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ereks mom

Please help me choose a textbook for language arts with literature!

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We've been using living books that go along with our history studies, but now we need something that is less time-intensive for me and more straight-forward for the girls. They are asking for short stories instead of novels, and they like workbooks. So I'm looking for a textbook/anthology + workbook/worksheet format, 6th or 7th grade level. (And we will supplement with a few novels also because I just can't let that go entirely!) I've been googling and looking on Amazon and reading reviews...and my head is spinning! Please help me figure this out!

 

Here are my must-haves for a textbook literature and language arts program:

  • affordable -- I'm actually looking at previous editions so I can get everything cheaper. (Trouble is, sometimes the TE's and workbooks that go with a particular OOP student text aren't easy to find.)
  • grammar & vocabulary included in the main textbook (or at least in a supplementary workbook) -- preferably based on the reading selections in the textbook
  • MAJOR (primary) emphasis on vocabulary & writing, secondary emphasis on reading skills/literary analysis/elements/devices (theme, setting, character, plot, figurative language, foreshadowing, alliteration, hyperbole, etc.)
  • step by step writing instruction with rubrics/checklists for the student
  • good quality stories, preferably "classic" short stories or excerpt of literature by well-known authors (think: Ray Bradbury, O. Henry, Edgar Allan Poe, etc.)

I've been looking at the previous editions of these programs: BJU Explorations in Literature, MacMillan-McGraw Hill Treasures, Prentice Hall Timeless Voices Timeless Themes, Holt Elements of Literature, Glencoe Writer's Choice, and others. Which of these would you recommend?  Or feel free to suggest another.

 

ETA:  As I am thinking this through, I am realizing that I am not seeking a literature program.  I am looking for a writing program that incorporates literature, vocabulary, and grammar.

 

Also, I do not want an independent program. I will be teaching the lessons each day and assigning some homework to be done independently at home.

 

For the record, my students are NOT my personal children.  They are teen & preteen girls (5 of them), children of friends (or friends of friends). I try to keep costs low because the majority of my students are from single parent homes. Mosdos literature has been suggested, but it is not in our price range.

 

Edited by ereks mom

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Mosdos Press. Grades 3-8, Textword Press grades 9-12.

 

Though most literature books won't have a huge writing instruction section. Most of the ones you mentioned have it as part of their grammar texts. There are usually writing assignments in the lit books.

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Alas: I can think of NO Literature program for middle school OR high school that works ONLY with classic short stories by well-known authors. And I can think of no all-in-one Literature, Grammar, and Writing program, much less one that is workbook-based and independent. :(

 

My guess is that you will have to compromise in some of your wish list. And you may need to "part out" your LA to separate unrelated publishers -- Literature from one publisher; Writing from a second publisher; Grammar from a third publisher. Below are some ideas that have some elements of your wish list. I'm guessing Mosdos + separate Writing and Grammar programs would be your best bet, followed by BJUP  Literature + Writing & Grammar, or, CLE Reading + Language Arts.

 

Since your emphasis is on needing MAJOR work on the writing, I would recommend getting a STRONG writing program. Depending on the student and how remedial, that may NOT be a workbook-based program, but something that involves a lot of teaching, mentoring, and hand-holding.

 

Not sure what your budgetary constraints are, but starting in middle school and definitely into high school, everything becomes more expensive, so you might want to start saving, knowing that by high school each subject tends to average about $150/subject per student. Also, if you need materials to meet special learning needs or a very specific set of criteria, there usually are no inexpensive options out there, although you can sometimes reduce the cost by buying used, or by having students double up/share on non-consumables and textbooks.There are some free and low-cost options, but they usually require a lot more parent oversight, scheduling, teaching, participation in order to make it work -- sadly, you usually get to choose a program that will save you time, OR money, but not both -- and some programs will cost you both.  :ohmy: BEST of luck in deciding! Warmest regards, Lori D. 

