So, to summarize the relationship between these products: Teaching the Classics provides the philosophical and methodological foundation. Reading Road Maps provides "framing" for 100 books, while the Ready Readers provide a complete finishing off of a literary "room" for a different series of books. ~ Janice
Please also see our Readingsection for leveled reading seriessuch as I Can Read, Step Into Reading, and many more.
"Its just common sense!" Actually, its the Common Sense Reading Program and yes, everything about this program is common sense. A very complete program organized around quality childrens literature (like all LLATL programs) and covering phonics, reading, spelling, grammar, vocabulary, handwriting, and higher-order reasoning. Phonics instruction is systematic, introducing a few sounds at a time and providing opportunities to read a "real" (small story book) book which uses those sounds. The literature component (carefully selected childrens favorites) reminds students that the reason for all the hard work in phonics is the joy of reading wonderful books. And woven through both of these elements is comprehensive instruction in all aspects of language arts. Relying heavily on Ruth Beechicks principles for teaching reading (including her letter dice activities), the program includes a wide variety of activities appealing to all learning styles.
The 3rd edition of this long-time favorite sports new covers and clearer day-by-day instructions. The Blue Program Student Book is in color. In the Red Program, three of the six readers have been replaced with books that offer more phonics practice.
The Teacher Book is a homeschoolers dream; all the work has been done for you, taking you step-by-step through the 36-week/36 Lesson program. The Lessons are grouped into "Parts" and each is divided into five days of detailed instructions. New skills are listed for each lesson and necessary supplies are included at the beginning. There is virtually no teacher preparation needed; you teach as you read. All answers are provided within the lesson. Examples and diagrams are user-friendly including the easy-to-follow references to the Student Book. Periodic assessments are provided to help you determine your childs readiness for the next "Part." The Student Book contains the materials (except for household and school supplies) needed for cut-and-paste, word wheels, flip books, picture sequencing, story-telling puppets, and handwriting pages. The comfortable, natural handwriting method that isnt exactly traditional, modern, or italic was developed by the authors. This handwriting instruction is coordinated with the phonics and includes pages for children to carefully complete and display or give as gifts. The Student Book is consumable with perforated pages. Even the back cover is put to good use providing the miniature book covers to be added to the personal reading chart that marks the childs progress. Phonics concepts are reinforced in separate beginning Readers. They are small-sized for little hands and include black-and-white illustrations. Stories are engaging which is a good thing since the weeks learning activities are built around them. The student uses puppets to retell the stories, completes sequencing activities with a series of reader-related events, and answers comprehension questions. One interesting aspect of the teacher-student interaction concerning these readers is that the weeks lesson starts off with the teacher reading either the small book (Blue) or a part of a reader (Red) to the child. After several lessons thoroughly covering the new phonics concepts and practice reading parts of the story, the student concludes the week with the successful reading of the same reading selection. This is an effective variation of the typical approach because the goal of reading the book is always before the student. The Materials Packet (Blue Program only) is a useful collection of color-coded letter and word cards for learning and review along with cards used for reinforcement games and, of course, the letter dice (to be assembled from cardstock patterns). While this part of the program is not exactly consumable - you could use the various components again - the components do get a workout. If you are expecting to use the program with another child, youll want to save these items, possibly laminating them. However, we sell additional Material Packets as well as Student Books and Reader Sets so you can easily use the program with a second student. Well-known childrens literature (Read-Aloud Library) is suggested each week, so at the same time your child is learning phonics, he is also learning other important reading skills such as literal recall, comprehension, predicting outcome, and drawing conclusions. These books are an integral part of the program and the Student Activity Book relies on them. Although usually available at the local library, for your convenience we also sell them. ~ Janice
Topics covered: Grammar, Vocabulary, Reading Skills, Spelling Skills, Penmanship, Patriotic Songs & Poetry, Oral Presentations, Tall Tales/Folk Tales, Poetry, Speech, and Composition. Debbie Strayer, author. Passages from: "America," Mr Poppers Penguins, Trumpet of the Swan, David Livingstone, Foe of Darkness, Strawberry Girl, Amos Fortune, Free Man, and "Star-Spangled Banner."
The 3rd edition has been reorganized with added vocabulary and spelling activities.
If you're looking for a study guide for a specific book, Novel Units probably has it covered! They produce hundreds of literature guides - only a sampling of them are listed here. Teacher Guides are 30-40 pages - not voluminous, but enough for good coverage of the book. Format of the guides vary somewhat by grade level, but have some common elements. They begin with a synopsis of the book and its author and some pre-reading activities that serve both to provide background for the novel study and initiate student involvement and thinking about the story. Chapter by chapter (in some guides, multiple chapters) lesson plans contain vocabulary words, discussion questions (with answers), and suggested activities. Some guides also include writing ideas. Literature concepts/skills appear here and there. Some guides contain reproducible graphic organizers to aid student analysis. All include some culminating questions and activities. Again, these vary in scope and type by guide. There are no objective or essay tests, but each guide ends with a student assessment page that provides a list of projects or exercises to be completed to help evaluate student understanding. Student Packets (where available) are reproducible and, again, vary somewhat by grade level and book. In my sample packet, masters are provided for an initiating activity, a chapter-by-chapter study guide with questions and lines for answers, vocabulary activities, journal ideas, literary analysis, cross-curricular activities (art, drama, math), several graphic organizer / analysis pages, varied activity pages, comprehension quizzes, and a final test. Answers to all questions, worksheets, and test are included in the back, along with an essay evaluation form. Really, each of these components can function as a stand-alone product and can be used without the other, but for a more comprehensive study, they are best used in concert. There is very little overlap between the two, even in the chapter-by-chapter questions - but completing the questions in the Student Packet will help prepare your child for the more in-depth questions found in the Teacher Guide. If your child is working independently on a novel, the Student Packet can be used alone (if available). If you want to do little written work and put more emphasis on discussion, the Teacher Guide can be used by itself. As stated before, we have selected a sampling of guides at each grade level. If you like them, we'll add more!
Please note that some guides have been written to correlate with a specific edition of a book. Some of these editions are now out of print, and we do not carry all versions mentioned. Where multiple editions are available, such as Adventures of Tom Sawyer, the page numbers given in the guide may not correlate exactly.
No longer part of the same package as the Phonics and English 1 course, this reading course has a lot to offer and helps develop phonics systematically. The course consists of a single student worktext, which is consumable and colorful; and six reading books. The readers contain some new stories, some previously-included stories, and some rewritten ones, along with full color pictures on every page. These introduce students to different genres, including fiction, non-fiction, plays, poetry, and even choral readings. Many of the stories are centered around a Christian family, and all are edifying and character building. The new 4th edition pieces are compatible with the 3rd Ed.