Readers in Residence, Volume 1 from Apologia {Review}

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This past summer I had the opportunity to review Writers in Residence from Apologia for our upcoming school year. I loved it and have continued to use it with my 5th and 7th graders. It is teaching them to write with much more expression and is taking them to a level that I don't feel I could have on my own. That being said, when the opportunity came along to write a review for Readers in Residence I wasn't certain that it was something we really needed. At the same time, I figured it couldn't hurt to give it a try and I'm so glad we did!

Why I Didn't Think We Needed Readers in Residence

Both of our older children are avid readers. They never struggled with reading and, in fact, my daughter basically started reading on her own at age 3 1/2 and hasn't stopped since. We have thoroughly enjoyed the Pathway Readers that we have used for several years now and I planned to continue to do that with my daughter who was entering 5th grade. For my son who was entering 7th grade I figured we'd choose a few classics to focus in on and maybe write a couple of reports here and there. I try to focus on only using curriculum that is necessary and like to keep costs to a minimum so I didn't see this as a need.

Why I'm Glad I Said Yes

Turns out, I'm so glad we have the opportunity to use RIR because, just like WIR, it's taking my children to a deeper level than I ever could have in this area. I'm in awe of what is covered and am thrilled that they can learn from Debra Bell in this way! This curriculum is not a "how to teach your child to read" style, but rather, one that teaches students to take the time to process and enjoy what they read. I believe that's a critical element to help develop well rounded critical readers and RIR does an excellent job accomplishing that. 

It also teaches students to appreciate good literature while also learning to filter what they read through the Word of God. This is very, very important to me!

I love that there are three books chosen to accompany this curriculum. These books do not come with the curriculum but you can easily request them from your library. They are: Sarah, Plain and Tall, Charlotte's Web and Because of Winn Dixie. An additional three books are also studied but the student can choose them based on the genre that is required. 

How RIR Works

RIR is designed to help children comprehend what they are reading. It comes at literature from the perspective of a detective so it really teaches children to look for clues, ask questions, think and speculate.

My children are currently working through the first book in the program, Sarah, Plain and Tall. First, they study clues on the cover to give them an idea of what the book is about. Then they read one chapter at a time and answer questions about that chapter. After that, they complete various activities such as "What I Learned From Sarah's Letter" or "What I Expected Sarah To Be Like". They also discuss various literary genres and types of texts. This reading program by Debra Bell is thorough and fantastic! I couldn't be happier with it. 

The student book is rather large but it is all your child will need to complete this curriculum. There is also an answer key in a separate book. Our family educates year round so I just have my children work in their book for about 10 minutes per day. If you were to fit this into a regular school calendar you would need to commit more time to it than that. I love that this program is flexible and you can complete it in the way you see fit. It is also written with the student in mind and is easily self-directed using the parent or teacher as a reading coach. I love that because not only does it free up some of my time to work with other children but it also gently allows our children to learn to be independent learners.

Who is Readers in Residence For?

Readers in Residence, Volume 1 is geared towards grades 4th and up. It wonderfully combines activities, lessons and opportunities to share books with others. One of the activities is to have a book club so my children organized that for us and it was so much fun! Another activity was to design your own book cover. We had fun doing this, especially since my daughter has been working on her own ebook. It was nice to put some practical thought into a real life project that she is working on. 

If you desire to teach your children to value and appreciate good literature, as well as to understand what they are reading on a deeper level than just being able to repeat a story back to you, then you might want to consider this program. 

Additional Helpful Information

"The Readers in Residence (RIR) series is a reading comprehension, literature, and vocabulary program. It may be used alone or in conjunction with the Writers in Residence series. Together the two programs provide a full year of language arts. In Readers in Residence, while studying some of the finest books in children’s literature, students learn how to do the following:

  • understand the author’s craft, choices, and intentions
  • recognize the literary elements authors use to create fiction and nonfiction
  • make inferences from the details in the text plus their own prior knowledge and experience
  • decode the meaning of unfamiliar words from context clues
  • build a rich and varied vocabulary
  • identify and understand figures of speech such as personification, metaphor, and hyperbole
  • notice how expert writers employ the conventions of the English language (punctuation, capitalization, grammar, and usage) to achieve clarity
Readers in Residence, Volume 1 is aimed at students in 4th grade and up. It is suitable for older students who struggle with reading comprehension or who are unfamiliar with the skills taught in this program." source

I'm so grateful to have this program for our children to use and feel extremely blessed to have it. So, even if you were like me and didn't think you needed it, I'd encourage you to reconsider that idea and give it a try. I think you'll be glad you did!

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1 comment:

superiorpapers com review said...

Thanks for mentioning this book. I will surely find it and give it to my younger brother. If he develops good english skills from now, he'll surely be much better later on.

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