Learning Language Arts Through Literature, Grade 2, Red
Lacking in this level, but gets better
I'm really not understanding the love for LLATL Red level. I find it to be sorely lacking in several key areas. Before I get into my review, I'd like to say...this curriculum was recommended to me by quite a few folks...most of whom said the same thing...red level is terrible. But stick it out until yellow level and it improves tremendously.
Let's look at key content areas:
Grammar: Red level gets an A from me for its grammar. This is about the only area in which LLATL Red is solid. The concepts presented are thorough and they are reviewed quite often. There is no drill and kill, but just enough review and practice.
Handwriting: I did not use their handwriting. We use HWT.
Spelling: Terrible. Four words a week? There is very little explanation of why words are spelled the way they are. We are using AAS instead and find it to be an incredible spelling program.
Reading: In my opinion, the reading level is below grade level. Most 2nd graders are able to read early chapter books. The 3-4 page reader stories were too easy for my crew. Perhaps at the beginning of the year, they were fine, but by the 2nd semester, they really should have started transitioning these kids to higher quality reading choices.
Writing: The writing process is really missed here. I'm not saying kids should be writing essays in 2nd grade, but surely, they are capable of writing a paragraph. We ended up substituting our own writing activities in which I assigned a topic, the kids would brainstorm, rough draft, proof/edit, revise and then write a final copy.
**After lesson 28 or so, the writing improves quite a bit with the Red level.
Misc: A lot of the activities are busy work. Cut and paste type stuff that I would expect from a 1st grade, not 2nd grade curriculum.
Overall, I think that the curriculum is "ok" but not tremendous. I plan to check out yellow level as well as Total Language Plus and Progeny Press and then make a decision from there as to whether or not I will continue with LLATL.
Other users promise me that it improves dramatically in yellow level. We shall soon see!
March 8, 2014
Thorough and enjoyable!
This curriculum is wonderfully set-up and easy to follow. The lessons are not so long that they are boring and there is a great systematic approach to teaching. The spelling lists are great and I like having my student focus on a short list each week instead of many spellling words that they can't really learn well. He enjoys reading quality books and the readers are cute and easy to comprehend. I have only 4 complaints or suggesstions for this curriculum: 1. SPIRAL BOUND OR PERFORATED PAGES would be MUCH easier for the sake of record keeping. We use portfolios to keep school work in each year, and the pages are not easily ripped out which makes this an annoyance. (Especially since the blue book has perforated pages. Not sure why they switched on this level). 2. There seems to be a gap from the blue book to this one if your student isn't a strong reader. You may want to go at a slower pace then recommended if they are unable to read well. 3. The teacher's guide doesn't give corresponding pages to the student work book so you have to search for them or bookmark them. Certainly, not a huge deal, but would make it a bit more "teacher friendly". 4. Seems to be lacking on handwriting. I would suggest supplementing. That being said, those things are not enough to discourage me from continuing on in this series. My son loves it so on we go!
January 13, 2014
We had completed the Blue Book with my youngest child with great success and were ready with Red Book in hand this summer (yes, my young son couldn't wait to start the next book!). While looking at other curriculum for my older children I ran across reviews of the Red Book that discouraged me and made me wonder would this book be "enough".... I should not have doubted.
A little more than six months has passed and my second grader has worked through the Red Book learning not only phonics, reading, and writing skills, but also beginning grammar and mechanics of LA in such a gentle way. Many times I have to slow myself down and allow for the narrations and role playing suggested (he truly enjoys them and a level of learning occurs not found in simple work sheet type activities). Spelling and phonics rules seem rather basic, but amazingly they seem effective! Interestingly enough, he seems very advanced to other second graders in other programs and public schools.
I also cannot say enough about the sweet stories in the readers along with the fables that reinforce moral behavior and good choices. Even the filling in of the reading chart when books/stories are completed is such a reward for him.
I said it when we finished the Blue Book and I'll say it again here.... I wish that I had learned of this method with some of my older children.
Disclaimer: The pace we have moved through LLATL is with a child who has had good success at reading. I imagine a slower reader may need much more time.
December 3, 2013
Comprehensive lesson plans require a teacher
I have been using individual workbooks with my second-grader for spelling, vocabulary, grammar, handwriting, and reading. My son finds it all very tedious, and we struggle everyday to finish.
Learning Language Through Literature has made this subject more enjoyable for both of us. Each day encourages all types of learning styles while reinforcing phonics, grammar, and spelling. My son has been enjoying playing vowel-sounds Bingo, organizing Y-words into Y, Long I, Long E columns, and stuffing -CK words into the Kangaroo's pack. He also has to write a sentence here and there, and fill in a blank every now and then, but it never takes too long. Each lesson takes us about 45 minutes to finish.
I combined my second-grader and my twin first-graders into this curriculum. My first graders have been able to keep up, but my second-grader finishes each activity much faster than the little guys, and ends up getting bored between activities.
1. The student pages are not overwhelming to him.
2. The teacher pages tell me exactly what to say (which I love!).
3. My planning time is minimal--very minimal.
4. The program is fun!
1. The student cannot do any work without the teacher. I have six children, and I cannot spend an hour with each of them doing language lessons each day.
2. The program comes with some pamphlet-type books, as well as stories that are meant to be cut out of the student book and read. Additionally, the teacher's guide refers to several books you can either buy separately or borrow from the library. Trying to determine the location of the specified story in each lesson confuses me.
3. Add about $50 to the price of the kit if you're planning to buy the additional books. If not, you'll have to spend some time reading the teacher's guide and planning when to hit the library. There is no list of when you need which library book.
4. It claims to be comprehensive, but I think it lacks quite a bit on handwriting.
1. Prepare a pocket folder for your student(s), because you will be cutting a lot of things out of the student book to keep.
2. Always keep on hand some supplies during your literature lesson--a pencil, crayons, scissors, blank computer paper, a stapler, glue-stick, and tape (as well as the student's folder).
3. Buy the extra books. (It's a much better life-long investment than that movie or video game you had planned to purchase for the kids.)
4. Combine levels when possible.
5. Add a handwriting workbook.
August 22, 2012