Readers in Residence

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Every year I say I will use a literature program in our homeschool. And every year this topic gets overlooked in favor of math, grammar, writing, history, or science.

This summer I was determined to do a fun literature study with all of my kids as part of a group study.

I chose Readers in Residence because it looked fun, colorful, easy to use, and I liked the book choices in the program.

  • Readers in Residence is designed to teach the elements of plot, character development, and theme.
  • It is written from a Christian worldview and aims to help students evaluate literature in light of Scripture.
  • It teaches reading strategies and encourages readers to approach literature as sleuths looking for connections and deeper meaning.

We completed half of the book over our summer study. I purchased only the student book as I didn’t feel I would need an answer key for the program since we were doing the literature as read alouds and doing the discussions as a group.

What did we think?

Pros

I liked the approach to literature in that students are the sleuths trying to make predictions and find deeper meanings in the text. This is a fun way to encourage kids to read literature with a more focused and trained eye.

The book itself is colorful and the instructions are clear. It requires almost zero planning other than obtaining the needed literature books.

I felt the explanations of plot and character development were easy to understand. And we really enjoyed the various discussion questions throughout the text. It made it simple to have our own family book club. It was an enjoyable time of discussion literature together.

I liked how the program listed key vocabulary words from each chapter of the program and asked kids to guess the meaning of the word in context and then look up the words in a dictionary to check the meaning. This helped my kids learn to pay attention to context clues and figure out the meanings of new words on their own.

We enjoyed the background stories on the authors and the ideas for creating a book club or doing projects related to the books. I also appreciated the way the program introduced some grammar concepts and focused heavily on the various genres of literature. There were so many great concepts introduced in the program.

Cons

The student text is filled with worksheets, charts, and rubrics. While I found these to be helpful guides. I felt that they overcomplicated the program. I didn’t feel I needed to assess and provide grades for our literature studies. And we didn’t fill out the worksheets as it was more enjoyable to do them together orally.

I felt like the student book was giant and bulky. It made the program seem intimidating and overwhelming. I wondered if some of the assignments, charts, and rubrics could be simplified and streamlined to make less written work. It just felt like a lot of written work, at least for my kids.

There were many worksheets and aspects of this program that I didn’t use. Sometimes the worksheets or rubrics in the book seemed really redundant and there were many pages that we skipped over in the book. It left me wishing the program was more condensed and focused more on the literary elements with more text and fewer worksheets. We found it much easier to do portions of this aloud as completing all the worksheets would be very time-consuming.

Overall

The program contains a lot of checklists to help the student work more independently. It was organized to show the student exactly what to do for each chapter. And the worksheets allow a student to work on his own. This is very helpful if you need a child to work independently. But I feel literature is more fun when discussed and studied together as possible. So these sheets were not needed in our homeschool. There were sometimes 3 pages of the checklist/rubric at the end of a unit. It was very thorough, if a little overwhelming.

I really liked the program and the way the information was presented. Yet, I think it’s not quite what I was looking for in a literature program. I would rather have a program that came with a colorful text that dove more deeply into literary elements with a companion workbook that helped the student analyze several works of literature in light of what is covered in the text. This program is an all-in-one student text and workbook; therefore, it’s massive and a little challenging to use due to sheer size.

While there are a few things I would wish were slightly different in this curriculum, overall we enjoyed using it. I like the way it teaches literature and I feel like the questions and explanations of literary terms are well-done. We plan to use it again next summer to complete the units that we did not finish. We’ll just modify it slightly to suit our needs, since the program is easy to adapt.

So far, it’s my favorite literature program that I’ve found for homeschool. It’s interesting and engaging and contains excellent discussion questions. It’s so much more than just writing a book report or answering endless short answer questions about a book.

Disclaimer: I purchased this book for use within my homeschool. I was not compensated in any way for this review. All opinions are my own.

Find more homeschool reviews and encouragement here:

Lightning Literature

I’m Quitting My Language Arts Curriculum and Here’s Why

10 Measures of a Successful Homeschool Day

Should You Homeschool Year-Round?

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