I LOVE to read. My oldest son? Not so much. So I am always seeking other ways to make reading more interesting. To bring a book to life, in a sense, so he can see a relation to life as he knows it. So when I was given the opportunity to review a couple literature guides for The Door in the Wall and The Courage of Sarah Noble from Progeny Press, I thought it would be a great way to mix things up a bit; try something new. I never heard of Progeny Press before either. If you too are unfamiliar with them. Progeny Press is a Christian company that seeks to help children enjoy and understand literature with a Biblical worldview. Progeny Press provides a wide variety of study guides ranging from lower elementary to high school level. There are also study guides available for many different pieces of literature too!
So we received two materials for review. The Door in the Wall, E-Guide, $15.99, recommended for grades 3-5 and The Courage of Sarah Noble E-Guide, $10.99, recommended for grades K-3. Both of these were a real treat although my boys definitely enjoyed The Door in the Wall a bit more than The Courage of Sarah Noble (which was my favorite!).
We began with The Door in the Wall, meant for upper elementary level students. I really appreciated how the guide broke things down for each day; intended for 8-12 weeks (we took a bit longer). My son really struggles with reading and comprehension work. Typically not long after he finishes reading something he has trouble trying to recall what he just read. That said we took a longer time going through this E-Guide, These are very well done though and I think they were a great help to him in some ways. It was a great help to him – that he could use the interactive guide – so he could type out his answers 🙂 This helped keep us a bit more organized too; while the pages can certainly be printed out, we have enough paper, that being able to manage some work online like this is a good thing!
Throughout the readings there were references to scriptures. My son thought that was awesome! I was pleased that something was getting his attention. We did quite a bit of re-reads because of his struggles with focusing in on the story. A number of times we had to really break things down, go back, read it again and again – some days more than others, as much as he could take in, and then try to get through a few questions. There were some days he did not want to stop reading! Some days he did not want to read at all and so we did some vocabulary, or spent some time on the questions within the E-Guides (which are really good by the way; they know how to make you think!) It was interesting to hear his thoughts as we went along.Some days his depth of understanding amazed me; other days I was not sure if we were reading the same thing. ha. -ha
For example, one question reads: When Robin shivered at the thought of swimming in the icy water, Brother Luke tells him, “It strengthens thy spirit to do a hard thing.” What do you think he means?” This resulted in some very lively discussions and many references to scripture too. It was refreshing to hear my boys confirm that its important to do those hard things even when we do not want to; “when we think we cannot we have to be strong i the spirit.” And my four year old chirping in with “Jesus will keep him warm and safe in the water” The lessons woven within the story and the guides themselves are so amazing! On so many different levels too.
I am already shopping for more of these guides. I admit I do think these were a bit overwhelming for my son, but I also really liked how there was a challenge there for him (and me too in some cases). It is so important for us to be able to understand and see things, according to the truths of scripture – to have materials like this to help guide you in the process – It’s a great thing if you ask me! For are we not called to “test ALL things” according to His word? These are a fabulous help; as we go deeper in His word.