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Help me pick a Reading curriculum


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I need an open and go reading curriculum for fifth grade. Oldest won't look up unknown words or ask so a curriculum is a must this year but bonus points for one that emphasizes good character too. I really like the simplicity of CLE and R&S but am very unsure because I remember lots of conscientious objection in the CLE readers. I've also considered Novel Ties study guides for some of the literature books we'll be reading along with Notgrass From Adam to Us. Any suggestions or others I haven't thought of that might work? I really need to make up my mind asap because I have to report what we plan on using to the school district soon. 

Edited by Servant4Christ
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  • Servant4Christ changed the title to Help me pick a Reading curriculum

Okay, so...

Does your student need to look up unfamiliar words or ask? Or can they acquire vocabulary from repeated exposure? That's how we're hardwired to learn vocabulary after all, it's how we all learn language as babies and toddlers.

I've avoided reading curriculum so far, for that reason, and because all the ones I was exposed to in school seemed mostly to make children hate reading.

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Every time I think of using a literature/reading curriculum, I can't find one I like for a variety of reasons. Then, throw in the fact that DS almost 11 has generally read some/almost all of the books in any I have liked, and I decide to go with what we are already doing - reading lots of good books and discussing them. FWIW, my top picks generally come down to Novel-ties and Treasure Trove of Literature (by CHC, a Catholic company, so there are mentions of the Bible and saints). The online sample of Treasure Trove does have at least one mention of good character (truthfulness, I think, and that's where a connection is made to the Bible and a saint). 

Also, and I say this as a former PS teacher, I really think many reading/literature curriculums make student dislike reading. It becomes a chore and something to get done. Instead, around here, it's "hey! look at this great book!  I think you are going to love it because (fill in the blank)." And then he reads it. I ask questions periodically throughout and/or after. 

Finally, why does it matter if he won't look up unknown words or ask about them? FWIW, my kids do ask about unknown words during RA, but not usually words they encounter when they read. This does not bother me. It's not like I look up every unknown word I encounter in print. Honestly, the only times I do is if the story or article doesn't make sense without a good definition. Otherwise, I use the "make a educated guess with context clues and stuff" strategy and call it good. I like to think my kids do the same, but even if they just skip some words, I am not worried about it. 

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11 hours ago, Lovinglife123 said:

There are so many options.  I was looking into this for my son and am just not sure he can do formal reading curriculum yet since he is doing formal science and a literature rich history and it might be too much.  He has been doing easy peasy reading since the beginning - so also thinking about getting the physical books so I can have him do the assignments as is vs him just reading online (it’s been a great course, but there are vocabulary parts that I’m sure he skips 🙂 ).

We did formal reading curriculum (CLE) from the very beginning. Last year was the first time I let him just read read read. Oldest loves to read, hates to write. Lol

 

10 hours ago, Kiara.I said:

Okay, so...

Does your student need to look up unfamiliar words or ask? Or can they acquire vocabulary from repeated exposure? That's how we're hardwired to learn vocabulary after all, it's how we all learn language as babies and toddlers.

I've avoided reading curriculum so far, for that reason, and because all the ones I was exposed to in school seemed mostly to make children hate reading.

Yes, we need a curriculum again. When he has read a book multiple times (he rereads books he enjoys many times over) and then cannot tell DH what several words mean that he should've been able to figure out based on context, there's work that needs to be done. These are simple words to figure out such as the word quench. I also miss the simple things like literary devices and terms that he learned along the way when we used a curriculum. 

 

8 hours ago, barnwife said:

Every time I think of using a literature/reading curriculum, I can't find one I like for a variety of reasons. Then, throw in the fact that DS almost 11 has generally read some/almost all of the books in any I have liked, and I decide to go with what we are already doing - reading lots of good books and discussing them. FWIW, my top picks generally come down to Novel-ties and Treasure Trove of Literature (by CHC, a Catholic company, so there are mentions of the Bible and saints). The online sample of Treasure Trove does have at least one mention of good character (truthfulness, I think, and that's where a connection is made to the Bible and a saint). 

Also, and I say this as a former PS teacher, I really think many reading/literature curriculums make student dislike reading. It becomes a chore and something to get done. Instead, around here, it's "hey! look at this great book!  I think you are going to love it because (fill in the blank)." And then he reads it. I ask questions periodically throughout and/or after. 

