I adore how we do our homeschool reading. I love our book and a movie, but I also recognize that there are a few things I wasn’t teaching with how we approached homeschool reading. Enter Apologia Readers in Residence.
(This post is sponsored by Apologia, all opinions are my own, I’ve got a few affiliate links sprinkled in marked with an *)
What is Apologia Readers in Residence?
I’m familiar with Apologia from their elementary science (Side note, they have a super cool FREE resource for the upcoming eclipse). We used most of their elementary science titles during our early years of homeschooling (All of their animal books, anatomy, and space), and I’ve kept them around for reference books. They make good quality stuff.
Readers in Residence is a new homeschool reading curriculum designed for 4-8 grade. So far their first book in the series is out, which of course means it is the simplest books to read (they’re all 3-5 grade, but there are ways you can make this work for your middle schooler, like my kids). Check out this AWESOME sample if you want to see more pages, the sample is what convinced me to try it out.
There are six different units in Readers in Residence covering six different books. Three books are assigned: Sarah Plain and Tall, Charlotte’s Web, and Because of Winn-Dixie (Two of these I KNOW have movies, and
I’ve heard a rumor Sarah plan and Tall does also, rumor confirmed).
Here’s where you can make this curriculum work for your older kid. The three listed books are all elementary reading books and great books for their genres. They’re also a great way to introduce kids to historical fiction, animal fantasy, and realistic fiction.
Teaching Readers in Residence with a 4th grader and an 8th grader
After each joint assigned reading, give them some books according to their grade/reading level.
Historical fiction suggestions
For your elementary kids try Justin Morgan Had a Horse
Johnny Tremain for 6th grade and Adventures of Huck Finn* for 7/8 grade for historical fiction- there are a lot of great topics to discuss in these books. Admittedly, Adventures of Huck Finn was not historical fiction when it was written, which can lead to another fun description.
Animal Fantasy Suggestions
Jungle Book for animal fantasy. With that one, you can also get into some fun poetry. Or the Tale of Despereaux (reading level is 4th grade, so you could read it with both, but there’s some great deeper stuff to discuss with your junior high kid).
Realistic Fiction Suggestions
Obviously, for your elementary kid you should read Ramona, those books are iconic for a reason.
For junior high I would recommend either Bridge to Terabithia or My Side of the Mountain. Both of these are great books for realistic fiction and have interesting ideas to discuss with your junior high kid.
What my kids have learned from Readers in Residence
This is the first time they’ve had to answer review type questions about books they’ve read. We’ve discussed the book, but they are getting into much more detail than they’ve been required to before.
They have learned how to justify what they’ve decided with details from the book. It’s one thing to say “I really liked it.” It’s another thing to say “These details are why I believe this book took place in the past,” as they did with Charlotte’s Web. They had to pick up on context clues.
That is a valuable skill for later in life.
Important note about how Readers in Residence works
At the beginning of the book, they mention specific editions for the books. I completely missed this detail because I saw the book list, and just grabbed a copy.
The edition I bought on our Nook did not have the same preface mentioned in the Readers in Residence book. Now, if I’d paid attention, this problem wouldn’t have existed. Instead, it became an opportunity to discuss the differences in editions and why publishers created different editions. It also was only a minor problem for part of one day’s work.
I mentioned in the caption up above this can be a very hands off homeschool reading curriculum. All I really had to do was open up the teacher manual and double check the answers against what they’d written down.
My kids used the schedule in the book (we marked it with a post-it note) to see what they were supposed to complete for the day. As you can see I skipped straight to Charlotte’s Web because it was on my list to read soon (just wait until you see the snacks from this movie). Princess loved the book and read it twice before her brothers finished it once.
Want to learn more about Readers in Residence?
Check out the Apologia Facebook page (I love some of the random memes and comics they share).
I also pin a lot from their Pinterest boards, and they’ve got a new Readers in Residence board. Not too surprising, but they’ve got a lot of boards in common with what I already pin about (science, Bible, reading, but no history on there).