I love to have a strong literature component to our homeschool, so I was thrilled to receive the entire Fourth Grade Literature Guide Set from Memoria Press. I was responsible for providing my own copies of the literature books, but luckily we had 2 of the books and our library had copies of what we needed for my brand new 4th grade student, Heath.
The following books were included in my package:
–Cricket in Times Square Student Study Guide and Teacher Guide
–Dangerous Journey Student Guide and Teacher Guide
–Blue Fairy Book Student Guide and Teacher Guide
–Homer Price Student Guide and Teacher Guide
The guides can be completed in any order for the 4th grade year. We decided to start with The Cricket in Times Square because Heath had already read the book on his own, for fun, several months ago. I thought this would be a great introduction to the literature guides for him with a familiar book. Not only that, but he would be able to really dive down deeper into the literature than he did with his leisurely reading.
Each Student Study Guide and Teacher Guide in this set is a soft cover book with a glossy, full-color cover and black and white pages inside. There are between 27-50 pages in each Student Study Guide, and between 59-76 pages per Teacher Guide.
The format in each of them is very similar, and students can rely on the structure and routine of the way that the guides are laid out and will quickly come to know what to expect. The guides are divided into chapters (or stories) from the literature that it corresponds to and includes Teaching Guidelines in the front of the books, as well as an extensive Appendix with maps, literature excerpts, photos, and/or blank templates for assignments depending on the Student Study Guide. The Blue Fairy Book guide is the only one without an appendix.
The Blue Fairy Book
I thought the best way to describe this program in depth would be to show you a bit of a sneak peek sample of one of the guides.
Every guide, both Student and Teacher, have a Contents page. The Blue Fairy Book is separated into different short stories, so the different assignments correspond to each short story. In the other guides, it is broken down by chapter of the literature instead. Those guides also have an appendix at the end of the guide.
Each lesson in this guide spans 2 pages and follows exactly the same format for every lesson, including Reading Notes, Vocabulary, Comprehension Questions, Quotations, Discussion Questions, and Enrichment. As you can see, there is blank space for students to write in the guides themselves, making this essentially a workbook for the assignments.
The Teacher Guide closely mirrors the Student Study Guide. The cover matches, in fact!
The Teacher Guides are longer than the student one because they also include some additional information. Besides just offering an answer key for each lesson’s exercises, it includes quizzes, tests, and answer keys. It also includes answers to the discussion questions that students are asked to complete.
The Cricket in Times Square
Heath was excited to see this book in the bunch, because he has previously read it but couldn’t remember what had happened in the story. I told him we were using this for his literature curriculum for the school year, and he was happy! I love the literature selections in this literature guide pack. I’m so glad that the selections are perfect for girls and boys to get engaged in the reading and corresponding assignments. That makes my job as the teacher so much easier, because it is no struggle at all to get my son to do the work. Hallelujah!
He couldn’t remember seeing his older siblings doing these guides, but both of my older kids have done them before. I assured him that the lessons would be thorough, but also fairly quick. Basically, he would need to read the chapter, and complete the pages that corresponded to it.
It was all pretty self-explanatory once he saw the Student Study Guide, so he jumped right in.
I love the variety of the vocabulary in this program. Not only are they introduced to words that they might have just glossed over when reading, but they are asked to define several. I let Heath write down his own definition for words if he knew it, but had him use a dictionary to look up unknown words. This is a good way to work on research skills!
As you can see below from the Teacher Guide for this book, I’m provided with the same Teaching Guidelines as are mentioned in the Student Guide, as well as comprehensive answers for each Chapter, an Appendix with the information the students will access, as well as a Teacher Key with answers to discussion questions, blank copies of quizzes and the final test, and answer keys for those quizzes and tests.
I like that the format is easy to follow and mirrors the student’s worktext. I also appreciate the answers to the discussion questions, because when I’m running in twenty different directions and don’t exactly remember what happened in a particular chapter, this guide has me covered so that I know if my child is on the right track or not with their answers.
This book is a little unique in the set, because the lessons are divided up a bit differently. Instead of just being by chapter, each chapter is divided into 2 different lessons. For example, there is a lesson for Chapter 3, Part 1 (and it includes page numbers for reference) and Chapter 3, Part 2.
This guide also has a lesson called “Elements of Literature, Chapters 1-3”, which specifically has students working on what they’ve learned from the first 3 chapters in terms of character, setting, plot, character identification, and illustration. There is another Elements of Literature lesson for chapters 4-6.
This guide also has 2 Quiz Review lessons right in the student book, a lesson on Comparing and Contrasting, a Vocabulary Crossword, and a Final Test Review all in the Student Study Guide.
All of these extra elements make me feel like the Homer Price guide would be an excellent final guide to complete at the end of the school year. This one steps it up with more test prep and review!
There were several creative assignments for the students to complete. This was actually something I wasn’t expecting in the literature guides for fourth graders! As you can see in this Homer Price assignment, students learn about the author of the story, Robert McCloskey. Then they are assigned the task to create their very own comic strip!
Another cool creative assignment in the literature guides is this drawing page in the Dangerous Journey Student Guide. My daughter is the real artist in this household, so my boys tend to shy away from even trying, even when I encourage them to go for it. I love that this assignment will give my son, Heath, a place to unleash his art skills and creativity. I love to see the images in his mind make it to paper, so I look forward to doing this guide so I will be able to appreciate his vision visually.
I love how concise the Memoria Press literature guides are. There is no busy work and there are no flashy illustrations or crazy fonts to distract students. It is well laid out and easy to understand. The literature selections are interesting and perfect for holding the interest of boys and girls.
Students get to work on penmanship, reading comprehension, understanding story elements, vocabulary, research skills, mapwork, and so much more. It really incorporates so much in these short lessons.
I feel like this 4th grade set is perfect for the grade level, and gives a good mix of serious book work and creative assignments, which I wasn’t expecting! I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved this grade level’s guides. I’m truly looking forward to using all four of them for the upcoming school year for the literature component of my son’s school year.
My family has had the pleasure of reviewing many Memoria Press resources over the past several years. If you have been considering Classical Education resources, or wish to add more literature to your curriculum, it’s in your best interest to keep this company and their excellent products in mind. I hope that you’ll check out our reviews:
- Simply Classical Spelling Review
- Poetry & Short Stories: American Literature Set
- New American Cursive 2 Famous Americans
- Music Appreciation I Curriculum
- American History
- Greek Myths Study
- Memoria Press Fifth Grade Literature Guide Set
- Famous Men of Rome
- First Start Reading Program
- First Form Latin Review
Read what other Homeschool Review Crew members reviewed, with many different levels of the literature guides, by clicking the banner below: