Reading comprehension and critical reading and thinking skills are emphasized, although some remedial phonics is included. Selections include excerpts from classic literature and quality stories from a wide variety of genres. The Home School Kit contains the Teacher's Edition, Student Text, Student Worktext, Teaching Visuals Flip Chart, and the Worktext Teacher's Edition. The two-volume Teacher's Edition also includes Message from Print DVD.
Providing a comprehensive range of skills, this program transitions from systematic phonics and decoding in the younger grades to reading comprehension in the higher grades. Students learn key strategies for reading comprehension as well as literary terms with a variety of wholesome, engaging stories from all genres including biographies, narrative exposition, historical fiction, Bible stories, and imaginary (fantasy). Biblical principles are taught as students discern what they read through the lens of the Bible. Using phonetic awareness activities to review phonics while developing comprehension in the younger levels, the series steadily progresses to higher order thinking and more challenging literary styles and techniques, including more composition/writing activities by grade 6.
The basal readers are colorful and have an appealing layout with a nice balance of open space and text. There is also a good mix of silent reading for comprehension and oral reading for communication while developing reading proficiency. Close reading strategies help students stay focused on key details while reading. Some levels have opportunities for longer readers with leveled novel studies.
Student worktexts contain practice pages to reinforce new vocabulary words and reading comprehension. A variety of other skills such as map and timeline reading, making a schedule, writing activities, and more are also included in the student worktext. This independent practice reinforces the reading and skills covered in the lessons.
The Teacher Editions contain complete lesson plans, with answered student pages (either full-size or reduced text). Lessons begin with skill development, then teaching, with optional reinforcement activities and discussion questions. Before reading begins, there are also suggestions for story introductions and interactive lessons. Because it is written for classroom instruction, there is a lot of information in the teacher guide; however, use this as a guide to meet the needs of your student. Grades 1-3 Teachers Editions come with a Toolkit CD; Grade 6 includes a DVD. Kits include all needed items: Teacher’s Edition, Student Text, Student Worktext, and Teacher Worktext.
This complete reading program promotes a lifelong love of reading as students develop reading fluency and learn to look for quality literature they can read on their own. Personally, our family has used and enjoyed this program in our homeschools and our daughters use it in their homeschools too!