Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Progeny Press Eagle of the Ninth (Schoolhouse Review)

imageMy children have used several Progeny Press literature guides over the years and have loved them, so I was very happy for the opportunity to do a review of the guide for Eagle of the Ninth.
Progeny Press offers literature study guides for over 100 books, from kindergarten to high school levels. The guides include questions of several types—multiple choice, fill-in-the blank, and essay that cover reading comprehension, vocabulary, literary techniques, and critical thinking/analysis. Pre-reading and post-reading assignments are also included. These suggest research or hands-on activities to help the student learn more about the time period or topics in the book.
Since we just finished studying ancient Rome a few months ago, we didn’t do the pre-reading activities for the Eagle of the Ninth guide, which included reading about ancient Rome, Roman legions and officers, and studying the geography and tribes of  Britain. When we finish, we will choose one or more of the “essays and projects” at the end, which include:
  • writing a eulogy for Marcus’ father
  • writing a letter to the editor appealing to the (Roman) Senate
  • analyzing parallel characters in the story
  • analyzing Sutcliff’s use of the rose motif
The suggested time frame for each study guide is 8-12 weeks, although we moved faster through ours. Emily enjoyed the activities and was happy to do about 3 pages a day instead of the recommended 1 page.
Progeny Press guides are available in either print or PDF formats. I generally prefer print formats, but the  interactive  PDF format is wonderful. Emily loves being able to just type her answers into the PDF (and I love not having to print the entire guide myself). She did have the problem a couple of times with not saving her work and losing it, though! (A frustrating, but valuable lesson for her!)
What I Liked:
  • The vocabulary activities varied from chapter to chapter, and included multiple choice, use in sentences, and synonyms and antonyms.
  • The student is encouraged to look for foreshadowing and symbolism.
  • Good critical thinking and application questions  in addition to simple reading comprehension questions.
  • A thorough answer key that made checking work easy and didn’t require that the parent read the book.
  • Quality questions and activities that are not “fluff” or a waste of time.
I recommend Progeny Press Literature Guides both as a way to “go deeper” into a book and as a full language arts program that covers vocabulary, literature analysis, and writing.
The Eagle of the Ninth study guide, suitable for grades 7-9,  is available as a
  • Printed booklet ($18.99)
  • CD ($16.99)
  • Instant download ($16.99)
I received this product free in exchange for my honest review.

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