Language Arts & Literature Reviews

From's Homeschool Specialists

More than 100 different study guides cover the classics that your students in grades 1 through 12 read! There’s no shortage of options—choose Frog and Toad Together, Charlotte’s Web, or Fahrenheit 451.

Students start with some background study on the author and the story. They can follow suggestions for activities to do before reading and while reading. Included are basic comprehension questions, literary analysis, and critical analysis of the characters. All the books are studied from a Christian worldview, and the critical analysis questions allow students to dissect the spiritual, moral, and intellectual choices of the characters. Vocabulary activities and resources for additional study complete this program as a full literature course.

Teachers’ notes and answers are also included, and the pages are reproducible so your family can study the books together. Each guide should only take about 8–10 weeks to complete so you could do a couple throughout the year.

This series is a great addition to your regular language arts program. With so many choices of titles, even the most reluctant readers can find something they’re interested in! Softcovers.


Easy Grammar is exactly what its title says—it’s a grammar resource that’s easy to teach and use. With only a few pages to do a day, students can learn without feeling overwhelmed. Everything needed is provided, from teacher suggestions and reproducible student pages to unit reviews and answer keys. If you don’t want to make copies of all the student pages, there are separate workbooks and test books available.

In a step-by-step format, this program covers prepositions, parts of speech, usage, capitalization and punctuation, as well as how to write a sentence, a friendly letter, or e-mail.

A great add-on to your regular language arts program, this course will give students the tools needed for successful writing. It breaks each concept down into bite-sized pieces, so by the time they are up to Easy Grammar Plus (grade 7), they should have an understanding of all grammar concepts. And if you’d like to continue reviewing grammar through high school, you can do that with the Easy Grammar Ultimate series. Softcovers, from ISHA Enterprises.


    If you’re looking for a parent- and kid-friendly phonics workbook, you’ve found it in this series. New phonics skills are introduced in each workbook. The Get Ready books teach students how to say and write consonants. The short stories in the Beyond books develop understanding and critical-thinking skills. The “1/2” books provide further practice activities. Teacher’s guides feature detailed lesson plans and address key principles. My daughter enjoyed the pictures drawn by kids, and she loved using these workbooks to reinforce her newly acquired reading skills. Grades K to 4. Approx. 100 pages each, softcovers from Educators Publishing.


    Unfortunately, unit studies are often overlooked as an educational option. But they provide such a fun, cost-effective way for students to learn!

    This particular course uses C.S. LewisÂ’s Chronicles of Narnia to teach your fourth through eighth graders every required subject, except for math. With some fine arts, health, and cooking thrown in, it becomes a well-rounded curriculum for the entire year.

    Handy appendixes offer a resource index for supplemental reading, viewing, and listening suggestions; an activity index with recipes for everything from Turkish Delight to Puddleglum’s Eel Pie; even ideas for field trips and games! With numerous recommendations for additional study, the course is flexible for multiple students at different levels in different time schedules.

    So why not go on an adventure with your children to Narnia this year? I guarantee that you’ll learn so much more by using this resource. 340 pages, spiralbound softcover from Cadron Creek.

    Rebekah, Spring 2014

      From the time our children were young, reading aloud was a favorite part of our daily routine. Books that focused on history were always at the top of our list, so we were delighted to discover this series. The author is a master storyteller and uses teen boys as his main characters. These young men always exhibit noble qualities and find their lives intertwined with high-profile historical personalities. We felt so connected to the main character in By Pike and Dyke that we were appalled when we found that one of the Three Musketeers was in the army that opposed him. We felt sure that the Musketeer had chosen the wrong side, the side of our personal enemy! The books draw you into the story and help you personally connect with the events taking place, even so much that you feel you are a part of it. Ages 10 and up. Approx. 300 to 400 pages each, illustrated hardcovers from Robinson Books.

      -Cherrié, Winter 2014

        This reading program was a favorite of my youngest daughter, Kaelyn. She enjoyed the many different literary genres that were incorporated and the color pictures throughout the book, often rereading the stories, poems, and plays in each level.

        I remember “Mort and the Sour Scheme”(in the fourth grade reader), a fun story about rotten food in a refrigerator (which my kids know is usually in the back of my fridge!). The rotten foods talk about how they don’t like when people let them spoil, so they hatch a plot to kidnap Miss Sweet Sugarbowl, who is never ignored. My daughter read this story so many times, I thought she could recite it word for word!

