Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.
Over the last month, we have been reviewing literature study guides from Progeny Press. My 2nd grader worked with me to do the Wagon Wheels Study Guide, and my 8th grader did Cricket in Times Square Study Guide. These were digital guides that could be printed or completed on the computer. They require you to have the novel, but most of them are available at your local library, or they can be ordered directly from Progeny Press.
Cricket in Times Square Study Guide
Progeny Press recommends the Cricket in Times Square Study Guide for upper elementary students, but since my middle school daughter had never read the book, we decided to give it a try.
This guide broke the book down into small sections of just a few chapters. Each week my daughter would read the assigned chapters and work on that section in the guide. The guide was provided as an editable PDF so she could fill in the answers on her computer and save her work. We liked that format and appreciated that we didn’t have to manage lots of papers.
Each section had a vocabulary component, comprehension questions, and a going deeper section. My daughter felt like the vocabulary section helped her understand the book. We both appreciated that the going deeper areas often brought in scripture. We liked the Christian worldview of the study. There was also background information and optional writing assignments. Within the questions, there was information about various literary terms such as foreshadowing.
Overall, my daughter said she would love to do another similar study. She liked that she read the book in shorter sections and felt like she would enjoy other novels done in the same style. She spent about two hours each week completing the reading and questions.
Wagon Wheels Study Guide
We started with my second grader by checking out the Wagon Wheels book from the library and reading it together. Then we went back and began the Wagon Wheels Study Guide.
This guide had vocabulary, comprehension questions, and going deeper questions as well. Since my son needs more help with reading and writing, I asked him the questions orally and typed in his answers. I thought the questions were very appropriate for the age level. Some of them were very direct from the story, and some asked him to think a bit more.
Each section took us about 30-45 minutes. This worked well for us because we were using this in conjunction with his phonics program and so only wanted to spend a few minutes a day working through the study. A student who was reading and writing on a second-grade level could have completed the study mostly independently. If he were completing it independently, it might have taken a bit longer.
Overall Thoughts and Conclusions
When my older son had tried literature guides from Progeny Press, he really did not enjoy them (though he learned a lot.). However, my daughter and younger son did well with the Progeny Press study guides. We found them to be interesting, thorough, and easy to use. I liked that my daughter could complete hers independently, and I could just go behind her and check her work. Since my son is a struggling reader but much stronger at comprehension, we completed his together. It was a great way to allow him to focus on understanding the book without the hindrance of his phonics struggles.
Different Review Crew Members tried out additional studies for various ages, so I encourage you to click on the graphic below and see how they used them in their families.