Topic: Homeschool Product Review
John Allen, our oldest, went to public school through third grade. There were various reasons why we felt the Lord was leading us to homeschool. Those are discussions for another post. I will say, however, that he had excellent teachers during his four years in the elementary classroom. In fact, I credit his second grade teacher for instilling his love for reading. There were two second grade teachers who had been teaching for years - Mrs. Young and Mrs. Clouse. In fact, both of them are retiring this year after many faithful years as excellent teachers. Mrs. Young and Mrs. Clouse worked together in many ways and were very resourceful teachers. When the school system decided to switch reading curriculum, as they did every five or six years, they didn't throw away the old sets of reading books, they saved them and used them. I am telling you the truth - the year John Allen was in second grade, they must have gone through six reading books! They were always reading. They had their regular story every week, then they also had one or two other stories that they read that week. From that year on, John Allen has loved reading.
That's why I was thrilled when I was chosen to review a set of 2nd grade reading books developed by Scott Foresman called "Reading Street". Scott Foresman is a company that develops curriculum for public schools, but is really wanting to get into the homeschool market. Before you totally exit out of my blog, however, let me tell you that I was doubtful at first that this would be something that would work with homeschoolers, but am now convinced that for some homeschoolers it may be a worthwhile investment.
Here's what I really liked about Reading Street:
- Joshua really loves it! This is probably my main reason for liking it, although there are some other great features. The stories are very interesting and the pictures are colorful. Although this is not a Christian company and the stories may not have a religious theme, I have seen nothing immoral about any of them. Also, we haven't read through all of the stories, but so far there has been very little mention of evolution or other controversial topics. There was one story in the second book that told about the life cycle of frogs and mentioned that frogs had lived "230 million years ago". When we get to that story, I intend to use that comment (the rest of the story was wonderful) to have a discussion about what we believe.
- It is very well laid out and, as I mentioned above the stories are great. The set that I received has two books. Each book has three units in it with about 10 stories in each unit. The unit topics are right down Joshua's alley and include - Exploration, Working Together and Creative Ideas in book one and Our Changing World, Responsibility and Traditions in book two. In each unit there are five main stories with five other stories that are "coupled" with the main stories. For example, one of the stories in Unit One was "Exploring Space With An Astronaut". It was coupled with a story titled "A Trip to Space Camp".
- The third thing I liked about these books was the extras. At the beginning of each group of two stories there is a word list of about six words that may be new or harder to read. Then there is a short five or six sentence story using all of those words in it. I had Joshua read the words and then the story and, if he had problems, we discussed the difficult words. There is also a little blip that explains the Genre of each story. That's something that I would have never thought to explain to Joshua. At the end or the first story is a comprehension section and an "about the author" section. I really like that this curriculum encourages the student to retell the story to help with reading comprehension. They have six of the pictures from the story in order at the bottom of the page. Joshua was able to look at the pictures and retell what he had read. At the end of the second story there is a very simple "Writing and Grammar" section - another thing that I don't recall ever being included in my reading books when I was growing up, but is a wonderful addition.
All in all, I was really pleased and pleasantly surprised with these books. Joshua loves them, they are simply laid out and have just the right amount of comprehension activities to enforce what he is learning. It could easily be used as a core reading curriculum if you wanted, but I like it just as a supplemental resource.
Now, before I tell you the price of these two books, let me explain something. Each on of the main stories that are in these books can be bought as a stand alone book at Wal-Mart or at your local book store. Each one, however, would cost $3 on up to $10 or more if bought separately. Just as an experiment, I looked on Amazon for the five main books from Unit One. They added up to be around $50 if bought new! So, how much does "Reading Street" cost? If bought together the two books can be $86.97. Separately they're $43.47 each. Remember, though, that these are beautifully bound books with all of the stories in them and with the added comprehension/grammar sections. Why go through all of the hassle of buying each one of those great children's books separately and spending all of that money if you don't have to. Just click here or on anyone of the hi-lighted links above for more information. The website that you are lead to has other supplemental resources that I can't vouch for because we didn't receive them, but look great. There is also a website of free supplemental lesson plans, activities and other things developed by teachers that are ready to be printed out and used. You can find them by clicking here. Finally, other TOS Crew members reviewed reading street and some of the other great Scott Foresman products and you can find them by clicking here. Happy Homes Educating!
As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I received book one and book two of Reading Street - 2nd grade in order to try out and review on my blog.