Thursday, November 15, 2018

Let's Read a Story

We love to read in our family!  From a very early age we surround our kiddos with books and pray they will love them as we do.  Thankfully, we have raised strong readers and lovers of books.  It does this momma's heart good to see them snuggled on the couch deeply engrossed in their latest book adventure.
Reading is also one of our favorite subjects in school since it involves, of course, BOOKS!  Colby's current reading program has involved simply reading a book on the 6th grade reading list and writing a short paper after he finishes each one.  Not very inspiring, but it was just what we did.  When I had the chance to review a new-to-us reading program from Mosdos Press Literature, thanks to Timberdoodle Co., I was eager to see how we would do with a more classroom typical reading program.

We have been working through this program for over a month now and I am excited to tell you about it!

What is it?
Mosdos Press Literature is a Literature and Reading program that has 6 levels.  Each level has a unique gem name-   Opal, Ruby, Coral, Pearl, Jade and Gold.  We have been using the Mosdos Jade level which is intended for 7th graders.  The set comes with a hard back student reader, a student workbook and a spiral bound teacher's guide in two parts.

While not a specific Christian program..."Mosdos Literature is a complete literature program that does not glamorize evil, nor present subject matter that is not age-appropriate. Neither does it portray as normal a cynical disregard for positive values, but reinforces the universal ideals of courage, honesty, loyalty, and compassion."  Gotta love that!


The student book is beautiful!  A solid 652 pages, it has numerous full color illustrations in it.  The book is broken into 5 parts covering different types of literature-

  • Short Stories
  • Poetry
  • Nonfiction
  • Drama
  • The Novel
Each section then is further divided into several specific focuses.  For example, in the Short story section you will focus on-

  • Recognizing plots
  • Defining character
  • Exploring settings
  • Understanding themes
  • and Putting it all together
Each selection ranges from just a page to more than several pages long.

All of the stories begin with an Intro that gives you a summary of the story, the Focus which talks about the theme and gives you some questions to be looking for while you read, and a bit about the author.  After the story you will find questions that recall facts and then some that are interpreting questions that make the student really think.  There you will also find additional things to examine and think about, as well as a creative writing assignment you can choose to do.      

The student workbook then provides additional activities to further engage your student.  Each story has two vocabulary activities which include fill in the blank sections, matching, and occasionally a crossword puzzle.  Next you will find writing activities and then graphic organizing activities.  At the end of the workbook you will find a glossary for your student to use for quick reference.

The teacher's guide is pretty straight forward as well.  Each page of the student's reader in pictured so you can follow along, and additional questions labeled Guiding the Reading are listed for you to be able to guide conversations on the reading.  You will also find additional notes about the literary component you are currently studying to help you lead those discussions as well.  If there is a workbook section that ties in to that particular part of the story, it is listed for your convenience.

How we have used this and our thoughts-
Colby was very excited to try this program.  He is used to reading longer books and I think was excited to try some shorter selections.  We typically read one story a day, with me first reading the summary and additional information.  Sometimes we take turns reading but often Colby just reads aloud to me.

The following day we answer questions and discuss the story in more depth.  On the third day we do both vocabulary pages.  On our final day, we choose one more activity to do, whether a writing assignment or one of the literature/grammar based graphic organizers.  Because we are doing a separate writing program those are the activities we have chosen less often.

We have really enjoyed using the Mosdos program and are continuing to use it this year as our primary reading program,.  I have found that we enjoy the many different types of stories and reading together rather than Colby reading a long book for several weeks alone.  It has been a sweet time of togetherness as well and has exposed us to many different types of reading materials we may not have otherwise chosen.

A reading workbook is a new thing to us, but it has been a fairly easy transition.  The vocabulary activities have actually been his favorite part and I love that were expanding his vocabulary easily.  The activities have given him some new skills such as sequencing and character development.  The writing assignments are good and offer lots of space for creative thinking and writing, as well as the teaching of research and dictionary skills.

I have to say I was a little overwhelmed at first with the teacher's guide and the student workbook since those are not things we usually have.  I am also used to a day by day schedule, but have learned to appreciate the freedom one has to pick and choose without one.   I have been able to have Colby just do the worksheets I feel are beneficial to him and skip the others without the guilt.  It is freeing!  I also have found the value in the teacher's guide.  I admit I often ask pretty basic questions on our reading just to check for reading comprehension, but then stop there.  The questions presented in the teacher's guide are more in depth critical thinking questions and have been a good stretch for us to have.  The guide is very public school oriented but can easily be adapted for a homeschooler easily.

All in all, we are quite pleased with Mosdos Press Literature and are thankful we have had the chance to explore it.  It is a positive change to our year and one we will continue to use.

Mosdos Jade is part of the 7th grade curriculum kit from Timberdoodle, and can also be purchased separately.

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