I have just started using this curriculum so these are my first impressions. I like having the lessons laid out for me, every detail. I really like my teacher manual. The lessons are weekly, broken down into 5 lessons per week. I was having a hard time working poetry into our reading program, partly because I'm not a natural poetry reader. I love that each day's lesson has a variety of different activities and points. It also includes cutting and pasting in some lessons which I like. The pages tear out easily from the workbook. There are a few books (10?) that you need to supply with the curriculum. A couple of them you will have in your home library or else your city library. My city library only had 2 books, so I decided to buy the corresponding books, just because I like to have things ready to go. They may only be used for a day or 2 but on the upside, they are really good quality books that will enhance your own personal library.
The curriculum is really well done, well made. Everything came in great shape. There are 6 readers that come with it but we haven't started those, but they have about 5 or 6 stories in each. Again, really good quality.
This may suit your needs if you like everything laid out for you as a teacher, if you want a comprehensive LA program that is easy to implement and if you like to have something everyday to work on. So far we've been keeping up with the schedule of 5 days a week, but it can also be done 2 days in 1 if needed.
I have a 9 year old boy and a 7 year old girl both working on it. I like that they are short assignments and variety of activity every day. Again, this is just the beginning. And for my son, I like that everything is in one book, we no longer have 3-4 workbooks (1 for spelling, 1 for phonics, etc) every day but its in one book and he knows its done then. Before it was too overwhelming with lots of workbooks. Both are enjoying this new curriculum.
The price was good, but keep in mind the price goes up if you choose to buy the other books you need with it unless you already have them.
A word about the workbooks, they are thick. Its not your ordinary workbook. Again the variety of activities each day varies so kids should not get bored of repetition. Also hands on activities are included. All the lessons seem to include a variety of ways to "catch" all the different learning styles. Its something that you can make work for your kids as well. The curriculum definitely involves the student in a number of ways (cut and paste, discussion, illustration, acting out, etc) and really uses good literature throughout. So far the book has also used a story from the Bible as well.
I should mention we did not use this for previous grades. It does start with review which has been helpful. Before this I've been using a variety of workbooks from various places as well as readers. This is much better and comprehensive then all those workbooks which were repetitive and overwhelming.
Learning Language Arts through Literature is based on the educational philosophy of Dr. Ruth Beechick and her natural learning method as outlined in her books, "The Three R'," "Language and Thinking for Young Children," and "You Can Teach Your Child Successfully." The curriculum is authored by the late Debbie Strayer, a homeschooling mother, teacher, author and public speaker.
Learning Language Arts through Literature Red Book is a comprehensive language arts curriculum which teaches phonics, spelling, reading, grammar, composition, research and study skills, and higher order thinking skills, creative expression/games, and penmanship. The author has chosen "real books" which are the back bone for the curriculum's lessons. "Real Book" selections include: "A Tree is Nice," "Little Bear," "The Fire Cat," "Bravest Dog Ever," "Ox-Cart Ma," "Corduroy," "The Little Island," "Billy and Blaze," "Harry the Dirty Dog," and "Abraham Lincoln." Literature passages from "real books" are utilized for copy work and dictation. Learning Language Arts through Literature incorporates word wheels, flip books, cut and paste activities and games into the daily lesson plans. The Red Book contains six readers, "In, Out and About Catfish Pond," Up, Down and Around the Rain Tree," "Forest Fables," "Underwater Friends," "All Around the Farm," and Famous People," illustrated by acclaimed artist, Jack Stockman. The student workbook is consumable.
The instructors guide is comprised of easy to use lesson plans spanning a period of 36 weeks. Each lesson is made up of the following components: New Skills Taught, Materials Needed, Scripted Lesson Plan, Higher Order Thinking Skills, Answers, Examples, Diagrams and References to the student activity book. Assessments allow the teacher to evaluate the student's progress. Phonics Facts, Grammar Guides, Syllable Sense and Punctuation Pointers provide reinforcement as the student learns the mechanics of reading, grammar and spelling. Placement tests are available online at the Common Sense Press website.
As a homeschooler, I have perused several language arts curriculums. I cannot praise this curriculum enough! Learning Language Arts Through Literature receives an A+ from this homeschooling parent!
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!
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!
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.