Reviewing The Sword in the Tree E-Guide, which is published by Progeny Press, has given our family mixed reactions. We have reviewed an e-guide from Progeny Press before and it was a pleasant experience. Their guide is still just as good this time around.
Progeny Press is a company that has dedicated itself to a mission of helping children access great literature and understand it. As a part of this mission, they encourage the student to rely on scripture for understanding and explaining literature and its application.
Progeny Press has e-guides for all sorts of literature, as well as some printed guides. This is a nice balance because it allows you to purchase what works best for your student. We have used both a printed and an e-guide. Personally, I like the e-guides best but that isn’t always what works best. Specifically, Progeny Press has kept their guides for lower elementary print only. Everything else, 4th-12th, has a choice of either print or interactive, meaning a pdf on CD or access through an emailed link after purchase.
We received The Sword in the Tree E-Guide. This guide is recommended for 4th-6th grade. It is a PDF file that I downloaded and saved to our computer. We access it simply as any other file and it is saved to the folder for Miss E. She would access it from there and save the new answers each time.
The e-guide is filled!
- Table of Contents (and you can click from here to any of the headings which makes it super easy to get to where you are working within the guide)
- Summary of the book
- Information about the author
- Prereading activities
- Chapter comprehension and application questions (grouped in groups of about 3 chapters in this guide)
- Vocabulary (grouped with about 6 chapters in a group in this guide)
- Overview questions
- Postreading activities
- Additional resources
The answer key came in a separate file, which is nice. I saved it to a separate place, not that I was expecting Miss E to try to use it. But it is good to have that in a separate file.
Miss E read The Sword in the Tree straight through. It was really too easy of a book for her, as a 6th grader. I had purposefully chosen an easier book with the hopes that it would make the answering of the questions more pleasant for her. She struggles to answer the questions other people deem important with a book. So, this choice was done to attempt to help ease that struggle of figuring out how to answer those questions. Well, it didn’t work for her. She struggled through this.
The questions are not the issue for her. The questions are fantastic and very well done. The questions range from simple knowledge questions (Who was ____? What did he do? ) to fairly in-depth analysis questions (Does this count as an apology? Why or why not?). There are also questions that ask the student to look up additional resources, in this case Bible verses, and apply them to different aspects of the story. One such application: looking up some Proverbs and applying them to work and attitudes.
There are also a variety of ways to answer: short answer, drop box for selection options, fill in the blank, and even some that require a discussion with someone.
Each sections includes:
- Questions (most seem to be knowledge level questions)
- Think About The Story (questions where you are looking into people and their actions or attitudes)
- Dig Deeper (applying ideals and perspectives to characters and their actions, as well as your own thoughts and actions)
- Optional Activities (hands on activities to help you experience or explore)
This particular e-guide also tackled various aspects of a story and writing: setting, fact vs opinion, simile, comparison vs contrast, characterization, foreshadowing, imagery, point of view, theme, and more.
These guides are fantastic. Miss L has used a Progeny Press e-guide before (see our previous reviews for Sarah, Plain and Tall, as well as Little House on the Prairie and The Courage of Sarah Noble) and she adored it. She will probably take a gander at this one next fall. She enjoyed being able to type in her answers and use the computer. She like seeing her progress marked by going page by page through the guide and finally reaching the end of it. So, she’ll take this up in a couple of months and I know she will enjoy it.
My take on it all:
Progeny Press has done a beautiful, thorough job of giving us a study guide to walk students through the depth of a book, learning and exploring all that it has to offer. They encourage the student to look deeper into the purposes of characters and to find all the book has to offer. These are great for students that do well with structure and are able to process the deeper thinking questions that are found throughout the guide.
Progeny Press offers study guides for students of all ages with such a variety of titles that everyone should find something that interests them. Find out more about some of the specific titles that the Review Crew used for the past few weeks by clicking on the Read More banner below.