 

 

LA -- Literature, Writing, Grammar

 

Christian Light Education

CLE is strongly Christian, so that may or may not fit your needs. It is workbooks, with TE. Once you cover the lesson the students would be able to work fairly independently. You would need to purchase both the subjects of Language Arts AND the Reading -- they are not integrated (i.e., the LA does not refer to the readings in the Literature). The LA integrates Grammar, Spelling, and Penmanship, and separately covers in-depth paragraph writing. The Reading is a reader book of moral stories written by CLE, so no famous authors or classic works; the integrated workbooks cover a very in-depth amount of literary terms and literary analysis (see the scope and sequence chart, scroll about halfway down the linked page).

- description of CLE subjects: grade 6, grade 7, grade 8

scope & sequence for all subjects for grades 1-8

 

Bob Jones University Press Grade 7 Explorations of Literature

BJUP also separates out the Literature from the other LA elements. It is a textbook with a teacher book, no workbooks. No personal experience, but I have heard others say it is a bit more parent time-intensive. Collection of classic short stories, poetry, essays, and excerpts from longer works, all from well-known authors, with teaching/explanation on literary elements and literary analysis in the student text, along with unit tests with multiple choice, matching, and T/F questions; short answer questions; and essays. Teacher materials include a text with complete student text + instructional notes to match, discussion with scripted questions, additional links, ideas, analysis tips. The CD-rom includes enrichment activities and printable worksheets: writing, short answer quizzes, ESL exercises, reading and vocabulary test practice, word lists. (Grade 6 and below are elementary readers; grade 7 is the first grade to focus on Literature and literary analysis.)

Explorations of Literature: table of contents and sample pages

BJUP Writing & Grammar grade 7: table of contents and sample pages

 

Total Language Plus

Uses complete novels. Covers Spelling, Vocabulary, Grammar, Writing, Critical Thinking, and Communication for each work read. Individual guide per book.

see book guide list

sample pages

 

 

Literature only

Lightning Literature 7 -- short stories, novels, poetry, biography

Gentle beginning formal Literature. Written to the student and can be done largely solo. Eight units: 3 novels (Tom Sawyer, Alice in Wonderland, All Creatures Great and Small); 2 poetry units (6-8 poems in each); 2 short stories (Rikki Tikki Tavi, Bride Comes to Yellow Sky). Student guide with 8-12 pages of teaching text per unit, plus 8-10 work pages to go with each unit. Also includes a 1-page "mini-writing lesson" per unit, plus choice of longer writing assignment at the end of each unit, but NO complete writing instruction, exercises, practice, grading rubric, etc.

works covered, links to table of contents and sample pages

 

Mosdos

Short stories and excerpts from well-known authors. You will need the Student Text, the Student Workbook, and the Teacher Book. Student Text has all the literature. Student Workbook has vocabulary, questions, and creative writing exercises integrated into the literary elements being taught. TE is the student edition with answers and teaching information on critical thinking and literary analysis, and student workbook answers. Optional test masters CD.

see table of contents: Pearl (6th grade); Jade (7th grade); Gold (8th grade)

see one sample page: workbook, student book, teacher book

 

Words Aptly Spoken -- short stories

Classical Conversations short story anthology only (not a teaching program). Collection of short stories with 1-2 pages of author background info before the story, and about a dozen comprehension and discussion questions after the story. No teaching on literary elements or literary analysis. No writing, no grammar, no vocabulary. No workbook or TE.

table of contents and sample pages

Cathy Duffy review

 

 

 

Combined Writing/Grammar textbooks

BJUP Writing & Grammar grade 7

Voyages in English -- 2006 (harder to find) and 2011 editions (newer/expensive)

 

Separate Writing Programs -- workbook-based, largely independent

Jump In (gr. 6-9); Power in Your Hands: Non-Fiction Writing for High School (gr. 8-12)

Spectrum Writing

Killgallon: Paragraphs for Middle School; Paragraphs for High School

 

Separate Grammar Programs -- workbook-based, largely independent

Analytical Grammar -- instruction and practice; thorough; schedules for doing it over 3 years, 2 years, or 1 intensive year

Spectrum Language Arts -- daily practice of Grammar

Daily Grams 7, or Daily Grams for Middle/High School -- daily practice of Grammar

Growing With Grammar

 

Edited by Lori D.
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We opted to use Scott Foresman literature books.  They are older, public school texts.  I liked the selection of literature, the approach to discussion, and the layout of the texts.  I did also purchase the teacher texts.  Patterns in Literature *I think* is supposed to be a 9th grade text.  We used it for jr. high.

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...And I can think of no all-in-one Literature, Grammar, and Writing program, much less one that is workbook-based and independent. :(

 

Wait!  I only read the first paragraph, and I just needed to say that I do NOT want it to be independent!

I will continue to teach every lesson, just as I always have.  I just need a different format that is a little less work for me.

 

Just wanted to clarify that.  Now, off to read the rest of your post! :)

 

Thanks so much for responding!

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Wait!  I only read the first paragraph, and I just needed to say that I do NOT want it to be independent!

I will continue to teach every lesson, just as I always have.  I just need a different format that is a little less work for me.

 

Just wanted to clarify that.  Now, off to read the rest of your post!  :)

 

Thanks so much for responding!

 

Ahh… Thanks for clarifying. I took these descriptions to suggest the need for more independent working ;) :

 

...we need something that is less time-intensive for me and more straight-forward for the girls….they like workbooks...

… step by step writing instruction with rubrics/checklists for the student...

 

You might also want to change your subject heading to something like "Please help me choose a WRITING program that incorporates Lit., Grammar, and Vocab." to get suggestions more specific to your needs. :)

 

 

...  They are teen & preteen girls (5 of them), children of friends (or friends of friends). I try to keep costs low because the majority of my students are from single parent homes. Mosdos literature has been suggested, but it is not in our price range.

 

What about scheduling each student's Literature at a different time and have them answer workbook questions in individual notebooks, so 5 students can rotate through using 1 set of Mosdos -- the student text and workbook? Or, do it all together by taking turns reading the Literature aloud, and then answering the workbook questions aloud -- or later, each in their own student workbook? I do see used versions pop up from time to time, which could cut some of your cost even more.

 

Another thought: what about writing the publisher, explaining your situation, and asking if they ever donate materials for a tax write-off? If the materials were donated to your church, that would be a charitable deduction for the publisher… The worst that can happen is they say "no. ;) Bigger companies might be happy to donate past editions when clearing shelves of older stock...

 

 

… ETA:  As I am thinking this through, I am realizing that I am not seeking a literature program.  I am looking for a writing program that incorporates literature, vocabulary, and grammar.

 

Can't think of any WRITING program that incorporates Literature, Vocabulary, and Grammar. If the Writing is the weak subject, the most likely thing to help is to use a program specifically designed to strengthen Writing or scaffold weak Writing with step-by-step instruction, or use an integrated Writing and Grammar textbook like the above Bob Jones or Voyages in English or other, and then do Literature as a lighter side subject as you have time...

 

You might look at SWB's Writing With Ease 3 or 4, or Writing with Skill 1. It does have both a teacher book (non-consumable and a student workbook (consumable), and does require more 1-on-1 teacher/student time, but it focuses heavily on writing. It uses paragraphs from Literature for the dictations, and includes a little bit of literary analysis and a little bit of Grammar review. One teacher book and 5 workbooks would cover all your students, and since it is heavily dictation-based, you could have all 5 students do it simultaneously with you…

 

BEST of luck! Warmly, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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I have used Holt Literature series with my oldest since grade 6.  The teacher CD has tons of resources and if you google well you can find online resources, too.  I like Holt because it has vocabulary, grammar, audio, and writing supplements as well as 'Media Studies' that help kids make sense of media.  The sizeable anthology (cannot read it all in an academic year) has quality short stories, articles, and poetry as well suggestions and excerpt from award winning novels (we read the entire novel as a read aloud). Unfortunately, there seems to be a dearth of resources on eBay and Amazon at the moment.  I purchased grades 6-9 when I saw them available (roughly $40-$50 per grade - SE, TE CD, Media Study, Writing Cd, Vocab Cd, etc.).  The "Interactive Readers" have the 'essential' stories with a few questions at cheaper price, but not have the grammar, vocab or writing support.

 Here are links to some online support.

