We love Apologia Educational Ministries Science curriculum, so we were really excited to try out their new reading curriculum. Readers In Residence Volume 1 (Sleuth) is a reading comprehension curriculum designed for children in 4th grade or above. It consists of a consumable all-in-one Student Text and Workbook and an Answer Key. You can buy them as a set and then buy the Student Text and Workbook by itself for subsequent children.
The Student Text and Workbook is beautiful and high-quality, just as I have come to expect from Apologia products. It is bright, colorful, and engaging. The reading, assignments, and activities are clear and straight forward so children can work through this curriculum with minimal parental involvement. You will need to check their work and give them opportunities to discuss what they are learning but most of the reading and assignments can be completed independently. There is a suggested schedule at the beginning of the workbook and a checklist and grading rubric at the end of each module.
A fun activity included in this curriculum is creating a book club. The instructions walk your child through all aspects of setting up and hosting this club. It is a fun way to get kids excited about reading and sharing what they have learned!
In addition to the Student Text and Workbook and the Answer Key, you will need one book for each unit. You will need:
- Sarah, Plain and Tall
- Historical fiction of your choice
- Charlotte’s Web
- Animal Fantasy of your choice
- Because of Winn-Dixie
- Any fiction book of your choice
You will also need a blank notebook to use as a Reading Response Journal and some basic art supplies for the projects.
There is very little prep-work involved in this curriculum. Helping with setting up the book club and making sure supplies are available for the projects (these supplies are minimal and common household items) are all you will have to do. Everything else is included right in the workbook.
Vocabulary words, expert reader tips, and author profiles are included throughout the modules. Lessons include charts, discussion questions, fill in the blank questions, and fun projects and activities. Information is presented in a variety of way including many colorful graphics, lists, and sidebar notes in addition to the normal text. This will help children with a variety of learning styles process the information and keep kids engaged.
The first module of Unit 1 explains basic information about reading to comprehend, analyzing a cover, and how books are categorized (fiction vs nonfiction, narrative vs nonnarrative, and genre) that your child will need to know for the rest of the program.
My 11-year-old 6th grader is using this curriculum. I asked her what she thinks of it so far and she said she feels like it is easy and she already knows most of the information. She said she thinks it would be great for a younger child who has not been reading very long and would give that child a great start in reading comprehension. I think it is an excellent curriculum and while she does know many of the concepts presented, it teaches them in such an organized and cohesive manner that it will fill in any gaps she may have. It is a fun curriculum, is not very difficult, and includes wonderful books for anyone to read so I will have her complete it. I do think it would be best started in 4th grade. I look forward to using it with my other kids when they reach that age.
Apologia Educational Ministries also offers a Writers In Residence curriculum and the two paired together make up a complete Language Arts program for late elementary. I have not seen the Writers In Residence program in person but imagine the quality is equal to Readers In Residence Volume 1 (Sleuth).
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