In the words of Curly, “Mom, I think I’ll just go read!”
Yes! That’s what I want to hear! That girl loves to read anything she can get her hands on! So, when we had the opportunity to review a reading product, we were both very excited. We watched for our UPS guy every day until our box arrived!
This program is designed to improve reading skills through engaging stories and poems. It also contains information about literary devices and introduces vocabulary words, grammar terms, various genres of stories and poems, and phonograms.
Reading Street is a full language arts curriculum in textbook form, not just a reading program.
Here’s a peek inside the reading text:
We received the full 3rd grade package. This included 2 hard back textbooks of stories, 2 CD Roms, and the Teacher Manual.
The CD Roms contain the student and teacher material in digital format, worksheets, transparencies, vocabulary cards, and a exam creator resource.
Are you ready for lots of images of the worksheets???? Here you go!
How We Used This Product:
I read through the scheduling portions of the Teacher Manual and browsed through the CD Roms. I printed off some resources for the first unit and we began.
As Curly completed the first unit, she and I both began to tire of all the worksheets. We decided to cut back on our worksheet load.
By the end of the next few units, we were just reading the stories aloud and discussing the topics. She would narrate aspects of the story back to me and we would look up vocabulary words. She would also tell me stories to complete the writing aspects of the program orally.
So, I can’t say we ended up using the program as written because I felt that scheduling all the different portions of the program proved to be difficult and the worksheets were very time consuming.
We enjoyed the stories in the textbooks as a read aloud though, doing most of our work orally.
Due to the various resources in the program, I found that I had a hard time switching between the Teacher Manual, reading books, and CD Roms. There is so much information included that it can be difficult to decide what to use, how to schedule each component, and where to begin. I would not consider this product open-and-go as it does take quite a bit of forethought to review all the resources and schedule the work for each week.
The CD Roms contain many of worksheets. Obviously you do not need to use them all, but if you did there would be a lot of worksheets. The program contained too many worksheets for us and many of the worksheets felt like overkill to me.
The exam creator CD Rom had quite a few steps for the install. I found it difficult to use and to determine how to upload tests and get them scored. Since we don’t have to keep test records for our state, I wasn’t planning to use the resource and I didn’t feel we needed additional worksheets. But the setup was quite complicated and I’m pretty sure that I still have not completed it properly.
The Teacher Manual was arranged topically and not necessarily in the order of the reading books. This meant I had to do lots of flipping back and forth between sections. Also, many ideas pertained to more of a classroom setting. I found the manual to be difficult to follow and overwhelming with the amount of information it contained.
The reading books were brightly colored but the pages were cluttered with lots of extra information and details in the margins. The pictures were cartoonish on some of the stories (which bothered Curly at times). Sometimes all the added information in the reading books was distracting as she tried to read the stories.
This program, when used with all the resources, would be a complete language arts resource, not just a reading program. It is also non-consumable and could be used for more than one student as all the resources are printable from the CD Roms.
Curly enjoyed the stories in the reading books and it was excellent practice for her to hone her read aloud skills. The pages are brightly-colored and inviting. There are multiple genres of stories in both books, so Curly was reading a wide variety of styles. I liked only having one collection of stories for her to read as we were in the midst of moving. It is sometimes so hard to keep track of all the little readers!
The program reviewed many aspects of grammar and writing as well as introducing vocabulary words in context. All the skills introduced were tied to the stories and topics. In this way, the learning felt integrated.
I mistakenly thought this program was simply a reading program and was surprised to find the wealth of resources and topics covered.
This is a 3rd grade resource, yet I was using it with a 6-year-old child who had just completed the equivalent of her Kindergarten year. However, Curly has become a strong reader and I felt she was up for the challenge. And……….I was right. Curly was able to read most of the selections, only needing help with a few words. We had great discussions about the various genres introduced in the book as well as the literary devices used. It was a great introduction since we had not covered subjects such as character, plot, setting, homophones, and narrative poems before. Some of the grammar topics had not yet been covered in our K year, and I didn’t plan to introduce them until 1st or 2nd grade. However, Reading Street provided an excellent setting to discuss complete sentences and other grammar topics. Because of her young age, Curly did not master the literary elements or grammar topics, but rather received an introduction and basic understanding of the main ideas. The vocabulary words we used as a point of discussion and I would point them out in context as we encountered them. We had fun adding them to our daily conversation.
As far as the reading level goes, I found Reading Street to be on the easier side (at least for a strong reader like Curly). I’m not familiar with grade levels, but most of these stories did not seem difficult. If a child was a strong reader and was at the 3rd grade level in other subjects, they might find the material to be too easy. However, it might be just the key for practicing reading aloud and building fluency.
The grammar skills started off simply with introducing complete sentences and fragments. They did progress throughout the program and became too complex for Curly.
The writing and literary aspect of the program seemed to be on an appropriate level and students were encouraged to write works in the various genres presented in the program. However, a lot of writing was required of the student, both on worksheets and in creating original sentences and stories.
I have to say that I was the most disappointed with the vocabulary. Some of those words were very simple to Curly, much less a 3rd grade level student. One such word was “bat.” The program did discuss that bat had more than one definition and the student would need to infer the meaning of the word after reading the word in context. However, I thought more challenging words could have been used.
Despite the busyness of the reading book and the excess of worksheets, Curly enjoyed reading the stories, practicing reading aloud fluently, and having wonderful discussions on each aspect of the various stories. Curling up on the couch together and exploring the elements of literature and being introduced to grammar concepts was a fun time together. This program is certainly a textbook, school-at-home approach to learning language arts which is not the best fit for our classical, Charlotte Mason leaning homeschool. However, we enjoyed using Reading Street as a discussion tool and read aloud, just not quite using the resources in their intended way.
I think we’ll revisit this curriculum when Curly is ready for more of the literary elements and grammar concepts in a year or two. By then she will be able to complete much of the work on the worksheets independently. We will probably still have to modify the amount of worksheets but I think we will like how the language arts concepts are integrated. But I will have to change up the textbook feel a little for us, using narration and notebooking and other tools-we’re just too eclectic for a textbook solely.
The 3rd grade Reading Street bundle can be purchased from Pearson for $124.99.
A note to blog readers about this product: The Reading Street website from Pearson does not seem to be updated at the time of this post. The version shown on their site is the older version. I received the updated version with a different cover than the one shown. Also, I do not see a place to purchase the Reading Street bundle that I received. Hopefully Pearson will update their site to reflect the bundle purchases and current version of the product. (Are you confused yet? I am………)
Check out the other reviews of Pearson Homeschool from the Review Crew here!
Disclaimer: As a part of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for an honest review.