The kids and I love to read together in the mornings before we start our workbook subjects for the day. We switch around and read a variety of different books including historical fiction, classics, biographies, and fantasy. Right now we are loving the first book in C.S. Lewis’ fantasy series, the Chronicles of Narnia.
This month we’ve been using the Fifth Grade Literature Guide Set from Memoria Press to enhance our study of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Though we always enjoy reading quality literature, this study has been a great learning experience for all of us and has really increased our appreciation of a good story.
Memoria Press Literature Guides
Memoria Press was founded in 1994 by a former homeschool mom, Cheryl Lowe. With an emphasis in liberal arts, Memoria Press provides a variety of Christian educational materials for homeschools, Christian schools, and private schools. We were able to review their Latin curriculum, Latina Christiana, last year and loved it.
This year Memoria Press very generously sent us their entire Fifth Grade Literature Guide Set to review. This beautiful set of literature study guides includes both student study guides and teacher’s manuals for Lassie Come-Home, Heidi, and The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, for a total of six glossy paper back books.
Memoria Press offers literature guides for all ages ranging from preschool to highschool. You can purchase study guides separately, as a set, or as a set with novels included.
Thoughts and Usage
We started our review of this set with the study guide for The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. We already owned this novel by C.S. Lewis, so we were ready to begin as soon as the books arrived in the mail.
Since we normally read together everyday, we were able to complete about a chapter a day. Sometimes, though, there would be more writing than my son could handle on any particular day, so we would split the study guide activities into two days.
The student study guide is divided into these sections:
- Reading Notes
- Comprehension Questions
- Discussion Questions
We started out by reading through the “Reading Notes” section. This section picks out words or phrases used in the chapter that may need some explaining, such as “champing their bits” or “saccharine tablet”. I appreciated that these terms were explained in the study guide because we couldn’t necessarily go straight to the dictionary to find their meaning.
Next, we went over the chapter’s vocabulary. The vocabulary list was not overwhelming, only 2-4 words needed defining at a time. I had my son look up the words in the dictionary and write out the meaning in his workbook. Had there been more vocabulary words, I know my son would have had a meltdown but this small list was the perfect number of words to study.
I read the chapter aloud and my son listened. We started out doing the comprehension questions after reading the chapter, but we soon discovered that it was easier to fill out the answers to the comprehension questions as we read along. So, we would read the first comprehension question and then listen for the answer. When we came across the answer in our reading, my son would fill it in. This worked out very well for us!
The discussion questions were great at encouraging deeper thinking. We went over these questions verbally after reading the chapter and completing all the comprehension questions.
Lastly, the “Enrichment” section contained a variety of activities. The enrichment section could include dictation, a drawing activity, some map work, copywork, or research. We even came across a recipe for making Turkish Delight! We didn’t complete all the Enrichment activities all the time. We did them as time and interest allowed.
The teacher’s manual is set up exactly the same as the student study guide, only with the answers filled in, as seen in the photo above. There are teaching guidelines in the front of the teacher’s manual that are helpful in knowing how to use the study guide with your child.
I found the teacher’s manual to be especially helpful. Sometimes I wanted to know if my son should be more specific in his answer or I’d be confused as to what kind of answer they were looking for and would turn to the teacher’s manual for help.
After every four chapters there is a quiz in the back of the teacher’s manual for your child to take. The quizzes are usually fun and easy. They’re not too intimidating. They have vocabulary matching, fill-in-the-blanks, multiple choice questions, some short comprehension questions, and lastly, a short essay question. The answer key for the quizzes are provided as well. A final test is also included.
The study guides for Heidi and Lassie Come-Home are set up much like the guide to The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. I love that they are organized so similarly because we can then easily transition to using the rest of the series. The Lassie Come-Home study guide even includes more mapwork, which my son loves! We are excited to move on to this next study soon.
I have really enjoyed using these literature study guides with my son. My son has gotten so much more out of our reading time together by using these study guides than he would have without them.
These study guides have made my son a better listener, a more active listener and has bettered his reading comprehension by far. He’s been building his vocabulary and has been challenged to be more alert while reading or listening to a story.
We’d definitely recommend them for anyone looking for a good literature study!