Reading - Learning without "Readers" or "A Reading Program"?

My Father's World uses a Book Basket method to develop a love of learning and enrich all subjects; Independent Reading Time has different goals and methods but there is overlap in book lists and helpful hints
Posts: 441
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 9:37 am

Reading - Learning without "Readers" or "A Reading Program"?

Unread post by Lucy »

Cristy wrote:Is there enough student reading to increase comprehension using the ECC program? I noticed in the sample lessons for ECC there were no assignments. Does this mean I need to get my own reading program? Thanks for your help.

Love In Jesus,
Author: Lucy
Date: 6/8/2004

When I first started using this program I was wondering the same thing. MFW is a little different in their approach to children and reading at this age. The ECC program, along with the other years, provide several opportunities for reading. One is during history/geography reading time and science. Depending on the age and reading ability of your child you may find they would enjoy reading some of these books aloud or own their own. Either way their vocabulary will be increased.

Another big way that MFW provides for nurturing reading is through book basket time. You will notice it is scheduled and this is a time when your child(children) will explore books of different levels about what you are studying during that week. MFW wants children to have the freedom to choose books that interest them and learn to enjoy reading as well as learn on there on. This is not a time when they have to work through and finish a book though.

In the back of the T.M. there is a list of books which are listed by grade and are for your choosing. MFW wants your kids to choose, again, the reading book that they want rather than to be assigned books that they may not like. MFW assumes that by 2nd grade or by the start of ECC that your child has been through phonics/reading program and no longer needs instruction as much as they need to practice reading books that they like. So this may be a little harder at first than having a program but there is a lot of freedom for you and your child to find books that you both like.

The Spelling Power program which I use and is suggested by MFW is a big help in reviewing phonics rules. For 2nd grade MFW suggest using a Sounds and Structure as a spelling program and it will also review phonics as well. We still talk about them but not in a formal way anymore.

I hope this helps you get the bigger picture of reading in MFW. Actually for the first time this year my daughter is reading in her free time. I never thought I would see this day but it is great to have to tell her to stop reading.


Posts: 52
Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2005 12:24 pm

Reading - Is instruction needed?

Unread post by tkbbrl6 »

NHMom wrote:How do you handle reading time for children who know how to read already? Should I just have them read and then narrate, or add a workbook for reading comprehension?
Posted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 4:10 pm

I can only answer how we do it in our family. I have both my 10 and 8 yo read any book(s) they want during book basket time - during lunch they each tell what they read and what they thought of the book and/or any interesting facts they learned.

My 10 yo I then assign a choice of several books that are on the Hist or Sci topic and she reads them on her own over the course of several days or weeks. She writes a "book report" or writes a narrative about the book for her notebook. Every so often I do give her reading exercises just to keep her used to doing those since we do standardized tests each year - they are either taken from readers that I have from when oldest was in school or from various workbooks to prepare for standardized test. I should note she loves this kind of thing bec she loves workbook/wrksheet activities.

For my 8 yo ds - he still needs work on reading skills. He reads either the book from book basket time, a level reader, or a library or bookshelf book of his choosing that is grade level approp. He reads this to either my dh or myself at some point during the day or evening. I also still do phonics with him for LD or remedial readers.

Unread post by cbollin »

Posted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 6:27 pm

I handle it very informally. I guess it is a form of narration. But really I consider "reading" to be time for learning to love to read.

When we do read-aloud time, then I work informally with vocabulary, plot, analysis, etc. It is more of talking about the book as we are reading it together.

I'm thinking that once my oldest is in 7th/8th grade-ish, then I'll add in things like Progeny Press.

Posts: 441
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 9:37 am

Unread post by Lucy »

Posted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 10:26 pm

Hi Gayle,
I would fall in the same boat with Crystal in that we do book basket (which is really different from the reading time) and then each of my kids has a book that they are reading.

Both of my kids are reading well on their own now. But this was not always the case especially with my oldest. We continued doing phonics through the third grade very informally and I kept having her read books to practice lots. I have never really been to concerned about reading level but I notice after her 4th grade testing she had improved lots. I would only have her read to me 2 or 3 times a week and we did not do any kind of formal lessons. She just needed more time to blossom.

I have always read aloud to my kids and like Crystal this is our biggest place to learn new words (some in PLL and ILL too). I am surprised at what my kids know sometimes when I ask them what a word means. What I really love is when my daughter can tell my son what a word means. He was an early reader but not until this year is he really getting into reading. Yeah!!!

