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Friday, October 9, 2015

TOS Review - Progeny Press

Progeny Press Review
Progeny Press Review
I was thrilled to get a chance to review To Kill a Mockingbird downloadable digital study guide for the High School level from Progeny Press.

What is Progeny Press and their digital study guides?

Progeny Press offers study guides of literature from a Christian perspective, so among the items listed that the student will need to complete the study guides is a Bible.

This study guide is one of their interactive ones. What that means is, it is all digital. All I had to do was download it, and it was ready for on-screen use. The guide could also be printed if you prefer to use a pencil and paper method instead.

What I received is a pdf interactive downloadable study guide and a separate pdf answer key. The study guide is 59 pages, and the answer key is 9 pages, both in pdf format.

The book did not come with the guide, but it was easy to find at our library. Though, the copy my local library reserved for me looks like it's been enjoyed by many readers. Still, the story remains the same.

The study guide suggests some pre-reading activities like listening to Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech or learning about amendments to the Constitution that have to do with slavery. It then suggested that the student read the entire book before beginning. It then breaks the story down by groups of chapters as follows:

Within the study guide, each unit started with vocabulary words used in the story and had the student either look them up and write a definition, fill in blanks, match words, pull words from a word bank, or more of a multiple choice selection to determine what each word meant.

After the vocabulary section within each unit were studies on things like Setting, Characterization, Exposition v. Narrative, or Similes v. Metaphors.

The next section of each unit got into the heart of the chapters it was covering. It did this by asking general questions where the student filled in the answer on-screen by typing it into the blue shaded area.

After the general questions, there are Dig Deeper questions that really make the student think.

Along the way, some of the questions had the student look up Bible verses in Scripture to consider things within the story that compared to the Bible.

Some of the questions in the study guide used a drop-down answer selection method where the student chose between options after clicking on the arrow box.

The last sections of the study guide include a page of summary questions, which could easily be used for grading purposes like a final exam, and then a page filled with suggestions for writing a one-two-page essay.

How Did We Use It?

The study guide is intended to be used as a high school level lesson guide. My daughter is in 8th grade, but she is taking some high school level courses this year. So, I knew it was at her level.

As expected, my avid reader girl was anxious to get started. She began reading the book before I realized some of the subject matter that the book deals with and so I decided it would be a good idea for me to try to read the book before she got too far into it so I knew what to expect.

We discussed slavery and the time period, along with my abbreviated synopsis of what the book was about, and then my daughter began reading the book.

We easily downloaded and pulled up the on-screen study guide. Even though she prefers pencil/pen and paper to digital, she found it very easy to use. But, I was grateful that I also had the option of printing it. I was especially grateful that it came with a separate Answer Key, so while the questions were intended to stretch my child's brain a bit, I don't have to work too hard to see what the study guide was trying to achieve with each new lesson.

What Did We Think?

I found this study guide to be amazingly in-depth. The questions are really thought-provoking and dig deeper for the high school level. As a Christian homeschooling mom, my main intent is to teach my children the Scriptures, so I really appreciate that because there is a lot of meat to the discussion. I also really like that they include Scripture throughout the study guide intermingled with the questions about the story.

I also really like how the vocabulary words studies uses a variety of formats to teach. It's not just fill-in-the-blank, or look up every word tediously. There are fun Word Bank matches and fill-in-the-bubble choosing between a few different word options as well. I also thought the drop-down arrow keys were a great idea for choosing between two answers, such as E for Expository or N for Narrative.

If you're looking for a test, or need to assign a grade to the overall session, the Summary questions are perfect to use for that purpose. Another great thing about the study guide is how it offers suggestions for essay writing, both at the pre-reading section and after the summary. So, the student has at least two opportunities to build writing skills.

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Progeny Press Review

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