I was selected to review Progeny Press Guide for Treasure Island. Progeny Press sells over one hundred titles categorized into Elementary, Middle, and High School grade levels. Their goal is to teach children to think clearly, to understand literature, and to rely on God's scripture for truth and values, and enjoy themselves while they do it!
I received the interactive downloadable guide which is available for $16.99. The interactive guide allowed my student to key in her answers to questions directly on the computer. I did not have to print out any information but the print option is available for this guide. A CD of the guide can be purchased for $16.99 as well. I’ve used the physical Progeny Press guides in the past which are available for $18.99 but this was my first experience using the interactive guide. Personally, I like flipping through pages and being able to transport work but for a technologically savvy person the interactive guide is great and very convenient.
The guide for Treasure Island is divided into 6 parts as follows:
Part I – The Old Buccaneer, chapters 1-6
Part II - The Sea Cook, chapters 7-12
Part III - My Shore Adventure, chapters 13-15
Part IV- The Stockade, chapters 16-21
Part V - My Sea Adventure, chapters 22-27
Part VI – Captain Silver, chapters 28-34
Each part is comprised of vocabulary that is mentioned in the chapters; questions that flesh out a literary concept that was covered like mood or setting; comprehension questions; “Dig Deeper” questions that apply the text to real life; scripture references; and discussion questions. I love the structure and organization of the guide. It is logical and allows the student to get more from his reading than if he had just read straight through from beginning to end. Progeny Press guides force you to stop, think, and analyze the text.
Pre-reading activities are included before starting each part of guide. For the Treasure Island guide some activities include research on different sea vessels, island research and geography to include drawing a map of the setting. We used a physical Progeny Press guide for The Giver earlier in the school year. By comparison, the pre-reading activities included in that guide were researching other real-life utopian societies, researching coming-of-age ceremonies in different cultures, and exploring different career options. My daughter did some of the pre-reading activities in the earlier guide we used as the subject material was new to her but we chose to skip the pre-reading activities for Treasure Island because she has previously done research on ships and has studied geography extensively.
We started our study of Treasure Island by reading the novel aloud. I would read one day and my daughter the next. We abandoned this method in favor of an audio version of the book from the library. She listened and gave me an oral summary every few chapters or so. We did the exercises together in the interactive guide.
After completing the novel and finishing the study of each part in the guide, a final overview explores character, symbolism, the major conflicts in the novel, and theme. Students are taken through the dramatic structure of exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and denouement. They are given the opportunity to identify each section of this dramatic structure for full understanding of specific events that drive the plot forward.
Finally, there are several essay topics to choose from for a final writing assignment. The assignments give the student an opportunity to condense all of his learning into one last culminating event. The choices include character analysis, compare and contrast essays, research topics, informative writing, and creative writing.
Additional resources are listed that include other books written by the author and books of similar interest. Other classics listed as additional resources for Treasure Island include Robinson Crusoe and Gulliver’s Travels.
I love, love Progeny Press Guides. They suggest 8-12 weeks to complete a guide. If I could spend an unlimited amount of time reading novels, I would use these guides for reading all the Classics. I have purchased other guides and by far consider Progeny Press guides the best.
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