So I do not know the ages of your children but you are probably doing a great job. I would keep doing the phonics review. We even still get that through Spelling Power which is one thing I really like about it. For the child that is reading unless they are in 7th or above just let them enjoy reading. If 7th and above look at Progeny Press as Lit. guides. We like the Progeny Press because they are mostly literary analysis, vocab., as well as some biblical integration. We use other things for English and Spelling so it is enough for us.

I hope this helps you as you are seeking the best for your kids.
Posts: 114
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2005 6:00 pm

Reading - Should I be assigning specific lessons?

Unread post by Tina »

caod wrote:Could some of you tell me how you do/did reading with your second graders? My dd is a good reader and seems to simply get interested in a book and I let her go with it. We don't do a question and answer about the book, though I do try to have her tell me about it.

Am I missing the boat anywhere? It seems so effortless. Should I be more "assertive" in deciding what she reads and have her do any lessons assigned with them or let things go as they are?

When the lesson plans in Adv. says READING what is really expected at that time? How do you add Bookbasket to reading? How much reading is expected from a 2nd grader?

[see the end of the story below]
Posted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 1:21 pm

Hi Connie: I'll fill you in on what we do for our reading assignments. First, I must say, I have one child who loves to read and learned to do it at age 5 (10 yo dd) and one child who will read because he must and is now starting to enter into reading to learn (8 yo ds).

Independent reading: Both dc read everyday. When it is independent reading, I let my older child just read for a certain time. She always shares what her books are about and of course, I approve all her reading selections. However, this is not reading that I question her on or have her tell back to me what she's read. As I said, she's always sharing with the family what she reads, so I hear it anyway, LOL. For independent reading for my ds, I have him read to me most days. Some days I will ok silent reading, but he's just one who really needs the accountability from someone older, someone usually sits with him when he does his independent reading. Again, this is reading selected by him all books approved by a parent when we check them out at the library.

Book basket reading: This is usually done by the children on their own. They usually do it together with dd reading to ds. However, some days they separate. I usually require about 15 min. a day of book baket reading. We have lots in our book basket. We have books regarding our science topic, we have books regarding our biblical study, we have books regarding the topic of history also (right now, ancient egypt). I also get videos and fun books and we may use our "book basket" time for a video some days. I include some picture books and fun books. (for christmas time, we had lots and lots of christmas books too)

Family read aloud: We always have at least one of these going on. Sometimes more than one. We always read as a family. We read selected books from our study or a book that we pick as a family. We have gone thru the little house series, chronicles of narnia, lots of lamplighter books and lots recommended by MFW and Honey for a Child's Heart.

Reading from text books and school: We do all of of text book reading (school books) together and bible reading is together at this time too. This is the reading that I usually start the day with. This will include our daily reading of God's word (we work thru a Proverb daily) and then the required bible reading for the day (school day) and then any texts that we are using for school.

It seems like a lot but when you have a schedule, it works. That's how reading is done at my house. Remember, your child is younger than mine and I have already worked thru ECC and am in CtG now. (We started using MFW before Adventures was made.) I find whatever way suits your family, it is the "right" way. Happy reading!
Kisa in CA
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Nov 14, 2006 6:02 pm

Your child sounds like she is doing great!

Unread post by Kisa in CA »

Posted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 2:16 pm

How wonderful that she loves to read and is re-reading books you have read aloud! To answer your questions:

Am I missing the boat anywhere? Nope, doesn't look like it.

It seems so effortless. Isn't that great! Wish it was that way with my son! I assign 30 minutes reading every day. He rarely reads on his own iniative, but that is changing.

Should I be more "assertive" in deciding what she reads and have her do any lessons assigned with them or let things go as they are? Why assign reading if she is chosing it on her own? I JUST started assigning books for my 3rd grader to read. For instance, there was a book in the book basket that I really wanted him to read, but it was longer and he really just looks at the picture books when he does bookbasket since he doesn't HAVE to read. So, I told him he had 1 week to read the book (It was a book that would take him about 3 hours to read). That's not a MFW thing, but I think my son is ready to learn time management and how to be responsible to complete an assignment by a given date. But remember, he is in 3rd grade and is a good reader.

When the lesson plans in Adv. says READING what is really expected at that time? I personally expect 30 minutes of reading a book of his choice, approved by me. For my 3rd grader he usually chooses something easy like Boxcar children but is currently reading the Wizard of Oz. I did expect 30 minutes at the end of 2nd grade too. Hopefully others will give you what they do because I tend to have a longer daily schedule than others.

