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Friday, October 9

Progeny Press : Sam the Minuteman Review

 As we are studying the Revolutionary War this year, we took the opportunity to review the Sam the Minuteman Guide from ProgenyPress.  Progeny Press has over 100 different literature guides to choose from across all grade levels.  Sam the Minuteman is for students in 1st-3rd grades, and is a fictional novel set during the Revolutionary War.  The main character is a young boy who witnesses the Shot Heard ‘Round the World.

We received an instant download of the Progeny Press StudyGuide for Sam the Minuteman.  To complete the literature guide, we needed a copy of the book, a dictionary and thesaurus, and a bible.  The guide took about a week to complete.  We also read the complementary book, George the Drummer Boy, with this lesson.  At this time, though, there is no study guide to accompany that book.

The guide opens with introductory elements, a synopsis, information about the author, and pre-reading activities.  These activities are designed to help set the scene for the study, and help the child picture what life was like during the Revolutionary War era.  There are also activities recommended to do as the child reads, such as making a map of the city in the story and adding places as they come up, and keeping track of cultural details.
The guide also includes these elements:
  • Vocabulary – This covers 10-20 words and covers dictionary skills.  Various tasks are assigned for learning the new words.
  • Questions - This section consists of straightforward questions about the events in the story.
  • Thinking About the Story - This section requires the child to pay attention to the other details of the story.  These questions include evaluating a character’s motive, making inferences about events to come, and discussing the conflict in the story.
  • Dig Deeper - In this section, Bible verses and principals are brought into the study.  The verses shared help the child think more deeply about the characters and conflict in the novel, and lead them to make value judgements about the content of the book.
  • Optional Activities - This section contains ideas like making a poster, having a class discussion, doing further research and learning more about the American Revolution.

I was impressed at the material covered in a lower elementary guide, and pleased at the diversity of activities provided.  I don’t think a child would be bored using this study, even if they absolutely hate one assignment, chances are the other sections will use a different method.  I feel like the “Dig Deeper” section is really a valuable thing for parents who want their children to read good fiction, but also have discussions about their own views on morality and character in the context of the book.

Extra points :
  • Each literature guide is available in three versions: a physical book, a CD with a PDF ebook, or a downloadable PDF file.  Each version has the same content, and copies are permitted for one instructor to use in their own classroom or home.  
  • Beyond the ease of printing pages from a digital copy, the E-Guides for upper elementary, middle and high school offer one additional special feature: they’re interactive.  Students can do their work either on printed pages, or type their answers directly into a copy of the PDF file.
Progeny Press Review
See what others are saying about Progeny Press over at the Schoolhouse Review Crew.