YWAM Publishing publishes a large selection of books for young people about Christian heroes and “Heroes of History.” We recently finished reading Heroes of History- Ronald Reagan and using the accompanying Heroes of History-Ronald Reagan Study Guide.
I’ve read several books from the Heroes of History series, and Ronald Reagan: Destiny at His Side, by Janet and Geoff Benge is my favorite. Possibly this is because he is a recent “hero,” and I remember many of the incidents in the biography from his years as president. The biography gave a complete look at his life, but never felt bogged down in details.
The book begins with Reagan’s early years, telling about his childhood in Illinois growing up in a working class family with a father who had trouble holding down a job because of his drinking. It tells of Reagan’s struggle to pay for college and his perseverance, his rise to fame as an actor, then his years as governor of California, and president of the United States.
Portions of many of his speeches were included in the book, reminding me of Reagan’s love for his country, his devotions to the principles of freedom and smaller government, and his unique ability to unify rather than divide. These speeches were actually my favorite parts of the biography. There is a reason Ronald Reagan was called the “Great Communicator!” As we go through this election season, I am reminded of the qualities a leader should have—a heart to serve the country rather than to grab power, honesty, and the desire to be the president for all the people. I hope that reading this book will help my daughter and other readers to identify which personal qualities are important to develop in order to be a good citizen and Christian witness.
The accompanying PDF study guide includes a variety of activities for enhancing the book:
- Comprehension questions for each chapter
- Essay questions
- Creative Writing
- Hands-on Projects (Learn to can food, make a newspaper featuring Reagan.)
- Arts and Crafts (Build a crystal radio set, pop-up book, or collage about his life.)
- Suggestions for field trips and community resources (such as people to interview on related topics)
- Mapping activities
There are enough activities and content in the guide to create a month-long unit study if desired. I would rate the book as an upper elementary to middle school level, although it was interesting for me and my high school student as well. Some of the study guide activities, especially the writing assignments, are very appropriate for high school students. Although the guide could be used to simply study the book and the life of Ronald Reagan, suggestions and activities are provided to expand the content into other areas, such as related literature, the geography and history of Illinois and California, and science exploration. It is suggested that the student organize a culminating event with displays, food, and presentations. Finally, a list of additional resources is provided—books, websites, and movies about or featuring Reagan. .
We used the comprehension questions and picked a few of the other activities to try. Emily completed a fact sheet and timeline that summarized Reagan’s life and I plan to have her work on some of the writing assignments as well.
We have have enjoyed YWAM biographies, and this book in particular. I would recommend the Heroes of History Series as a supplement to any history program.
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