Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Apologia ~ A Review


My 5th grader has enjoyed working through Readers in Residence Volume One (Sleuth) from Apologia Educational Ministries over the past weeks. This curriculum is geared for student in grades 4 and up. Readers in Residence aims to help student comprehend what they are reading in order to appreciate its beauty.

For this review I was sent the following book set which includes:

Readers in Residence Volume 1 (Sleuth) Student Text and Workbook 
This 562 page, full color, spiral bound text includes both student lessons as well as all activities and work required

Readers in Residence Volume 1 (Sleuth) Answer Key Book 
This softbound answer key book contains all the answers for the activities and questions found in the Student Text and Workbook.



Readers in Residence contains 6 units of study which include:

  • Sarah, Plain And Tall
  • On Your Own: Historical Fiction
  • Charlotte's Web
  • On Your Own: Animal Fantasy
  • Because Of Winn-Dixie
  • On Your Own: Your Choice
Each unit is broken down into modules. Then each module is broken down into sections. When the curriculum is complete your student will have read six books, added to their vocabulary, increased reading comprehension, show what they have learned through fun projects, and hopeful gained a new love and appreciation for literature. A suggested daily schedule is provided in order to help your student organize their time in order to complete the curriculum successfully. 

Each unit has a thorough introduction of the book being studied or suggestions about how to choose a book. Your student will become reading sleuths and find out that reading does in fact require detective work. What do I mean by detective work? Well, most books have foreshadowing, mysteries to solve, and hints throughout the book that give a reader sneak peaks about what is to come. Readers must be able to figure out new words and there meaning. It is important for readers to understand characters within the book they are reading and why they are important, why they behave the way they do, how they play their role within the text. When an author writes a book they always have something that they hope the reader will glean from their writing. Students will learn how to be active readers. 

Students will learn the importance of identifying the books genre. They will learn the importance of studying a books cover and all of the details that they can learn from just studying a books cover both front and back. They will learn to identify character development, plot development, and setting within books. 


Some of the literary terms that your student will be introduced to are:
  • nonfiction
  • fiction
  • infographic
  • plot
  • setting
  • narrative
  • non narrative
  • active reading
  • theme
  • text
  • italics
  • connotation 
  • denotation

Throughout the modules your student will come across helpful tools in color coded boxes. These include:
  • take notice suggestions
  • vocabulary
  • checklists
  • reader's toolboxes
  • sneak peeks
  • point system checklists
  • sleuth's log
  • reader's questions
The student text and workbook is very student friendly and easy to follow. It is colorful and inviting. The curriculum engages the student in thought provoking questions, charts to fill in, providing drawing spaces, etc.. 


My daughter has been working through Unit 1 over the past weeks. She is an avid reader and has already read all of the books to be studied in the curriculum. At first she didn't understand why reading the books again would be helpful. After explaining to her the purpose behind Reader's In Residence and that there was so much more to a book than just reading it for fun. I also explained to her how the tools learned in this curriculum would benefit her going forward with each new book she read. 

My 5th grader has been able to pretty much work through the modules on her own with very minimal help. She has had fun dissecting Sarah Plain And Tall and reading it through this second time has opened her eyes to new perspectives, thoughts, questions, and understanding. 

Some of the questions asked in the modules are:

What does this bit of dialogue show you about Papa before you even meet him?

How does Sarah describe the sea? Use a sentence from the book to support your answer?

Sarah shows herself to be different from the other women the children have known. List some of her unique characteristics that you have noticed throughout the book.


Readers in Residence Answer Key

The answer key provides the teacher with the tools needed to grade and assess the student along the way. It provides answers to questions and charts. A section entitled, How to Make RIR Work for Your Student gives ways to tailor the curriculum to your child's needs. The answer key breaks down every component within the student text and workbook and explains its relevance and importance. I found the answer key to be very helpful. 

In a section entitled, How Books Are Selected, Debra Bell explains the reasoning behind the three books chosen for this curriculum. One sentence stood out that I wanted to share, "In the same way that listening to a great symphony or viewing a famous painting many times increases our appreciation and understanding, rereading exceptional literature enriches our experience." Wow, this is so very true. When I read this aloud to my daughter my 8th grader chimed in and said, "See mom, that is why I reread my favorite books again and again!" I am all too guilty of giving my daughter a hard time about rereading books over and over. 

I will point out that specific editions of the books assigned are required. Page numbers referenced as well as additional information added in anniversary editions will be utilized. 

I would HIGHLY recommend this curriculum to other homeschoolers. Apologia has many amazing curriculums to offer and each one that I have used has been great. Whether reading for school or pleasure, the tools learned in Readers in Residence Volume One (Sleuth) will enable your student to sleuth and dissect a book, a tool very beneficial for life. 

To read more reviews click here.

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