How do you add Bookbasket to reading? She reads those in the bookbasket and then reads something else as well? My sons book basket has far more books in it than he can read. I just assign 15 minutes at a different time than independent reading.

How much reading is expected from a 2nd grader? I think I answered that. I expected 20 minutes at the beginning of 2nd, 30 minutes at the end.

I am not saying what I do is best. Just thought I'd share.
Posts: 52
Joined: Sun Jun 04, 2006 8:29 pm

Unread post by caod »

Posted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 8:51 pm

Thank you for your responses. I have been functioning much the way both of you described, I just wasn't sure if it was "right." I know she is a good reader but I also wanted to make sure I was challenging her a bit. They have a quiet time each day and she reads during quiet time. I have been a bit negligent in letting her slip by without the bookbasket time because she gets involved in a book and doesn't want to read anything else. I don't think I am monitoring it as much as I should but she is so self motivated about reading. Now my younger one that is coming along behind her is a totally different story.

Thanks for your help. Any other responses are welcomed.

Follow-up Posted: Thu Mar 29, 2007 8:29 pm

I was a bit insecure this year when I put away the reading curriculum for my 2nd grader. I chose a lot of books from the recommended reading in the back of the teachers manual and we did a ton of the I can read series. I just picked out whatever she was interested in.

But it truly has worked for her. She got interested in the Little House series and has read every one of them and has so come to love reading so that I now have the problem of keeping her with a book to read. We read the Little House as a read-aloud and she got interested and I let her go with it. I look back now and know it was the right choice. It is so fulfilling to watch you child learn to love to read.

I wouldn't even worry about making sure they correspond with history. Just let the child read what she is interested in and have her practice retelling you the story. It is a great way to teach things like vocabulary, character building, setting, and conclusions to a story.

I also learned not to care what reading level was for the books she was reading. Eventually, she was up on 3rd grade level but she had fun reading the interesting books from the bookbasket that were easy readers. So did I for that matter.

One thing David Hazell mentioned in one of his seminars that stuck with me was: don't worry about grade level, as adults we read well below our reading level and prefer it. If a child is to learn to love reading don't always try to tax the system. Let them enjoy what they are reading. It made sense and our family has prospered .

"Shouldn't reading be harder than this?" Nope, it doesn't need to be. Enjoy!

Posts: 441
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 9:37 am

Unread post by Lucy »

momtoaaa wrote:Do you use a reading curriculum? If not, what do you do? I know that their is a reading basket in the program, but what about comprehension or literacy skills? My school age children are 8, 11 and 12. Please share what you do.
Posted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 3:53 pm

We have been following the MFW suggestions for the past 4 years and it has seemed to work very well. I like that my kids are encouraged to read books that they will not have to do some kind of workbook or report on each time in the younger years. For reading time we have chosen books from the book basket list, Honey for a Child's Heart, or one that my kids have found at the library or heard about from a friend.

In Primary Language Lessons and much more in Intermediate Language Lessons, there are selections of good literature and poetry which I felt was enough for literature analysis through 6th grade. This included using those selections for vocabulary building, writing assignments, as well as grammar lessons. It also includes narration, or oral reproduction as they call it, which gives you a good idea of what the child understands about the passage they read. Sometimes the passages are followed by questions to help you think about the selection. I usually had my kids read these selections aloud to me so that I could see how they were reading as well.

They also read aloud the bible and some of the history and science lessons at different times as well. After these lessons they narrate to me about what we have read and we discuss it.

Once they reach 7th grade then we added 2 Progeny Press studies each year, allowing for some literary study and for them to still choose to read books that interested them as well. These are books that I usually choose for them to study or give them some choices between a few. Also in 7th grade my kids began reading their own science textbook or listening and following along with an audio of it.

We have tried to do book basket each year as well. Some weeks not so well as others but this has been another informal way for them to practice reading and learning how to read different kinds of material in a relaxed way.

When my kids were in 2nd and 3rd grade, I also would have them read to me from the book they were reading 2 to 3 times a week to see how they were progressing.

We have used Spelling Power which has been a good reinforcement in phonics too.

This has worked well for us and my kids have definitely progressed in their comprehesion skills and vocabulary. I have found so much opportunity for building reading skills naturally as we have used the curriculum that I did not find that I needed to add a reading program.


