Congratulations to Heather and Holly, winners of the Reading Detective Curriculum! Thanks to everyone who read the post and entered!
Note: I received free product review of the Reading Detective Curriculum from The Critical Thinking Company. I was not asked to offer my opinion of the product; however, I did offer to blog about our experiences with the Reading Detective Curriculum. I am not being compensated to provide this review and it will contain my honest opinion of the product.
Remember that post I wrote about not teaching reading? Well, I kinda decided to be more flexible on that stance because (I think) one of my homeschoolers (6th grader) struggles with reading comprehension. And when I say reading comprehension, that’s code for the stuff that appears on standardized tests. She loves to read and it’s not something I have to force either of the girls to do, but when it comes to those passages presented on tests it seems like she just checks-out mentally. Go figure. She can easily recall facts and details both verbally and in writing, so I hesitate to assign a label of struggling reader nor do I want to say it is text-anxiety, but I am leaning that way.
For the 6th grader, I requested Reading Detective Rx: Using Higher-Order Thinking to Improve Reading Comprehension as it is designed for students in grades 6-12 who may be struggling with reading comprehension. As soon as I received the books, I immediately reviewed them to determine how they were arranged and the types of activities included. Surprisingly, the passages are shorter than most of those found on standardized tests, yet they were of high-interest; both fiction and non-fiction passages are included. The Rx books contains Pretests, Post-tests, and eleven units that cover topics such as main idea, conclusions, story elements, literacy devices, etc. My 6th grader said she liked this program better than some of the other activities we’ve tried; the stories were just the right length for her and she found them interesting. She looks forward to completing activities each day and kindly informed me that she is almost done with the entire book. Both girls completed two activities per day.
My avid reader, who is working on both third and fourth grade level assignments, does not have a problem with comprehension. Instead, she has this idea that she has to rush through her work and be the first to finish everything. I can understand that mentality, as school teachers are rushed to cover a certain amount of material/standards within a very short period. I have repeatedly told her that taking her time, thoroughly reading the material, and grasping the lesson is much more important than being the first person finished. Like her big sister, she enjoyed working in the Reading Detective: Beginning book for grades 3-4 because of the content and the manner in which it was presented. Like the other book, this one contains Pretest and Post-tests; it covers topics such as inference, vocabulary, story parts, and main idea. Although I know she can easily handle a higher grade level, I wanted her to become familiar with this format because she has never taken a standardized test; she needs to have a general idea of what to expect.
Overall, this is a great curriculum. Although it is not marketed to homeschooling families, I think it would be a great (and affordable) investment for those families looking to implement review and practice of important skills that students will use in all content areas and as lifelong learners. Our family will definitely continue using products from The Critical Thinking Company as part of our homeschool curriculum.
For anyone looking on additional strategies for teaching (and monitoring) reading comprehension, Reading Rockets has a helpful post, Seven Strategies to Teach Students Text Comprehension on their site.
If you are interested in the Reading Detective Curriculum giveaway, simply follow the instructions:
If you choose to leave a comment on this blog as part of the giveaway, you may get a message stating that your comment was not approved. PLEASE IGNORE THAT! I get all comments and let the system know which are spam and which are actual comments. Sorry for the confusion/inconvenience!