TOS Review: Progeny Press Treasure Island Study Guide

Monday, April 22, 2013

You may have gathered how much we love to read here at Sunnyside. Good books are such an important part of our education.  Literature study is an element of education that is often missed in our society.  Delving further into a good book to gain the intrinsic meaning, to perceive how a different time & age lives & to challenge ourselves in thinking how this can apply to our own lives is a very important skill for any student.     Progeny Press has over 100 different study guides for literature and we were able to try out the Treasure Island Study Guide to review.  
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The Treasure Island Study Guide is a comprehensive guide to the classic book Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.  Each Progeny Press Literature Study Guide requires a dictionary, thesaurus and Bible to complete.  The Treasure Island Study Guide commences with a short synopsis of the story followed by a brief background of the author and then some prereading activities.  It also contains some general instructions for the teacher. It is then broken into 6 parts, each which cover approximately 6 chapters from the book.  These parts contain 4 sections:  
* Vocabulary ~ this explores the unusual Old English words that are found within the story.  It helps to verify a full understanding of the meaning of the words, thus gaining a stronger comprehension of the total story.

* Questions about the story ~ this section tests the reading & comprehension skills of the student and aids the instructor in enabling the student has a full understanding of what is occurring within the pages.

* Thinking about the story ~ this delves a little further into the story & requires you to extrapolate to give your opinion on different parts & characters of the story.  It promotes deeper thinking & adds an additional element to literature study that will be a helpful skill for the student throughout their entire reading life!

* Dig deeper ~ this sections contains the Biblical application that can be taken from the story.  It adds an important component for any Christian student and challenges the student to look at the right & wrong behaviours & attitudes displayed within the text.   

At the end is an Overview section followed by a list of recommended topics for essay assignments.
A answer key is provided separately for the instructor's use.

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We used the Treasure Island Study Guide as a literature component of Zai's grade 5 English course.  Zai has long loved the Treasure Island Story & a free copy  of the full book was available for our ipad on kindle.  I have found the Treasure Island Study Guide to be a great tool to stretch Zai out of his comfort zone within the safety of a familiar story. He thoroughly enjoyed the 'questions about the story' section where he had to directly relay what was happening in the story.  We  both appreciated the additional Christian component in the 'dig deeper' section and found the Bible verses to be applicable & an important aspect to a book full of pirates & their devious endeavours   Unsurprisingly, Zai struggled with a full understanding of the old English terminology.  He seemed to have a general idea of the meanings of the words , but to have a proper definition of the word a comprehensive dictionary was required.  Exploring the dictionary for these terms was not his favourite part of the day.  I was surprised that he also struggled with the ' thinking about it' component.  Training his mind to think outside the actual and to extrapolate to what he perceives is happening or what the character may be feeling  is going to take more practice and is a skill I intend to cultivate over the coming years.   

The Treasure Island  Study Guide is recommended for students in 5th to 8th grade.  It is available from Progeny Press for $18.99 as a  printed booklet or $16.99 as a CD or an instant download. It can be used as an interactive form which can be filled out directly on the computer. 

Zai is on the younger of the recommended age range.  Further maturity & life experience would make completing the study guide an easier task. We did not have enough time for Zai to complete the guide or any of the essays at the end.
The Treasure Island Study Guide is definitely an asset to our homeschool.  It has enabled me to identify areas of weakness & now I am able to address those to ensure that Zai has a stronger literature understanding  throughout his lifetime!  


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