Level Up Tutorials - short power points on literary concepts: http://my.hrw.com/la_2010/na_lit/nsmedia/levelup/ms_index.html

Class zone - publisher online support: http://www.classzone.com/cz/index.htm  :  Select State/Literature

 

Found a copy of the 6th grade Teachers CD on amazon $6 + $4 ship:  https://www.amazon.com/McDougal-Literature-Grade-Teacher-DVD-ROM/dp/0547619979

 

But other publishers might have the same. Good luck.

Edited by J&JMom
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I have used Holt Literature series with my oldest since grade 6.  The teacher CD has tons of resources and if you google well you can find online resources, too.  I like Holt because it has vocabulary, grammar, audio, and writing supplements as well as 'Media Studies' that help kids make sense of media.  The sizeable anthology (cannot read it all in an academic year) has quality short stories, articles, and poetry as well suggestions and excerpt from award winning novels (we read the entire novel as a read aloud). Unfortunately, there seems to be a dearth of resources on eBay and Amazon at the moment.  I purchased grades 6-9 when I saw them available (roughly $40-$50 per grade - SE, TE CD, Media Study, Writing Cd, Vocab Cd, etc.).  The "Interactive Readers" have the 'essential' stories with a few questions at cheaper price, but not have the grammar, vocab or writing support.

 Here are links to some online support.

Level Up Tutorials - short power points on literary concepts: http://my.hrw.com/la_2010/na_lit/nsmedia/levelup/ms_index.html

Class zone - publisher online support: http://www.classzone.com/cz/index.htm  :  Select State/Literature

 

Found a copy of the 6th grade Teachers CD on amazon $6 + $4 ship:  https://www.amazon.com/McDougal-Literature-Grade-Teacher-DVD-ROM/dp/0547619979

 

But other publishers might have the same. Good luck.

 

Thank you for this! I had already saved several PDF files of the Holt materials I found online, and they look good. I already own several levels of the Interactive Readers. I need to get the textbook so I can see the grammar, vocab, and writing, too. 

 

 

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We have used McGraw Hill's Treasures in our charter, pre-homeschool. "Eh" is how I would characterize it. Seems behind at least a grade and we never found the samples compelling. 

 

We are using as spine: Holt's Elements of Language (based on Warriner's) and Holt's Elements of Literature. Two thumbs up for both. I am also using Write Source, which is under-represented on this forum, but it's not much different from Elements of Language. Plus a host of smaller books for interest. 

 

edit: typing errors

Edited by dori123
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I don't know specifically what grade(s) you are teaching... I have Holt's Elements of Language that I could send you. We got it last year through a Calvert virtual school (for free) and I don't feel right selling it. It's 6th grade, let me know if you can use it :) It's just the textbook, no teacher's edition or CD.

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We have used McGraw Hill's Treasures in our charter, pre-homeschool. "Eh" is how I would characterize it. Seems behind at least a grade and we never found the samples compelling. 

 

We are using as spine: Holt's Elements of Language (based on Warriner's) and Holt's Elements of Literature. Two thumbs up for both. I am also using Write Source, which is under-represented on this forum, but it's not much different from Elements of Language. Plus a host of smaller books for interest. 

 

edit: typing errors

We have/are using Treasures in our homeschool.  I am not thrilled with the writing program and use Write Source to supplement both writing and grammar, the reading gets the job done as my rising 6th grader loves the selections. The weekly themes and varied genres keep his interest as he applies the skills taught in vocab, grammar, and reading comprehension.  My advanced reader moved onto the Holt Literature series I mentioned earlier at 6th as he could handle the meatier selections.  

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I finally settled on:

Holt Literature & Language Arts  (http://hlla.hrw.com/hlla/chapter.jsp?Grade=6)

supplemented with the Holt Handbook (https://tusd.haikulearning.com/abruner/6corehonors/cms_page/view/11892145). Thanks, everyone, for helping me think this through. :)

 

:) Hope that will provide the Writing instruction you esp. wanted in a program, that the price fits your budget, and most of all, that it's a great fit for all your students! :) Hope you have a super year with your class! Warmest regards, Lori D.

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