        A workbook helped her with comprehension, phonics review, and skills needed to study literature. The teacher’s edition equipped me with an easy-to-follow lesson plan. This guide also provides vocabulary, literal, critical, and interpretive questions and background information to help enrich the student’s learning.

        All of these aids made teaching this course a breeze for me. I had all the information I needed, with very little prep time required. Our family kept these readers for many years, in order to read the stories again and again. I only wish I had saved them to read to my grandchildren!

        -Cindy, Winter 2014

        One of my children struggled with reading and spelling. Sequential Spelling's multilevel and multi-grade approach allowed my daughter to improve her skills faster than a standard program by using word families. Starting with the root word, she was tested daily. By the end of the week, she progressed to a more complex word. She improved her reading skills too because the words are broken down phonetically. She surpassed a few grade levels within the year at a very relaxed pace.

        Even though the student is given a spelling test every day as part of the curriculum, this test requires no prep or studying ahead for the student or parent. It allows practice with the building of the root words with no pressure of a grade. I wish I had known about this easy-to-use spelling program for my older children! Two softcovers each, from Wave 3 Learning.

        Cindy, Summer 2013

        Using classic literature to teach language arts is an ingenious idea. Who better to learn reading comprehension, vocabulary, and essay writing from than the best of the best writers?

        Because this is designed as a teacher-driven course, you will only need the one book, which includes all of the student and teacher information, as well as the answers to the discussion questions. It can be used at any time during high school, with a choice of American literature or British literature. Both of them feature units on novels, essays, and poetry, but American Lit has a short story unit and British Lit has a book review unit. Each one has a list of required reading titles, which are available separately.

        This well-rounded course will help your high school students read and understand classic literature and use it for college preparation. Approx. 200 pages, softcover.

        Rebekah, Summer 2013

          I like that this course features selections from all literary genres. Each grade level covers plays, short stories, poems, and novels, so my children were exposed to different authors and classic pieces within each themed level. They were challenged to learn literary terms, and encouraged to analyze the material to apply it to their own lives. The very thorough teacher's guide-with its easy-to-follow lesson plans-provided me with background information, explanations of the material, answers to all the work, and additional activities for my children if needed. It made teaching this program a breeze! It also allowed me to have all the information needed in one place with very little prep time. The separate test book helps you gauge your student's comprehension of the material. My children and I enjoyed this easy-to-use and interesting literature course throughout their middle and high school years.

          Student texts include brief introductions to each section; questions; and biographical sketches of authors. Teacher's editions include full-sized student pages, materials for biblical analysis and application, discussion questions, writing activities, and answer keys.

          Cindy, Summer 2013

            I've always been a big fan of the Saxon Math teaching method, which facilitates the learning process through long-term repetition. My six children, with a wide range of learning styles, have all benefited from this approach. So we were thrilled when we found a writing and grammar course that utilized the same principles.

            Hake's Grammar and Writing presents a new grammar or writing concept every day with review exercises that allow the student to continue practicing concepts previously learned. The detailed lesson presentation encourages students to be self-guided throughout, with very little intervention by the parent/teacher. My three boys have all acquired excellent writing and grammar skills through the use of this program.

            Kits include student text and workbook with 107 to 112 lessons; and teacher's packet with test masters and answer keys. Grade 4 to 8. From Saxon.

            Cherrié, Summer 2013

              Using Editor in Chief is a fun way for students to flex their grammatical muscles. It’s an effective supplement to any grammar or writing program—students are asked to find the usage, punctuation, and spelling errors in the text of a story, so learning becomes a game as they search. The workbooks help the student put grammar rules to work in a practical way and help develop critical-thinking skills, too.

              My daughter used Editor in Chief beginning in the fourth grade and really enjoyed the workbooks (which may have influenced her choice of English as her major in college). Levels A1 and A2 are recommended for grades 4 and 5, levels B1 and B2 for grades 6 to 8, and levels C1 and C2 for grades 9 to 12. The exercises are a challenge, and become even more challenging as the student progresses.

              During high school, my children had the benefit of editing in a group setting. They would peer edit other students' work and would, in turn, have their work reviewed by others. Both of my children became excellent writers, and I feel the exercise of editing, learned at an early age, was a large part of their success. Editor in Chief is a fun and effective way to begin learning this valuable skill!

              Each workbook includes a "style" guide, an editing checklist, and an answer key. Approx. 60 reproducible pages each, softcovers.

              Lynette, Summer 2013