Reading good literature has so many benefits for kids, and I incorporate it regularly into our homeschool curriculum. While I love to discuss the books my kids read with them, I also like to have them answer questions about them and do some writing activities related to the book (I can’t help it, it’s the English teacher in me!). While I can certainly come up with these types of activities myself, that takes time, and it’s much more convenient if I don’t have to do it. So, I was more than willing to review the To Kill a Mockingbird study guide from Progeny Press. The guide is an interactive downloadable study guide aimed at high school students.
I was really excited to get this particular guide as I remember loving this book in high school. In fact, I am friends with my A.P. English teacher on Facebook, and we chat regularly about books in general, and I was recalling the work we did on Mockingbird in class with her recently. I used this guide with my oldest son (12th grade), as the content of the book is more suited to an older student (in my opinion).
The guide begins with a brief synopsis of the book, information about the author, Harper Lee, and background information about the history of slavery in America and the beginnings of the Civil Rights movement. It then moves into some suggested pre-reading activities. I let my son choose which of the activities he wanted to complete, and he decided to research specific amendments to the Constitution. The information he learned came in handy as he read the rest of the book. You could certainly do more than one of the pre-reading activities, in fact, I think I might spend a week or more with my younger son in preparation for the book and actually do two or three of them before he reads the book.
From there, my son set a pace for his own reading, and moved into the chapter activities. Each section of the study guide includes vocabulary activities and questions related to the story. Some of the vocabulary ask students to read the word in context and type in their own definition, then type in the dictionary definition, while others are matching type activities. Questions include basic recall and more in-depth response style questions. Some questions ask students to refer to specific Bible passages and apply them to parts of the story.
In addition to these activities, the study guide also addresses topics like synonyms, similes, metaphors, irony, foils, and other literary devices. At the end of the guide, the students get into an in-depth study of the characters and theme, before choosing from ten possible essay topics.
One of the things my son really liked about this study is that he could do it all on the computer. Being able to type all of his answers in made it really easy for him. I would love it if the guide included automatic grading, but since many of the answers are subjective, that would be impossible. However, the included answer key makes it really easy for parents to check their child’s work quickly. I found the vocabulary and questions to be very thorough, and I loved the upper-level thinking they encouraged. The amount of time this study takes really depends on how fast your child reads, we spread this particular book over a six week time period. I was very satisfied with this study guide.
The To Kill a Mockingbird e-Guide costs $21.99. To learn more, connect with Progeny Press on social media here:
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