Unread post by cbollin »

Posted: Tue Jul 24, 2007 4:20 am

Another thing that has helped us is just using the Read Alouds that are in the MFW deluxe packages. Usually these are at or above my kids' reading levels so it helps them to hear these. We read it out loud and just talk about it -- who, what, where, when, why questions. Oh, and How come you think that? -- that's important too. But we just talk, we don't have to have a discussion guide.

Book basket books have been very helpful. We get a wide variety of books from that. We don't quiz the kids on it. But they will enjoy talking about the books with us.

And as Lucy said, a lot of the comprehension skills come from the narration techniques and notebooking and all of that. She'll read out loud to us. And we'll stop and discuss what we are reading. So, a lot is built in.

A few of the history books come with questions at end of the chapter, so we do those out loud. The 2nd/3rd grade supplement for year 5, 1850-MT, has a lot of materials that are specific for reading comprehension in the context of the history and geography study. wahoo!!!! so even there it's covered.

Now, my 2nd dd does have some special needs, so I'm adding a simple workbook (cheap) this year in addition to using Primary Language Lessons. It just has short paragraphs and simple questions to answer out loud. It will add 5 -10 minutes to her school day. But again, this is specific to my child's needs. I don't think most kids need it because MFW has really good language arts materials and we are using them too.

Posts: 441
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 9:37 am

Unread post by Lucy »

momtoaaa wrote:I don't know what to do about reading and I have been struggling with this for quite some time... I was thinking of doing a canned curriculum, but now I am thinking of just doing a few progeny press guides. What do you have your 5&6th graders do?
Posted: Sat Aug 11, 2007 2:08 pm

I just let them read books related to the topic or good literature of their choice along with book basket time. I used Intermediate Language Lessons to teach some vocab., comprehension and thinking skills with shorter passages.

In 7th and 8th I started having my kids do 2 book studies using Progeny Press (MFW also recommends Total Lang. Plus as an option). This was at MFW's suggestion. This seems to have worked fine for my kids who have done well the last 2 or 3 years in this area of testing.

Remember too that as you are reading history and science together as well as read alouds, you can use those opportunities to work on reading skills such as vocab. comprehension (narration and summaries), and things such as foreshadowing, metaphor, and similes (during read aloud). In other words, some reading skills will happen naturally as well. If you do not see it or cover it, do not worry about it. It will be fine to wait until 7th-12th grade for that kind of study and deeper literary analysis.

Hope that helps you as you think through.

Unread post by cbollin »

Posted: Sat Aug 11, 2007 2:22 pm

My oldest is 6th grade. MFW has a lot of opportunities for reading in the program. Everything from the books in the basic package that we teach from, to book basket, to Reading time, to language arts, and then the carry over to subjects like history and science where we have narrations and notebooking.

This is what I’ve been doing. We've just used Intermediate Language Lessons, plus the things that are in MFW for narration. Some of the history books come with questions at end of the chapter. So we do those out loud. She'll read out loud to us. We have lots of reading books. During read alouds we'll stop and discuss what we are reading.

I haven’t used another outside reading comprehension book for her. I’ve just looked at the Standards of Learning for Reading comprehension that our state dept of ed has. And I’ll toss out the terms like “main idea” “topic”, etc. Sometimes we’ll print off a little worksheet from that site, but it’s not really needed. It’s just something different to do for the day once in a while.

My 3rd grader is one of delayed kids with special needs going on. We went to a teacher supply shop and bought these little $2.00 reading comprehension skill books. It has very short stories and a few questions. So that helps to give me some structure to read the skills from and then carry it over into history and science and Primary Language Lessons.

I don’t think you need to spent a lot of money for reading comprehension lessons. I only did the extra booklet for my child to help meet some of her special needs language therapy goals.

Posts: 207
Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2005 9:26 am


Unread post by LSH in MS »

my3sons wrote:I would like to talk about readers....

This year (our first with MFW) I ordered a set of readers for my 2nd grader and my kindergardener.

Which brings me to my question... I am already thinking ahead to next year. I am just a bit uncomfortable with the informality of book basket - I want to know what my kids are reading ahead of time (not just when I pick the books up from the library). I want to have more of a "plan" in regards to what they are reading. I like having the book basket as a completely a supplement- to reading as well as history and science.

Thoughts and experiences?
There are different types of books on the book basket lists, nonfiction, historical fiction, and biographies. I use the nonfiction (and picture books) as informal book basket time. At the beginning of the year I go through the book list and choose which books I want each of my children to read for their independant reading time. I write this list in the front of the manual. When they finish one I assign them the next one. These are mostly historical fiction and biograghies. I don't worry about exactly matching up where we are in history, but most of the time it is pretty close.

