Readers in Residence Volume 1 Review

A fun way for kids to learn to become excellent readers is for them to become an expert reading detective and see the material presented with a biblical worldview. The Readers in Residence Series has 4 great courses to get kids excited learning how to be a reading detective.  We were recently sent the first volume in the series Readers in Residence Volume 1 (Sleuth) by Apologia Educational Ministries .

Readers In Residence Volume 1 (Slueth)

2 Book Set

Student Worktext

Answer Key

4th Grade and UP

Retail $89

This is Volume 1 in a 4 volume series of Readers in Residence courses by Debra Bell and Published by Apologia.  Be sure to check the website for the latest updates in this series.  The four volumes in this series include: Vol 1~ Slueth, Vol 2~ Detective, Vol 3~ Investigator, and Vol 4~ Analyst.  Readers in Residence assumes every reader is a detective.  It focuses on reading comprehension and vocabulary using various literature genres to help students become excellent readers who understand the big picture about the story, the intentions of the author, and real life applications of the story’s message.  Each volume can be used as a stand alone course.

This course is intended to be done by one student, or used in a group setting (such as a book club) with each student having their own worktext. In this course, kids read 6 chapter reader books while using their worktext to answer specific questions to reach their goal of becoming a reading detective.

The course is divided into 6 Units and contains 14 Modules.  It is intended to be worked on 4 days a week and completed in 32 weeks.  However, the course is flexible and you can go as fast or as slow as you want.

Goals of this course include:

  1. AUTHOR’S DESIGN: understand the author’s craft, choices, and intentions
  2. ELEMENTS: recognize the literary elements authors use to create fiction and nonfiction
  3. INFERENCES: make inferences from the details in the text plus their own prior knowledge and experience
  4. NEW WORDS: decode the meaning of unfamiliar words from context clues build a rich and varied vocabulary
  5. FIGURES OF SPEECH: identify and understand figures of speech such as personification, metaphor, and hyperbole
  6. OBSERVATIONS: notice how expert writers employ the conventions of the English language (punctuation, capitalization, grammar, and usage) to achieve clarity

Kids learn about several kinds of literary genres and then settle in to research three specific fiction genres using six chapter books.  They will specifically research three kinds of fiction: Historical Fiction, Animal Fantasy, and Realistic Fiction.  Through out this process, kids will learn about characters, themes, comparison and contrast, plot development, figures of speech, story turning point, settings and set design, and more.

Chapter Book Readers

The suggested chapter books are available at your local library or can be purchased online.  You may already have these books on your book shelves. Three of the books are suggested for you, and three books are of your own choice.

  1. Sarah Plain and Tall (historical fiction)
  2. Your choice (historical fiction)
  3. Charlottes Webb (animal fantacy)
  4. Your choice (animal fantasy)
  5. Because of Windixie (realistic fiction)
  6.  Your choice (fiction of choice)

Student Worktext

This worktext is huge!  My son was excited to get such a big colorful workbook.  It has 562 pages and from cover to cover it is very well done.  It is a text and a workbook “all in one”.

It has large easy to read print on colorfully illustrated pages.  These bright colors and easy text kept my son interested in the material.  There are a lot of comparison type charts and other visual aids built into the lessons and it really makes learning the material easy to understand.

The worktext is spiral bound and the pages are thick and sturdy so it was easy for him to flip the pages and not worry about tearing them.  The book is soft cover so it isn’t has heavy as you might think a large book of this size would be.  It has a nice feel in your hands.  It is very well made.

He likes to take his schoolwork outside on the porch.  It was nice to know this sturdy book would hold up to him using it outside or inside where ever it best fit his needs.  Our other books are not near as sturdy.

I really like how the questions are layed out.  They have explanations and room to fill in the blank after you “hunt” as a detective for the answers.   He found the worktext very easy to follow and the questions were worded in a way he could find the answers in his chapter books quickly.

Answer Key

The Answer Key is a soft cover book of 232 pages.  This is a very easy to use resource for parents to check the progress students are making in their worktext.

The Answer Key contains the lessons questions written in black, and the answers to the questions written in green colored ink.  

In the back of the Answer Key book is a suggested daily schedule that matches the one in the student worktext.  There is also a Grading Rubix called a “Checklist Point System” for each Module.  Points for grades are earned based on the percentage of tasks completed in a Module instead of right and wrong answers.  A student can earn a top score of “6” for “exemplary in quality and effort” down to a “1” for “incomplete” for each task.

A Few Of My Favorite Things:

Some of my favorite things about this course are:

  1. Sowing Seeds: There are scriptures to study in the Sowing Seeds section at the end of each Module to help kids understand the material from a biblical world view.
  2. Independence: It is easy for the student to follow independently and easy for the parent to check on their progress.
  3. Graphs and Illustrations: The comparison graphs and visual aids and colorful pages that engage the student.
  4. Hands On Projects: There are also projects suggested throughout the course that give it almost a hands on Unit Study feel at times.
  5. Study Skills: The reading and comprehension skills learned in this course will be useful for all courses taken throughout all grades especially in highschool and college and it teach good study habits.

I would recommend this course to all homeschool families and homeschool book clubs and coops.  I found this course to be a very useful method of helping kids learn good study skills they will need throughout life.  Debra Bell has put together a great method and beneficial worktext for teaching kids to understand what they are reading.

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Homeschool Review Crew

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