When Milo, an uninspired 10-year-old, drives his toy car through a magic tollbooth into the enchanted Lands Beyond, he begins a remarkable journey through the Kingdom of Knowledge, where he discovers that life is exciting beyond his wildest dreams.
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.
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.
Very comprehensive and versatile study guides from a Christian perspective for selected novels. According to the publisher, the focus is on "teaching thinking and communication skills using literature as a base." A myriad of skills are covered here: reading comprehension, analytical and critical thinking, spelling, grammar, vocabulary, writing, and listening (I guess that's the "Plus"!). Total Language Plus is really both literature and language arts combined in one program. Novels have been carefully selected to either display a high moral tone, or to provide a basis from which to teach Biblical discernment. Most are Newbery Medal or Honor books; all are generally thought of as quality literature, have depth, and are high-interest.
One small teacher's manual presents the how's and why's of the program. It provides an overview and philosophy of the program, sample lesson plans for a typical week, and instructions for teaching each component of the program. The appendix contains a writing helps section and a summary of basic spelling rules. Also included here are answers to common questions about the Total Language Plus program. The program requires minimal teacher involvement as students work through most of the material on their own. While some work is done on separate paper, most exercises are worked directly in the student worktext, which is not reproducible. The only condition under which copying is allowed is when teaching multiple students simultaneously out of the same study guide.
The beginning of each book contains a variety of critical thinking activities, correlated to chapters in the novels, which include projects, drawing, writing assignments, and a puzzle. Some of the writing assignments require research or lengthier essays, while "Personally Thinking" questions require shorter written answers to questions that apply concepts in the story to the student's life or require the student to think and make judgments about story events and characters. These activities can be used at any time during the unit at your discretion, but you will probably want to use several of the shorter writing assignments per week if you want to include composition skills in the program.
The rest of the guide is broken down into weekly units. Each week, the student reads a section of the novel and answers comprehension questions pertaining to those chapters. Daily oral language exercises contain short paragraphs to be dictated to the student, practicing listening and memorization skills and reinforcing spelling and grammar. Passages are chosen to emphasize Bible truths that relate to the story or are actual excerpts from the literature. Other exercises practice an assortment of English skills, with Friday's exercise a summary of "problem words" for the week. Each day, students complete a section of their vocabulary worksheets, including the compilation of a glossary of vocabulary words for which students supply definition and part of speech. Vocabulary review sheets are included at the back of the book, and you can assign these to review and reinforce learning. As a culmination of vocabulary work, a final review test and answer key is provided. Daily spelling exercises also revolve around words from the novel. At the end of each week, a spelling test is administered on the words studied that week. As you can see, far more than reading and comprehension is covered here! Using this program you should not need separate spelling or vocabulary programs. Depending on the activities you choose, and the emphasis you place on composition skills, this may suffice as your total English program. Each book contains 5 to 8 units and will take about 8 to 10 weeks to complete. Plan on using about 3 to 5 guides per year.
Guides are available at five grade levels. Advanced high school guides contain more extensive writing activities that teach composition techniques, showing the student how to organize and plan their writing, as well as suggesting what points to include. They also contain oral readings for the selections to incorporate speech and drama into the program.
Lower-priced guides (see Out of the Dust and From the Mixed-Up Files...) are Focus Guides, which "focus" on specific writing skills and omit many of the varied language arts activities found in the other guides. While containing comprehension and analysis questions like other guides, they also feature comprehensive writing assignments relevant to the novel. Focus guides have less content overall than other guides and will take about 3 weeks to complete.
Please note that the following item is our replacement for the out of printbook referred to in Upper Grammar Literature Book III. Therefore, the questionsand referrals may not correspond.
Lightning Literature & Composition utilizes a “read-through-books-multiple-times-a-week” methodology in the lowest grades. It continues through the grade levels with a focus on literature appreciation as well as a loving, gentle introduction to language arts. The goal throughout the series is developing a love of great literature. Maturing to solid, literature-based grammar and writing lessons, this series is excellent on all fronts.
Literature selections are varied and inspired, including classic, contemporary, and award-winning options. Grammar instruction presents, reviews, and builds through the grade levels, incorporating diagramming after 1st grade. Students are encouraged to write a wide variety of compositions with instruction in the writing process and forms of writing always weaving in the grammar applications. But, this never gets in the way of enjoying the story. There is, in fact, an amazing amount of seamless interweaving of the literature, grammar, and composition threads.
You might be wondering about the role of phonics/reading instruction in this program. To put it simply, it's not included. There seems to be an underlying assumption that the student is reading at grade level and that phonics instruction is underway (or completed).
The basic components of the program are a user-friendly Teacher Guide, a colorful and appealing Student Workbook and lots of well-loved literature. The early grades include extra read-aloud stories/books. (i.e. Aesop's Fables in Grade 1; Winnie the Pooh and Just So Stories in Grade 2). Poetry is included (after 1st grade) drawn from the Random House Book of Poetry for Children in grades 2-3 and included in the Student Workbook in grades 4-6.
The Teacher Guide is the heart of the program even though much of the instruction comes through the Student Workbook. While there is little teacher prep that is necessary, the courses are based on teacher-student interaction and the Teacher Guide is absolutely necessary. It provides weekly overviews, daily lesson plans, and answers to workbook pages.
There are 36 weekly lessons; each with daily instruction for Monday through Thursday (Friday is a day off). Lessons in Grade 1 are each based on a well-loved children's picture book. In Grade 2, the lessons start with picture books but in the last third of the year move into chapter books which are studied over a multi-week schedule. Upper levels cover chapter books over several weeks (anywhere from 2 to 6).
Daily instruction includes three segments: literature, grammar & mechanics, and composition. Compositions are assigned weekly with daily guidance towards completion. Daily composition segments lead the student through the writing process including brainstorming, ordering, rough drafts, and final drafts. The variety of writing assignments includes creative writing, essays of all sorts (description, personal, opinion, etc.), research paper, and poems. There is a constant emphasis on remembering that the goal is to love literature and language arts with suggestions for adapting the lessons to the needs of your student. Each week ends with suggestions for extending the lesson. Handwriting instruction and practice can be incorporated into each lesson as desired/needed.
The Student Workbooks include instruction and serve as a consumable worktext. Artwork, illustrations, and graphics are all related to the week’s literature assignments. Appendices vary with the grade level books but tend to include helpful reference and resource information.
"Reading should be fun, and writing should be satisfying." The author of this series believes this, and she has produced courses that try to keep that goal ever present. She WANTS students to enjoy themselves! Accordingly, reading assignments are comfortable - two novels, two non-fiction books, two short stories and several poems for the 7th grade course, for instance. Lessons are well-constructed and the excellent and thorough coverage includes vocabulary, comprehension, literary elements, composition, grammar, and mechanics.
The three components of this program are designed to be complementary and to be used together. The Student Workbook is the student's textual companion as they study the literature selections. This consumable book is the place for the student to "do" their work. It provides worktext space for all the essential exercises as well as some optional fun/reinforcement exercises.
The Teacher Guide is the "glue" that holds the whole program together providing a philosophical and methodical overview of the program and a weekly planning schedule (lesson plans) as well as chapter-by-chapter answers and teaching helps.
The last component is the excellent Literature Selections that are the heart of the program. Classics, familiar, non-familiar, poetry, and, occasionally, surprising choices all find their way onto the book lists for each grade level. While you may be able to locate some or all of the books at a library, we also offer Literature Packages for each guide that include the necessary books. You and your student are encouraged to read, enjoy, and profit from the year's literature studies. ~ Janice
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 is 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 feature 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. This segment also gets readers 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, although not available for every book, vary somewhat by grade level and book. Student packets may include: activity pages, study guide, graphic organizers, writing and/or listening and speaking prompts, critical thinking challenges, quizzes and a unit test. Answers are included in the back, along with an essay evaluation form (i.e. rubric). Student packets are not reproducible.
Novel Unit Sets include a Novel Unit study guide and/or teacher guide, as well as the recommended reading book for the guide(s).
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 your student to do little written work and put more emphasis on discussion, the teacher guide can be used by itself.
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 the Adventures of Tom Sawyer, the page numbers given in the guide may not correlate exactly.
Explore The Secret Garden, and other places as you read The Door in the Wall, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler, Where the Red Fern Grows, and The Phantom Tollbooth.
Each of these 40-48 page guides incorporates a popular work of literature with comprehension, speaking, writing, and listening skills. The guides begin with a story summary, information about the author, pre-reading information or activity. Following these, the guide contains chapter by chapter vocabulary exercises and comprehension and discussion questions. While not as many or in-depth as some of the other guides, these test comprehension and require some analysis of the events and characters. Sprinkled throughout each guide are various writing activities, literary skill sheets, and creative-thinking activities. These are wellcontrived and require some higher-level thinking skills to complete. Generally, four or five different literary devices are covered per book, and they vary by book. The guide for A Wrinkle in Time, for example, includes spotlights on theme, point of view, cause and effect, and characterization. Several summary activities and suggestions for closing projects appear at the conclusion of the lessons. Most helpful is the inclusion of a Glossary of Literary Terms page at the end of the guide, just in case you forget! Busy moms will also appreciate the complete answer key provided. Unlike many others, these guides are reproducible, making them a cost-effective choice for homeschoolers.
If given a choice, most young readers will choose a book over a "reader" style collection of stories. Why? The stories are interesting, the illustrations engaging, and they seem more "manageable". Okay, so why not teach reading comprehension and beginning literature skills using wonderful children's books? Maybe because you don't want to invest in study guides for each book. Or maybe because you think there needs to be just a little more organized coverage of skills than you might come up with on your own. Or, maybe you just haven't found the right resource. Well, Logos Press has answered all these "maybes" by creating worksheets to go along with some great children's literature. These reproducible worksheets are compiled into spiral bound books and incorporate both the answers and notes for the teacher. Children have seven kinds of questions to answer: matching, multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, drawing a picture, listing, vocabulary definitions, and essay-type. Beginning Literature 1 and 2 includes worksheets for each book plus a sample reading comprehension worksheet that functions as a book report form identifying and describing main characters as well as listing the book's happenings at the beginning, middle, and end. These worksheets provide an excellent introduction to literature studies and reading comprehension by encouraging both thinking about the reading selection and expressing those thoughts in a cohesive manner. A grading label (for reading, English, and spelling) is included on each worksheet. The teacher's instructions include guidelines for grading, and a complete answer key is included.
While there is a decided emphasis in Lightning Literature on enjoying and understanding the literature, the program is also decidedly comprehensive in its grammar and usage coverage and just plain expectant in its composition assignments. A Teacher Guide, a Student Workbook, and lots of classic (along with some contemporary) children's literature are the components for the program.
Literature selections for Grade 5 include: The Mighty Miss Malone, Holes, Number the Stars, Boy: Tales of Childhood, The Tripods, Brown Girl Dreaming, The Phantom Tollbooth, I Am Malala, and Anne of Green Gables.
The Teacher Guide is the heart of the program and is necessary. It's here that the general flavor of the program is most obvious including its orientation toward teacher-student interaction rather than independent student work. Detailed daily instructions are written in first person to the parent/teacher. The flexibility built into the program is reiterated often with examples of how to adapt the teaching instructions for students who are sluggish or need extra challenge. Weekly schedules have a basic structure. Each day includes literature study, grammar/mechanics study, and work on the weekly composition assignment. All workbook answers are provided in the Teacher Guide
The Student Workbooks include some instructional material but are essentially consumable worktexts. Most of the grammar exercises are included here along with space to write thoughts about the reading selection (i.e. Reading Journal Pages: What this Story is About, What I Think of this Story, and My Favorite Sentence). The books are colorful and appealing. Literature Only Packages include all the literature selections needed for the course. The Grade 5 Full Year Package includes all the literature plus the Teacher Guide and Student Workbook.