For example, I assigned my oldest son to read The World of William Penn and Ocean of Truth (a biography of Isaac Newton) He read the first one while we were studying William Penn and started Ocean of Truth when we began Isaac Newton, but it took him longer than a week to finish it. That is okay with me.

I like being able to choose the readers to go along with history but sometimes I will select one that doesn't relate. There is a lot of flexibility, but it can be planned out ahead of time. I have gotten all of the readers from the library, so it saves a lot of money.

wife to Clifford, mother to ds (17), ds (16), ds (15, ds (13), ds (8), and ds (3)
MFW user for 10 years
Julie in MN
Posts: 2906
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Readers can be chosen from the book basket list. They also can be chosen from the general reading list in the back of the manual -- classic books and other good reads. And as Lori mentioned, they can be completely different books.

My son isn't much of an independent reader (he likes to talk :o) So over the years, I have varied his reading, trying to pull him in. As a new year begins, I will often have a variety of things in mind -- a few books that tie into history, a classic or two, and lots of books he might just enjoy -- because they are mysteries or humorous or whatever.

But I allow flexibility. For one thing, each year it seems there is something in book basket that sparks his interest and I want to follow his lead. I remember in ECC he enjoyed the Anatole books, so he read a lot of those. In CTG, he really got into Aesop & comparing different versions. I'd hate to tell him that a book he was interested in wasn't on my agenda!

Sometimes, our studies and conversations along the way will bring out something I decide he should read more about. Earlier this year, we were comparing traitor & spy. I decided to have him read about Nathan Hale so we could compare him in more depth to Benedict Arnold. I like having the flexibility to do that.

Another benefit of being flexible is allowing room for books that kids are reading in co-op or in a book club he's joined. One year our co-op read a missionary bio, and another year they read books written in France. This year, his book club is reading random good books for boys -- The Golden Goblet, 21 Balloons, etc. (Interestingly, almost all the books he has read are found on MFW book lists!)

Those are some things I keep in mind when planning readers.
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
Posts: 149
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 12:50 pm

Unread post by my3boys »

I made a reader list for my ds at the beginning of the year from the booklists in the guide. I scheduled one or two chapter books for each unit and he is reading some non-fiction books from the book-basket as well (but I give them to him and say 'read this some time this week'). My little ones that are doing phonics will use a set of readers for the next couple years. You can buy books from the lists instead of using the library (I will be doing this next year) if you want - it doesn't work out to be any more expensive than a reader package. You could also buy a reader package if you want. You get a lot of choice with MFW in that respect.
Mom to 3 busy boys ages 11, 8, and 6
finished K, First, ECC, and CtG - currently using RtR
Posts: 389
Joined: Sat Feb 24, 2007 10:38 pm
Location: North Dakota

Unread post by Poohbee »

We're doing Adventures this year, so it is our first year with Book Basket. I use Book Basket as Independent Silent Reading Time, kind of like is done in schools. I fill the basket with all kinds of books that fit our various history, science, and other topics that week. Some of them are readers that my dd could read, but mostly they are fiction and nonfiction picture books about our topics. At this point, my dd likes to just look at the pictures in the books. She hasn't really stepped out to read independently during BB time, but I know that will come. I set a timer for 10-15 minutes, and I require that my dds choose books from their Book Baskets and read/look silently for that time. Sometimes, if there is a book in Book Basket that I really want my dd to read, I will select it for an extra book during read-aloud time, and I read it to her.

Then, on the grid schedule in the TM, there is a time set aside for Reading. During that time, I either assign a book for my dd to read, or I allow her to choose a reader from a basket I have set aside, and she reads aloud to me during that time. She is still in the "practice" phase and is not yet a completely fluent reader, so we often use that Reading time for her to read to me so she can get practice in reading fluently. I sometimes have certain books I want her to read and certain reading skills I want her to work on, and other times, I allow her to choose which book she will read (out of a selection of books I have set aside ahead of time). She loves having a choice sometimes, and yet I am still able to assign some reading for her. But our Reading time is for working on specific reading skills or reading practice, and our Book Basket time is independent silent reading/browsing time. That's just how we do it.
happily married to Vince (22 yrs)
blessed by MFW since 2006
have used every year K-1850MOD
2021-2022: CTG with 12yo boy
Posts: 128
Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2006 10:00 am

Unread post by niki »

I also use a mixture for readers...but I love, love the pathway readers. My kids really enjoy them too. So I have them read those for reading 3 times a week and then the other days they read a book of their choice with mom's approval...sometimes related to our study, sometimes not.

Strong Tower Academy
DD 6th DS 5th DD 3rd
Posts: 67
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 4:55 pm
Location: United States

Unread post by KimberlyND »

We use the book basket books for book basket time. And we use them as read alouds. Either Dad or I will read to the kids at different times of the day as time allows.

For reading I use readers that I have here at home that I used for the older kids. My ds isn't a strong reader, yet. But he has really improved this year. I just need to keep his section for reading short. He reads aloud to me from these.

Lately he has been able to look up in his Bible the verses that are assigned for the day. He can read one or two of these aloud and I read the rest.
Kimberly in ND
MFW user since 2007, gone through K, 1st, ADV, ECC, CtG, RtR, Exp. to 1850, & 1850 to Modern Times
Using ECC 2014-2015 with an 8th grade son and 4th grade daughter
Have been HS for 19 years and graduated 3 dc.
Posts: 473
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 2:40 pm

Aids to help child dig deeper in a book?

Unread post by kellybell »

TammyB wrote:Just wondering if anyone has added Drawn Into the Heart of Reading as an aid to help a child dig deeper in a book. Thanks!
Looks neat. Looks time consuming. Looks hard to add alongside to MFW since it looks time consuming. Also, if I remember right, it is a bit pricy. I've never used it, so perhaps someone who has can answer this better. Have you tried They have reviews by moms that have used homeschool programs.

Some ideas for reading comprehension you might want to do (not every time you read a book or the kid will hate reading) is to:

1. Act out a scene.
2. Teach the usual mountain shape of a plot (setting, conflict, climax, tying up loose ends -- don't know how to spell that French word that is sort of like day-noo-may -- you know what I am talking about and I feel a bit dumb right now). And, after you teach this, see if a child can identify that. Good for fiction, of course, but not a book on butterflies...
3. Make a poster.
4. Write a paragraph about what the book was about. Or what the book means to you, etc.
5. Talk about the book at dinner.
6. Look for symbolism.
7. Make an ad or commercial (videotape it?) for the book. Why would someone like to read it.
8. Turn the plot into a poem.
9. Paint a picture from the book (best done for non-picture books so that the child paints from his mind's eye and not from an illustration he saw).
10. Identify the good guy (protagonist) and bad guy (antagonist) and hen find some Bible verses that the good guy exemplifies and the bad guy ought to follow. Memorize a verse or two.

I am guessing there are websites (free...) with ideas that you might want to try first before buying an expensive program.

Also, if you looking for just brushing up on reading comprehension (sounds like you aren't though...) before a fill-in-the-circle standardized test, there are workbooks at teacher's stores that have stories followed by questions. Or, if you are really cheap (like I am) try to write your own fill in the circle questions just for practice. Remember that these are dreadfully boring and that you shouldn't do too many of them because it will drive you and the child bonkers.
Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Apr 14, 2008 2:03 pm
Location: South, USA

Unread post by hsmomof5 »

I have looked at that program also but backed off for the same reasons mentioned here.

I stick to narration (oral and written) to check comprehension.
ds 19 (college freshman), ds 12, ds 12, and ds 10 (ECC '08) (CTG '09), dd 3 (Preschool)
Posts: 87
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2006 10:27 pm

Unread post by TammyB »

RB wrote:This may not apply to you at all, Tammy, but one thing i have to remember for myself is that I am vulnerable at this time of year to considering curriculum purchases and changes. I think it's a winter, light-deprivation, minor burn-out, ready for a change kind of thing. We are so completely happy with MFW and I know there is no reason to make any changes (in our family), but last week I found myself writing out an entire ten year plan inserting an extra year. I caught myself before ordering anything! I find it helpful to always check in with my husband before changing or adding anything.
Feel free to ignore if this does not apply to you :)
Your post made me smile. :)

This is an icky time of year, isn't it? I probably am a little burned out. Even if I wanted to make any big changes, though, I wouldn't be able to. Lack of funds really keeps that in check, doesn't it? :)

Thanks for your encouragement.
Julie in MN
Posts: 2906
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Unread post by Julie in MN »

TammyB wrote:Thanks for the feedback. :)

I'm looking forward to taking a closer look at DITHOR at convention. It looks like it has fun ideas to introduce genres, and that appeals to me. Additional worksheets is a no-go around here, but ideas for fun activities would be nice.
For us, in the elementary years, we focused on discussion about the characters, their decisions, and the value of the book. I had a little checklist I used (from High School Form-U-La) where we evaluated the historical value, spiritual value, etc., and it was fun getting a glimpse into the way my ds looked at the story. (The last one was "tear-jerking value" -- funny to watch a boy try to get that one :o) My goal was to have this carry over into life -- ds would see that we can back off and look at people and events, not just accept them as is.

