Heart of Darkness / Joseph Conrad (Thrift Ed)
Among the many companies that offer a literature guide or study guide to use with a novel, Progeny Press does a beautiful job incorporating scripture into their literary analysis. I like how their guides begin with more basic comprehension questions and evolve into more challenging questions that encourage deeper thinking. Think of it as moving from who, what and where into the how and why’s. With Progeny Press, students are asked to draw comparisons between the literature they are reading and the Bible. Your student will use their own Bible in their preferred version.
New to literature study guides? They are an independent and flexible option for adding a literature component to your language arts. As your student reads a novel, the guide provides a framework, something like a workbook. The guide might suggest each learner read chapters 1 and 2, then answer some questions. Students answer directly in the guide. From a parent’s viewpoint, this is a time saver! You can set a schedule if you like, or just open their guide and ask them a question! Students love talking about what they are reading, whether they like it or not. Parent educators get a sense of the investment in the book each child has based on their remarks. In addition, parents could easily develop and add some deeper questions into an essay too.
Progeny Press has many titles to choose from. The age groups overlap in places because, well, that is not an exact science, is it? One student may read a book at age 10 and another at age 14. The age groups help a parent determine if the novel’s content is likely appropriate for a child’s age. Reading comprehension and literary analysis are an important component of any ELA year. A typical number of novels with guides is 4-6 a year, or 2-3 per semester. Some novels may take only a couple weeks to complete, while others take up to 8 weeks. While a few titles are still available in the previous pdf format, these are phasing out. The guides are reproducible within one classroom or family.
Each guide includes:
- a concise synopsis of the book
- information about the book’s author
- background information pertinent to the story
- suggestions for activities relating to the subject matter
- introduction of literary terms
- vocabulary exercises for each section of reading
- comprehension, analysis, and application questions for each section of reading with discussion of related Biblical themes
- a complete answer key and suggestions for further reading
Please note that a brief synopsis of many of the books included here are provided in our Library Builders section. Study guides for the same book are often available from several publishers, so we found it more efficient to give a description of the book only once.