It’s easy to believe that a homeschool reading curriculum isn’t needed once our kids are able to read well. I think it’s even easier to believe that when our kids are reading voluntarily, but I’m learning that’s not the case.
*I received a free copy of Readers in Residence for review and have been compensated for my time writing this. These thoughts are my own and I was not required to write a positive review. Also, this post contains affiliate links. See disclosure for additional information.
Although I’ve got an 11 year-old who enjoys reading and has been doing so for years without being prompted, it turns out that adding a reading curriculum to our homeschool plans has made a bigger impact than I expected.
I understand the importance of a homeschool reading curriculum now that my big kid has been working through Debra Bell’s Readers in Residence for a few months. (You may know her from her work with Apologia.) I’m seeing firsthand the difference between a child who reads and a child who fully comprehends what he reads.
Readers in Residence: Homeschool Reading Curriculum from Apologia
You may be as surprised as I was when I first learned of Readers in Residence. I mean, when Apologia pops up in a game of word association, I generally think of science resources like this free Eclipse Activity e-Book, but not language arts.
I’m learning there’s more to Apologia than science and worldview. Instead, Apologia is helping homeschoolers do more than read for the sake of reading fluently. Apologia is helping raise analytical readers who know how to read between the lines and put all the pieces in place.
Readers in Residence Overview
Readers in Residence is an all-in-one text and workbook written with students in grade 4 and up in mind. It’s broken into six units that allow students to focus on the following reading comprehension goals:
- Building vocabulary
- Deciphering meaning through context
- Identifying and understanding figures of speech
- Making inferences
- Observing how authors communicate clearly through capitalization, punctuation, grammar, and usage
To build these reading skills, students work independently for the most part and experience three literary genres as they read: historical fiction, animal fantasy, and contemporary realistic fiction.
Now that you know a little more about Readers in Residence, let me tell you about our experience thus far.
Why This Homeschool Reading Curriculum?
My son doesn’t generally have problems with reading comprehension so I never thought a separate reading curriculum was a worthy investment of our homeschool time. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Here’s what I’ve learned about Readers in Residence.
1. It Helps Put the Pieces Together
My kiddo was already a reader, but I know now that he wasn’t getting a complete understanding of what he read before his time in Readers in Residence.
He told me he was able to get a clear black and white picture from what he read in the past, — there’s nothing wrong with that — but he’s learning to see what he reads in full color now because of the tools he’s gained. It’s as if he sees the same picture, but now he knows how to make it come alive.
The wonderful thing about this is that these tools don’t stop working when he closes his Readers in Residence book for the day. Instead, they carry over into everything he reads. These skills will truly serve him long after he finishes the last unit.
Also worth noting, I appreciate how Readers in Residence helps my kiddo connect his personal relationship with God to the characters and situations introduced through reading. These are connections that will help him see God working in his day-to-day life as he continues to mature in his faith.
2. It Encourages Kids to Read Timeless Literature
Building reading comprehension skills is always a good thing, but it’s even better when that building happens through quality literature. Through Readers in Residence, students are guided through Patricia MacLachlan’s Sarah, Plain and Tall, E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web, and Kate DiCamillo’s Because of Winn Dixie.
What’s even better is that after kids read each of these books and work through the corresponding units, they get to choose a book from the matching genre to read and study. For historical fiction, my kiddo selected Avi’s Crispin: The Cross of Lead and for animal fantasy he’s chosen S.D. Smith’s The Green Ember.
He hasn’t selected his contemporary realistic fiction book yet, so we’ll probably choose one of the recommendations at the beginning of that On Your Own unit. Those reading suggestions are especially helpful since he doesn’t read much from that genre.
3. It Encourages Community
I love how Readers in Residence continually encourages kids to enjoy the community that happens naturally through reading. There’s great emphasis on the connections that readers experience — connections with book characters themselves and connections with others who read and share the same love for books.
Speaking of connecting with others, there are fantastic book club projects that encourage kids to build community and share the Readers in Residence books with others.
What I love the most about these Book Club assignments is that they’re flexible. Readers in Residence reminds kids that Book Club can happen among family and friends or even online. Also, while you’re certainly welcome to plan the Book Club get-together however you wish, there are practical suggestions for themes, refreshments, and discussion questions.
4. It’s Open and Go
My two kids are five years apart in age, so that means I often feel like I have one foot planted in two different homeschooling worlds. That’s why I’m extra grateful that Readers in Residence is an open and go homeschool reading curriculum.
Beyond obtaining the books and being available for discussion and follow up, there’s not much to do on my end. There’s even a suggested schedule included, which means I don’t have to spend huge amounts of time deciding how to break up these assignments each day. That work is already done.
Where to Find Apologia’s Readers in Residence
While you’re at it, be sure you’re following Apologia on your favorite social media platforms. You can find them all over the social world through the links below: