Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Progeny Press Has Literature Guides for YOU!- REVIEW

I am going to let you in on a little secret about our family...we love to read.  I mean, like REALLY love to read.  All six of us.  We aren't too picky, just give us a book and we are content.  And probably with said book in a corner reading.  Which is why I love Progeny Press and having the opportunity to review new literature guides they offer.

This time up, we had the opportunity to use The Scavengers eGuide for grades 5-8th.  Because we are still in temporary quarters and have decided to begin our new school year early, the timing for this review was perfect.  I did a quick order of the book and downloaded the literature guide and we were ready to go.

Let me give you a real quick overview of the book.  The Scavengers, written by Michael Gilleland, is clearly a middle school book.  It tells the tale of a girl named Maggie and her family who are living as scavengers "outbubble."  Quickly you realize there is indeed an "underbubble" area as well, though details of that far off place are offered only sporadically.  Instead you mostly learn of the world that Maggie (who likes to refer to herself as Ford Falcon), her parents and little brother Henry (Dookie) live in.  Mystery and intrigue are prevalent in this book and our original two-chapters-a-day plan quickly went out the window.

Colby, age 11 and a new 6th grader, and I took turns at first reading a page at a time to each other, but quickly he decided that he wanted to read the whole chapter himself.  After that he would read a chapter to me, then I would read one to him, usually continuing until I called uncle.  We had a hard time stopping because of the suspense, especially towards the end of the book.

Scavengers eGuide
So about those literature guides...

Let's start with the fact that they are from a Christian perspective. Four different levels are available- Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary, Middle School, and High school. All e-guides offered by Progeny Press include basic information on the story and author, as well as suggested pre-reading activities, general comprehension questions, critical thinking questions, vocabulary, suggested additional reading, scripture references and more.  The Scavenger e-guide is 73 pages long and an answer key is provided.

You can choose to download and print out your study guide or you can now use the interactive eGuides that will download to Adobe Acrobat Reader 9.0 and just type your answers in and save them, depending on which way you prefer.  In the past when we have reviewed various levels we usually print out a copy since I am a hands on paper kind of person.  This time around, due to the fact that we are currently without a printer and Colby now enjoys typing on the computer, we used the interactive eGuide method.

The 59 book chapters are broken into 7 separate sections in the guide.  My original intent was to read the chapters for each section and then complete the corresponding section of the study guide.  That worked for the first two sections, but once we sped up our reading, I admit we did the guide a little behind.  The one danger I see is we had to backtrack and re-read a few sections to refresh our memory about some of the smaller details.

Each separate section follows the same pattern- vocabulary, basic factual questions, thinking about the story section, dig deeper questions and finally, optional activities.  The vocabulary is often a matching exercise but sometimes will have you write your definition and then look up what the dictionary says and write that as well, while the question sections offer short answer, multiple choice or longer answers.

Optional activities encourage you to research or try something that is discussed in the book.  In the case of The Scavengers, one of the suggested activities was to research and try your hand at Morse Code.  We spent some time doing just that and decided we stunk at that kind of communication and would have not been good at it at all!

Most of the additional activities offered at the end of the study guide are time and research intense so in our current living situation, we have decided to skip those for now.  However, Colby really wants to try to recreate the water telescope described to use on the pool.  Once we get settled into our new house I am going to put his father right on that project! ;)

Let me tell you why I love these guides!

  • They make us slow down!  We all tend to devour books at a quick pace and move on, so these guides make us slow down a bit.
  • They challenge our vocabulary.  It is one thing to think you know what a word means, but when you have to stop and actually TELL someone the definition, well, you get the point.
  • They make us think!  Simple rote fact, comprehension questions my kids usually master.  But once you start to dig deeper, especially with my middle schooler, I am often surprised at concepts he doesn't quite get simply because we have never discussed them before.  These guides often teach him new things outside of just the basic what-did-you-read facts.
  • They allow us to incorporate scripture into all aspects of our lives.  Several questions in each section require you to look up scripture and then apply it to the book and your lives.  It is a good reminder to our family that our Christian worldview does and should affect all aspects of our lives and how we process information. 
  • They are easy to use.  Regardless of which format you choose to use them in, Progeny Press has made it easy to download and print or download and use these guides.  They are straight forward and while very thorough do not have a bunch of unneeded fluff!

 So do we love them?  Yes!  Do we recommend them!  Absolutely!

With so many to choose from and 4 levels to choose between, you are sure to find one to fit your studies and excite your children!

We are already gearing up for our next one!

Parent Warning- There are some intense scenes in this book, including Maggie's parents disappearing and her brother being injured.  There is talk of funny "creatures" called grey devils, as well as futuristic times of government takeover.  If you have a sensitive child, I would highly recommend you read the book first to determine if your child is ready for it.  Maggie is quite snarky at times and uses the word "butt" often, so we had to have a gentle reminder that was not an attitude or a word we used.

New Study Guides for Literature From a Christian Perspective {Progeny Press Reviews}
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