Actually, Writing Strands does a very good job of getting kids to do this.

Now that we're in jr. hi, we're just starting the evaluation of the author's technique using Progeny Press. My ds is still resistant to looking at stories so rationally. But when I tutor the upper grades, it's all about evaluating the methods of the authors -- the first step of which is story structure. Listing the story structure is not really a focus throughout all of literature study. It's more of a first step in learning to break down the story. You look at the story structure (plot, conflict, rising action, turning point, falling action, conflict resolution), then characters (protagonist, etc.), then setting, etc. At some point, you do this within different genres, as Crystal mentioned (poetry, drama, short story, comedy, irony, etc).

You need to get to a certain level of complexity in the literature before all these things really have meaning. And you need to get to a certain level of maturity before these things really matter.

Oh, I'm just rambling this morning. I just wanted to second Crystal's point -- Writing Strands covers it, and it's enough at the elementary level!
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
Posts: 320
Joined: Thu May 10, 2007 5:46 pm

Unread post by dhudson »

I like to have a couple of read aloud books that we study deeply in the summer. I find we have more time and the kids are more willing to think through the deeper meanings of books if they are not having to do English, History, Handwriting, Science (except for fun) as well. We do Bible and Math through out the summer so we just do the read aloud at night before bed wit Dad and it has been great.
God Bless,
blessed Mom of three - 16, 13 & 13
happy user of MFW since 2002
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2008 10:49 am

Unread post by homemommy83 »

I also like the looks of Drawn into the Heart of Reading. I am considering purchasing this year for my very advanced soon to be 1st grader, who has been reading since he was 2. I like that all genres get looked at, and that it adds a simple way for me to evaluate his understanding of a few of the books my son reads, one book a month. I think following My Fathers World 1st grade curriculum, a year or two of just reading "easy readers" is even better though, if the child hadn't been reading prior. I think Drawn into the Heart of Reading is meant for children reading well; I don't know where your child falls. Some programs offer "early reader" book sets, but if your child loves to read these books may be gone in a day. The library is great in that you can borrow a ton of books for free! I also don't know how many workbook pages they are using?

I like the lookof the progeny press guides as well, and have thought about using them too. I love MFW so far, and intend to keep using it. I just like to supplement- it is in my nature. We go year around and no more than 3 hours a day; this lends to time to supplement. I am one of those that sees curriculum and likes it- then wants to find a place to put it in, but in the end I talk to my "rational and logical" husband who says what does it accomplish, honey you only have so much time, don't burn the kids out, no more than 30 minutes a day of seatwork, do you really need it, could you do this yourself- your smart, don't waste money- give to those in need, he is a wonderful husband; God knew I needed someone to balance myself out! I LOVED to do school stuff all day as a child, and my first born is that way (he is just now playing as much as I think he needs to- loves to read too much- encyclopedias were both of our favorites), but I don't think my second born is going in that direction. I am actually going to do alot more hands on with her; she will be a science experiment lover! We do include service; I had never thought of connecting that to reading as Crystal's dd did. Long post. Thanks for reading.

Re: Reading curriculum?

Unread post by cbollin »

beaglemamma2008 wrote:Hello everyone! Just wondering if anyone who has gone through the cycle can give me some insight as to the reading aspect of MFW. Obviously there's lots of reading going on, so I have no doubt my kiddos will learn to love literature, which is my number one goal in reading. But at some point are traditional reading-type things covered? Things like dictionary skills, context clues, plot, setting, foreshadowing, character analysis, general literary analysis?

My experience so far with MFW has been that they integrate a lot into their lessons, so I feel pretty sure these topics are covered at some point. I guess I just want to hear it for sure from someone so I know if I need to supplement with something else.

