Thursday, March 31, 2016

A TOS Review: Memoria Press 8th Grade Literature

I know I am not alone in my absolute love for good literature. And it doesn’t get any better than some those great old books.  I’ve always tried to incorporate literature into our homeschool. It fact, it often takes center stage.  We recently got the chance to review the Eighth Grade Literature Guide Set  from Memoria Press.

I have to tell you about the wonderful box of goodies I received. Memoria Press was beyond generous! I received the ENTIRE 8th grade set, which included 4 Teacher’s Guide and 4 Student Study Guides.

The literature covered in this set is a delightful assortment.

Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Treasure Island by Robert Louise Stevenson
As You Like It by William Shakespeare.

These literature guides concentrations on vocabulary, spelling, comprehension, and composition skills.  

Let me show you how it works.

We chose to read Tom Sawyer for this review. Each Chapter has its own lesson to work through. After reading, Josiah and I would sit down and discuss each section of the Study Guide.

First there is a section of Reading Notes. Now this is used prior to reading the chapters. This section really helped while reading Tom Sawyer. Mark Twain is known for his very folksy writing style. Not to mention it was written well over 100 years ago. For example, we learned what “pantalettes” are and that Huckleberry Finn is the son of the town drunk. All items in the Reading Notes are places, events, people and vocabulary words that might be unfamiliar to the reader.

The next portion of the Study Guide are the Vocabulary words. The number of words varied (generally around 6 or more). Because Josiah and I took turns to reading the book we watched out for the words listed so that we could talk about the meaning on the stop.

The Comprehension Questions are just that. The student is sometimes required to summarize an event or dig a bit deeper into the author’s intentions.

There is a Quotations section that ask the student “name the speaker and anyone to or spoken about.”

Many times Josiah had to decide if it was a character speaking or the narrator.

There are also a few Discussion Questions that we talked about orally (no writing!)

The last section, a Focus Passage, digs deep.

Here is an example.

In one of the lessons the student is asked to focus on the following paragraph that begins with…

“He left the presence too miserable to even feel vengeful towards Sid.”

The assignment asks “What does this paragraph describe?” There is a question about cause and effect. The student then is asked to paraphrase the last seven sentences.  

What great practice!

I need to tell you a little bit about the other guides in this Literature Guide set.

The Wind in the Willows - This guide is set up very similarly to the Tom Sawyer Guide. The best difference I can see is that the student is required to record the Reading Notes as opposed to have the words already defined for them. I imagine this would be done while the student is reading the book.

Treasure Island - This guide has the core components as the other two. The Reading Notes are already written in. The biggest difference with this guide is that there are Enrichment ideas. For example, a student my illustrate a scene or research an aspect of the book. I believe I saw an assignment to create a treasure map!

As You Like It - This is the most unique of the Literature Guides. This guide is begins with a character log. I needed one of these in High School! The lessons are divided up into Acts. There is a vocabulary section and then a series of Journal Prompts. A Quotes section is next. The student is required to identify the speaker, whom is being spoken to, the situation and what it all means. The Th longest section are the Comprehension Questions. Fear not! The Teacher's Guide gives us big kids all the answers.

Each guide has Tests, Quizzes or Review Questions ready for you to use as you wish. 

My Thoughts

Memoria Press is a Classical Education company. Classical Education is stringent and these guides are certainly challenging. I am not opposed to that at all. My only concern is that I don’t want this Great Books to become a burden by all this analysis.

Nevertheless, the guides are extremely well put together and thorough. Josiah liked that all the lessons followed the same structure. They also provided great conversations.

I love, love, love the quality of literature involved in these books. I’m telling you. Shakespeare looks a lot less daunting. The Teacher’s Guides also don’t leave anything to chance. I didn’t have to guess where to lead a conversation. I am thinking that we will study As You Like It next. The Teacher's Guide will make it all less intimidating. 

With some modifications, we thoroughly enjoyed our experience with Memoria Press.  If you are looking for a quality literature guide for any grade they can help!

You can connect with Memoria Press via the following social media outlets. Click on the banner below to read more reviews.

Memoria Press Literature Guides Review

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