Finally, why does it matter if he won't look up unknown words or ask about them? FWIW, my kids do ask about unknown words during RA, but not usually words they encounter when they read. This does not bother me. It's not like I look up every unknown word I encounter in print. Honestly, the only times I do is if the story or article doesn't make sense without a good definition. Otherwise, I use the "make a educated guess with context clues and stuff" strategy and call it good. I like to think my kids do the same, but even if they just skip some words, I am not worried about it. 

You bring up things I have thought of too. I certainly don't want to kill his love of reading. This is why I thought something like CLE would work because it's a reader full of short stories rather than full books. On the other hand, I thought maybe using Novel Ties for individual books would work well, too, because he'd see the vocab words used in real books. And now I just cannot make up my mind either way. Lol

As for your last paragraph, I had the same mindset all last schoolyear and ran with it and have seen little growth in his reading which was reflected in his test scores at year-end. It could just be that he was so far ahead of his peers in reading last year and now they've somewhat evened out, though. 🤷

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3 hours ago, Servant4Christ said:

 

As for your last paragraph, I had the same mindset all last schoolyear and ran with it and have seen little growth in his reading which was reflected in his test scores at year-end. It could just be that he was so far ahead of his peers in reading last year and now they've somewhat evened out, though. 🤷

Have you thought about using something like Wise Owl Polysyllables? My 2 independent readers read a bit from that a couple times a week now. It allows me to see/her them decoding words, it doesn't take long, and since each entry uses the word in context, theoretically it could help with vocabulary too. 

Without a little more info. (How old is this child? Is it just vocabulary that concerns you? Making inferences? etc...), I'm struggling to be more helpful. I hope you find something you are happy with!

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1 hour ago, barnwife said:

Have you thought about using something like Wise Owl Polysyllables? My 2 independent readers read a bit from that a couple times a week now. It allows me to see/her them decoding words, it doesn't take long, and since each entry uses the word in context, theoretically it could help with vocabulary too. 

Without a little more info. (How old is this child? Is it just vocabulary that concerns you? Making inferences? etc...), I'm struggling to be more helpful. I hope you find something you are happy with!

I've honestly never heard of Wise Owl Polysyllables but I'll look it up because I'm curious now!

Oldest is 10 going into 5th. He's always read above grade level and reads constantly. I noticed that his vocabulary isn't exactly where I thought it was and he's mispronouncing many unknown words because he just doesn't want to take the time to break apart the sounds if this makes sense. As for comprehension, he's very black and white so does great with recall or looking back to find answers but struggles with inferences and such. In addition, things he used to know well (homophones, metaphors, similes, antonyms, and synonyms) get confused or he asks me to remind him again. Not a big deal, but he used to know them like the back of his hand and now he doesn't. I really want that stuff back in his schoolwork to be regularly practiced or I absolutely will not remember to periodically go over it while chasing down my 1 and 2 year olds!

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1 hour ago, Servant4Christ said:

I've honestly never heard of Wise Owl Polysyllables but I'll look it up because I'm curious now!

 

If you scroll down on this page, there is a link to WOP. It's by Don Potter, and honestly has been a great investment for us. I can't remember who was the first poster I saw mention it here, or I would thank them. 

The rest of the stuff you mention is stuff we cover during morning time/RA. I was actually just thinking about getting a notebook and choosing a focus for each week (or two or whatever). Then I'd have our oldest 2 (11 and almost 10) write down examples they find in their own reading and DS7 could tell me any he hears during RA (has dyslexia, so not reading independently at that level yet). I could even make it fun by giving them a ticket to a raffle for each example they find on their own and have a weekly drawing for...their choice of extra TV show or a candy bar or something. Now you've got me thinking about ways to hold myself accountable to covering those things more consistently.

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19 hours ago, Anne Elliot said:

We're using Mosdos this year. I didn't get the Teacher's Manuals but we are using the workbooks. I like the look of it so far. We just started yesterday so I don't have too much to report yet 🙂 

I've heard of this but haven't actually looked at it yet. I'll go look, thank you!

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43 minutes ago, barnwife said:

If you scroll down on this page, there is a link to WOP. It's by Don Potter, and honestly has been a great investment for us. I can't remember who was the first poster I saw mention it here, or I would thank them. 

The rest of the stuff you mention is stuff we cover during morning time/RA. I was actually just thinking about getting a notebook and choosing a focus for each week (or two or whatever). Then I'd have our oldest 2 (11 and almost 10) write down examples they find in their own reading and DS7 could tell me any he hears during RA (has dyslexia, so not reading independently at that level yet). I could even make it fun by giving them a ticket to a raffle for each example they find on their own and have a weekly drawing for...their choice of extra TV show or a candy bar or something. Now you've got me thinking about ways to hold myself accountable to covering those things more consistently.