You're right that a lot of this gets blending into the program in subtle ways. Let me see if I can summarize a bit. I'm sure I'll leave something out.

dictionary skills: covered with spelling (spelling power has lots of that in the big orange book), and then dictionary skills are also covered with vocabulary lessons with English from the Roots Up.
context clues: you'll do this with narration skills

some reading skills are covered in Primary and Intermediate Language lessons.

plot, setting, foreshadowing, character analysis, lit analysis: some of this begins in the use of Writing Strands 3 and 4, and then a lot of it is really done with the kids are older in jr. high and a bit more ready to have that "logic stage" thinking. It's done with Progeny press guides. Oh yeah, those will have even more dictionary and vocab too.

So, in the elementary years (2nd-6th) reading skills are covered in narration times, reading out loud, discussion questions that are included in various books used through the programs, built in vocabulary lessons, reading fun (book basket), and even in writing skills (you learn how to identify plot/setting, etc - by writing a story and incorporating those things in Writing Strands. and those lessons are taught with those words of plot, and all of that). Other language arts skills (including various reading things) are in the PLL and ILL stuff.

in jr. high: Progeny Press guides

i know I was all worried about what to use in Reading Time on the grid - so I bought these really cheap workbooks ($4 or less) that were grade level Reading Comprehension books. They used passages with questions. I realized that we were fine.

so, in MFW, I've found in elementary years, we really get to let our children enjoy a book; we teach them skills of reading, then in jr. high years put them both together and study specific reading books and keep reading.


Reading Comprehension

Unread post by cbollin »

mamacastle2 wrote: I have been doing Pathway readers with my 1st and 3rd graders this year. The biggest reason is because I wanted something easy (and cheap) that I could have them read and then do reading comprehension exercises. But with the add-on of Writing Strands and Vocabulary in CtG, I'm wondering about the wisdom (schedule-wise) of adding Pathway on top of that, too. However, I do want to make sure my children are reading every day and there are several exercises in the Pathway workbook that test for comprehension. I've already determined to switch from my current LA program to PLL and ILL next year. But is there anything that really helps test for comprehension? Do I not worry about it? I haven't been a great "notebooking" teacher so far. Is that how I should be determining comprehension? Is the book basket reading what most of you use for self-reading time? I want my kids to read for at least 20-30 minutes a day from something other than say Nancy Drew Notebooks (what I consider kind of fluff reading). Then I read aloud and they read aloud to me 15 minutes each. That gives us an hour of reading each day. (This is a lofty goal and not something we achieve every day or something I beat myself up for if we don't achieve. But it was a timetable suggested to me by both the IEW founder and a homeschool evaluator, so I figure it's probably good advice.)

I hope my question makes sense. I'm looking for an okay not to do a separate reading comprehension program. But I also want to make sure reading comprehension is something I "teach" or "test" or "check," however you want to put it. And I want to make sure my kids are reading every day, not drudgery but for fun, but also for learning. They find plenty of time to read the fluff reading I was mentioning before, so it's not like I'm trying to stifle that either. Thank you in advance for any advice.

(((hugs))) for the spring purchase loopy feelings.

good thing is: You'll get plenty of out loud reading in CTG ;) so, yes, read out loud is good thing. yes, quality literature is nice. and guess what? You'll get read alouds for those 15-20 minutes that you want: Patricia St. John books, and Children's Homer, Aesops fables are read aloud, and even later in the year with Archimedes and the Door to Science.

Reading comprehension is not really done in notebooking. Instead in MFW ideas, reading comprehension in grades up to 6th grade is is done in Narrations. Need help on that?
here's a great start

and on that link I like how they show you what part of each question is a part of reading comprehension. Some gurus out there say to never define a word while reading out loud -- but I do that for my special needs kids who otherwise don't know what it means.. but to each their own need, ?

then in jr. high... MFW uses progeny press.

Some other aspects of reading comprehension is also done in Writing Strands in the creative writing lessons. That's because it teaches all about Plot lines, and characters, and stuff like that. So you learn about it in short ways with those definitions, then you help your students write a fun story as a way to apply those things. Then it becomes a bit more part of you and your student's daily kind of conversations as you read together.

Another aspect is to just listen to your children read out loud to you for some of the time they are reading books on their level. (you'll be reading out loud from the ctg package books)

I guess the other question is what gets narration in MFW from the package books when you are reading to them? and when do you narrate their "reading time". book basket is mostly for them to read without any pressure on them -- so let them enjoy it. You can use books from book basket to set aside and say "ok... I'm going to read some of this".

Last edited by cbollin on Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Post Reply