Literature guides are simply one of my favorite things when it comes to homeschooling. So when the opportunity to review the Eighth Grade Literature Guide Set ($95) from Memoria Press, I jumped on it!
Included in the literature guide set are both the teacher and student guides for:
- The Wind in the Willows
- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
- Treasure Island
- As You Like It
8th Grade Literature Guide Series Review
The books themselves were not included, but we already owned three of the four. I was able to pick up the Dover Thrift Edition of As You Like It on Amazon for around $2.00, completing our set of four. You can get the literature set with the novels included for $129 if you don’t want to worry about procuring them all individually.
Since our As You Like It books (I ordered one for my daughter and one for myself) were fresh and new, we decided to start with that guide first. I’ve never done a literature guide with Shakespeare before so I was interested to see how it would work.
Instead of chapters, the guide is divided into acts. There are five Acts in the play but Acts II and III are divided into two sections, so you end up with seven sections total. I was pleased to see a lengthy introduction to Shakespeare as well as one for the play itself. However, I was a bit let down to discover that there was no teaching schedule. I, in my natural state, am a disorganized mess and therefore rely heavily on teaching schedules being provided. While this wasn’t a major problem, it was a minor set back because I now had to figure out how often to read and how much.
The elements of the literature guide include:
- Character Log – a place to explain each character you meet and describe his/her personality
- Vocabulary – words to define as they are found in context
- Journal Prompts – different enrichment activities to take the experience off the page
- Quotes – select quotes from the play to be further looked at and explained
- Comprehension Questions – a mix of context questions as well as critical thinking questions. These make up the bulk of each section.
- Review Questions at the very end of the student guide
- Term Exams at the end of the teacher guide
What we thought of the literature guides
These are spectacular guides for creating deeper understanding and appreciation for literature and it’s creator. They are wonderful resources for anyone wanting to introduce great literature to their children with or without having read the book themselves.
Shakespeare is a lot to take in. The reading format can be difficult and the language is almost foreign. The guide is a huge help when it comes to things like that. The only thing I didn’t like about the guide, other than the lack of teaching schedule, was that the character log isn’t filled out in the teacher’s guide.
About the other guides we received:
The other guides were all pretty similar since they were dealing with prose instead of poetry. Each guide is divided into chapters and contain the same elements with discussion questions, vocabulary and quizzes. I did like that the Tom Sawyer guide gives an overview of how to mark up a book, this is something everyone should learn how to do. And Treasure Island has a nautical terms section complete with pictures to help kids get a better understanding of the story.
Each guide is unique in itself, but also follows a loose template for the main elements. They have been a joy to work with and I highly recommend them.
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