Ah, I have heard of Don Potter before! I'll look, thank you. I need open and go, structure, and clear lesson plans or I panic. I live in a high reg state.

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42 minutes ago, Servant4Christ said:

Ah, I have heard of Don Potter before! I'll look, thank you. I need open and go, structure, and clear lesson plans or I panic. I live in a high reg state.

Well, WOP is certainly open and go. It's very dictionary-ish, honestly. Each word is broken down by syllables. Then there are a couple/few sentences that demonstrate/tell the meaning. There aren't really lesson plans. I just have each kid read a certain amount (half a page, a full page, 3 minutes, whatever works for that kid). 

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42 minutes ago, Servant4Christ said:

Ah, I have heard of Don Potter before! I'll look, thank you. I need open and go, structure, and clear lesson plans or I panic. I live in a high reg state.

Well, WOP is certainly open and go. It's very dictionary-ish, honestly. Each word is broken down by syllables. Then there are a couple/few sentences that demonstrate/tell the meaning. There aren't really lesson plans. I just have each kid read a certain amount (half a page, a full page, 3 minutes, whatever works for that kid). 

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I love CLE but have personally not yet used reading. If CO is the only prickly point and he's 10, why not try it and use it as a discussion point? Watch Hacksaw Ridge maybe? I know what you mean, though. I had to warn someone new to HS that CLE might raise some questions about women's roles and modest dress etc when she picked it for her 14yo granddaughter. 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Brittany1116 said:

I love CLE but have personally not yet used reading. If CO is the only prickly point and he's 10, why not try it and use it as a discussion point? Watch Hacksaw Ridge maybe? I know what you mean, though. I had to warn someone new to HS that CLE might raise some questions about women's roles and modest dress etc when she picked it for her 14yo granddaughter. 

We initially began our homeschooling journey using CLE for ALL subjects for 4 years.

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Posted (edited)
On 8/7/2021 at 1:28 PM, Brittany1116 said:

Do you like it enough to just continue with it and address the CO when it comes up?

I'm not sure. That's part of the reason I posted this thread. I'm looking for programs with a similar structure. It might not be so bad having the CO in only the reading program. At the time, we were doing all 6 subjects in CLE so it seemed like CO was popping up more and more frequently because it sortof alternated. One day it would be in history, the next day in reading, ect. My son was younger at the time- sensitive and very impressionable. Also, it seemed to me that CLE had lots of stories and info about Anabaptist martyrs, but not any other Christian martyrs.

Edited by Servant4Christ
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Posted (edited)

@KrissiK The Novel Ties for the books Oldest will be reading alongside Notgrass A2Us are rated for 6th grade but Oldest is going into 5th. Anything really different between the guides for these two grades? I may call RR to ask a little later.

Update: Called RR and the rep said there isn't a lot of difference between the two grades other than the answers for the comprehension questions may require a little more thought. She was nice enough to let me know they have a youtube video showing the inside of several different lit guides for comparison, too!

https://youtu.be/R10cZWZCgmk

Edited by Servant4Christ
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13 hours ago, Servant4Christ said:

@KrissiK The Novel Ties for the books Oldest will be reading alongside Notgrass A2Us are rated for 6th grade but Oldest is going into 5th. Anything really different between the guides for these two grades? I may call RR to ask a little later.

Update: Called RR and the rep said there isn't a lot of difference between the two grades other than the answers for the comprehension questions may require a little more thought. She was nice enough to let me know they have a youtube video showing the inside of several different lit guides for comparison, too!

https://youtu.be/R10cZWZCgmk

I would agree with the RR person. Plus, it is interesting to note…the following books are in Novel Ties’ 7-8 grade level, yet are traditionally taught in high school - Animal Farm, The House on Mango Street, Our Town, Romeo and Juliet, The Pearl. So, I look at their grade levels as a “suggested grade level” rather than absolute.

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On 8/10/2021 at 12:35 AM, KrissiK said:

I would agree with the RR person. Plus, it is interesting to note…the following books are in Novel Ties’ 7-8 grade level, yet are traditionally taught in high school - Animal Farm, The House on Mango Street, Our Town, Romeo and Juliet, The Pearl. So, I look at their grade levels as a “suggested grade level” rather than absolute.

I noticed that!

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