Thursday, May 29, 2014

Progeny Press Guide—Hunger Games (Schoolhouse Review)

Progeny Press Review

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Product: The Hunger Games Study Guide

Publisher: Progeny Press

Price: $21.99

Age: Grades 8-12

 

 

 

I’ve long been a fan of Progeny Press Guides, so I was glad to have the chance to review The Hunger Games Study Guide. Emily has wanted to read The Hunger Games for a couple of years, but I didn’t think she was quite ready, given the amount of violence and the mature themes of the book. Now that she’s almost 14, and we had a study guide to aid in discussing the book, the time was right.

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Progeny Press suggests that the student read the entire book before beginning the study. We didn’t do this; I made sure that Emily kept ahead of her assigned sections in the guide, and she did actually finish reading the book in less than 2 weeks, while we took 4 weeks to complete the guide.

Progeny Press guides are published in two formats: print and PDF. We received the PDF to review. I normally prefer print items, but this guide is an exception. Because the PDF is “writeable,” I didn’t have to print it. Emily was able to type all her answers directly into the guide. She really enjoyed doing this, and I think it was easier for her to do than to have to write everything out in a workbook. I put the guide in a shared Dropbox folder, so she could do the work on her computer and I could check it on mine. The answer guide was in a separate PDF, which I eventually did print, deciding that would be easier than switching between the 2 PDF’s while checking her work.

The Hunger Games Study Guide opens with ideas for pre-reading activities, which include learning archery, researching edible plants, and learning about utopian and dystopian societies. Emily chose a few of these to do—learning about archery and practicing with her “backyard set” bow and arrow, and writing a short paper about her idea of a utopian society.

The study guide chapters themselves chunk 3-4 of the book chapters together, and include vocabulary exercises, comprehension questions, and questions that require deeper thinking and application of the material, about 12-20 questions per section.  Also included are questions that teach literary concepts such as flashbacks, similes, and exposition, then ask the student to find examples of each in the book.  Each chapter concludes with optional writing or research activities to expand the topic.  The guide suggests having the student complete one page per day, but I didn’t want to spend two months on the book, so Emily completed 2-3 pages per day to finish the book in a month. This was very doable. We skipped most of the optional end-of-chapter assignments in the interest of time, but they are a great way to add more writing to this literature study and to fill it out more.

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The guide ends with 10 suggestions for essays and writing assignments. I let Emily choose which one she wanted to complete, so she researched the Greek legend of the Minotaur and wrote an essay that compared and contrasted that story with the Capitol and its Hunger Games.

Although Emily did most of the work independently, I checked her answers and discussed any that were incomplete. We had some good discussions sparked by topics in the guide. I really liked that the questions helped her understand the book as a piece of literature, by analysis of plot, characters, and so on and that the questions often required higher levels of thinking than simple comprehension questions. Many asked, “Why do you think a character acted this way?” or “What is the paradox in this scene?” Other questions required her to look up Scripture passages and compare the actions of characters to the teachings of the Bible.

We found the Progeny Press The Hunger Games Study Guide to be an enjoyable way to study a book, and plan to use more studies in the future.

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I received a copy of the product in exchange for my honest review.

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