I mentioned a couple times the last few weeks about our books that we are reading for school…Well, Great Expectations is one of the books we are reading. At one point I think we were reading five books at one time, it got a little crazy around these parts for a while! I think we are down to three books at the moment which is a little more reasonable! I have been wanting to read another book by Charles Dickens for a while, so I was happy to review the Great Expectations E-Guide from Progeny Press.
With classic books such as Great Expectations, I always love when I can have a study guide to go along with it. Sometimes the reading gets a little tough and it helps you understand what is going on a little easier. The kids had a lot of questions as we were reading, and sometimes I just couldn’t answer them myself!
Now, I will say, the guide suggests reading the whole book completely before starting the study guide. If you have read Great Expectations, it is what, like 59 chapters? We started this over a month ago and read one to two chapters every time we read and we still are about half way through. So, what I modified it to was that we would work on the study guide every seven chapters, or however else it is broken up in the study guide. I think that is a great amount to where you can still remember what is going on and be able to answer the questions.
Our schedule for reading was basically a 3-4 day reading week, depending on our other activities for the week. Then, when it was time to work on the study guide, we would also take a few days to go over each section. I don’t like to rush study guides because it really helps them understand the book better! We would devote one day to each section in the guide.
I love the variety of this particular study guide. It is pretty thorough, in my opinion! It starts out with a little information about the author of the study guide. There is a brief section on how to use the guide, which I found helpful, but like I said, I had to modify it for this particular book, at least for us. Next was a page about Charles Dickens as the author of the book. Following that was a synopsis of the book. I found this helpful so that the kids knew a little bit about the book before we started reading it. Lastly, there is a little background information about the time period that the book was written in.
There is a section that I am going to really enjoy, but we haven’t used much yet, and that is the pre-reading section. I felt that the kids would understand the activities more as we read, rather than before. For example, one of the activities was to draw caricatures of three characters in the book. We are at the point now that I think we could definitely each draw one for sure, so I may start that next week. There are some wonderful facial descriptions in this story, some we have laughed out loud about as we all imagined what that person would look like..
As for the e-guide itself, it is broken down into sections. The first part is vocabulary. They show the word in context of the sentence and want you to write what the word means and use it in a sentence of your own. You can fill it on the computer, or print it out. I love that option! With three kids, we actually voiced our answers frequently rather than printing or typing.
Next is a general section, basically reading comprehension style questions. These are great for having you remember what you read. Some of the questions are fairly simple, which put in your mind important matters to keep in the back of your head for further chapters. There is also an analysis section that goes more into the actual writing of the book. Why Dickens did things the way he did for example. In the dig deeper section, it gets you thinking harder about certain parts of the book as well as bringing in Bible verses and comparing the story to the verses listed. I am quite thankful for this study guide. Some of the language and accents are hard to understand sometimes, and just to have the study guide to ask a certain question or suggest what happened in the story had us having a lot of ‘Aha’ moments.
Also included is an answer key. I love that they gave answers to a lot of the deeper questions as that helped us in case we weren’t quite sure of the way we wanted to answer things. I will say that the answer key is all mushed together and sometimes it is hard to read. I am almost tempted to put it onto a word document and spread it out a bit more to make it easier for me to read. That is the only complaint I have at all about the whole study guide and that’s just me being picky…
Progeny Press has many study guides for all ages! We happened to pick one of the harder books due to my kids ages and it is taking us a while to get through. I don’t mind though! For the high school grade levels, they suggest giving a 1/4 credit for each study guide, I think that is very fair, with how thorough they are… There are so many selections just in the high school selection alone, some of my kids favorite books are listed!
If you have kids of different ages, feel free to click on the banner below and see what books and study guides other people chose! And make sure to check out the Progeny Press website to see the other selections in your kids grade level!