Monday, March 19, 2012

TOS Review - Progeny Press (The Cay)


The Mission of Progeny Press
"To teach our children to think clearly, to understand literature, and to rely on the scripture for truth and values, and enjoy themselves while they do it!"

If you are in search of a good Literature Study Guide, then Progeny Press might be the product you've been after.

Progeny Press is a family-run business providing study guides for excellent literature from a Christian Perspective. It is not to say that the literature they offer these study guides for are only 'Christian' literature, but the guides are written in such a way that the books are viewed from a Christian viewpoint. The guides help to question how the viewpoint in the book relates or compares to a Biblical point of view.  It is evident in the ABOUT US section that Michael and Rebecca are passionate about God, good literature and teaching children to appreciate good literature.

At the time of this writing, Progeny Press offers a selections of 107 study guides to literature for ages K-12. The genres include: American Literature, British Literature, Christian Literature, Historical Literature, Poetry, Shakespeare and World Literature. Choosing a guide is easy as it is broken down in genres as well as grade levels (Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary, Middle School & High School). 

The Study Guides are available in the following formats:

  1. Printed and bound booklet
  2. CD in .pdf format
  3. Downloadable .pdf as an e-mail attachment 
For this review I received the Study Guide for the book 'The Cay' by Theodore Taylor as a .pdf e-mail attachment.

Each .pdf Study Guide package includes:

  1. A read-me file with instructions on how to use the interactive study guide
  2. A Study Guide 
  3. Answer Key

The study guide can be printed, or if the student prefers, the answer can be typed directly into the document.

The Study Guide itself includes:

  • Synopsis of the book
  • Bio on the author
  • Background information on the setting for the story
  • Pre-reading activities
  • An in-depth study of the chapters, which are broken down into various sections including:

Vocabulary - what I liked about this section is that it provides space for what you think a word means based on the context of the sentence and only then does the student look it up in the dictionary. This made for good discussion about how we use words and how language has changed over time.

Questions - the questions are open ended and thought provoking. Questions are written in such a way that the student don't just answer from the text, but are encouraged to think outside the pages of the book and find answers from their own beliefs about the world around them.

Digging Deeper - here the student is directed to the Bible as well as being asked to think a bit deeper about certain issues such as fear or discrimination.

Optional Activities - These include research, writing assignments, map work and many more to keep the student very well engaged with the text and assist in further challenging what they think and how it can relate to the world they live in.

At the end of the guide there is a 10 question overview of the book as well as further essay and project suggestions with additional resources. 

These study guides are truly well thought out, in-depth studies and deliver on what the owners of Progeny Press hope to deliver, which is a Literature Study Guide:

Concentrating on:
  • Critical thinking
  • Comprehension
  • Literary analysis
  • Christian application.

Our goal is to teach our children to think clearly, to understand literature, and to rely on scripture for truth and valuesand enjoy themselves while they do it!
(Quoted from the website)

If you are interested to look at some SAMPLES of different Study Guides click HERE.

The How To Use Progeny Press Study Guide page provides a good understanding in how to best implement this product. It is suggested that the student completely reads the literature during the first week and then start the study guide in week two, doing one page per day. This will work out to about 8-10 weeks to complete. 

We requested 'The Cay' from the library after receiving the study guide and the kids and I thoroughly enjoyed doing the study as far as we could. We read a portion of the book and then did the portion of the study guide that corresponded with the chapters we read. This worked well for us as I used this as another read-aloud with my 8 and 11 year olds. The kids wanted to work on some questions individually and some together, so I chose to print off a copy of the required section for each child, although the answers can be typed directly into the document. The children were very disappointed when I wanted to renew the book and it was on hold! I did request it again, so we are all eager to get back into it. 

I've had a look at the other guides available and there are a few I am very interested in purchasing.

The electronic study guides retail for between US$10.99 (Lower Elementary) and US$18.99 (High School).

Visit the Products page to see the amazing selection Progeny Press offers. When you click on an item it gives you a description of the book, which age level it is for, how many pages and section the study guide has and the format in which the guide is available.

Here you will also find the stores available around the world, which include:

  • USA
  • Canada
  • England
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Taiwan

For more information on the owners or the product, please visit Progeny Press today.

You can also visit Rebecca (co-owner of Progeny Press) at her Blog: Ask Rebecca

As part of the TOS Review Crew I was given a free downloadable copy of 'The Cay Study Guide'. In exchange for this product, I offer my honest and personal opinion about this product in this review. I did not receive any other compensation. 

As with any review, this is one opinion only. Please visit the Crew's Blog to read other reviews on this product.

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