As a former English teacher, I love teaching my kids about literature. Yet, much to my chagrin, they’ve been less than enthusiastic. However, both Cuddle Bug and PB & J Girl loved reading The Bears on Hemlock Mountain aloud. Then, PB & J Girl (3rd grade) and I followed up that reading every afternoon with The Bears on Hemlock Mountain E-Guide by Progeny Press.
About The Bears on Hemlock Mountain E-Guide
We received this product for review as an e-guide, so I simply needed to download it. For families with multiple children, this is a great feature because you can use it again and again with each child.
The guide is for children in 1st – 3rd grade. PB & J Girl was a late reader, so she’s at about a 2nd grade reading level, and this guide was perfect for her.
The guide is made up of several different components:
- Before-you-read Activities. These activities include fun crafts like studying animal tracks and creating a paper garland of bears and pine trees.
- Vocabulary. These are not just words but also phrases that your student may not be familiar with such as “done to a turn” that the student may be able to figure out in context.
- Questions. These are short answer questions such as, “‘Young Uncle James had eyes that saw and ears that heard.’ What does that mean?”
- Dig Deeper. These are longer questions that require deeper analysis. Some of them first give a Bible verse and then ask the child to relate that verse to the protagonist’s situation and then to the child’s own life.
- Word Pictures. This activity focuses on helping students learn to recognize similes.
- Mystery Words. Students fill in the blank in a number of sentences from the story, and one letter in each word is assigned a number which is used to complete a phrase at the end of the Mystery Words activity.
- After-you-read Activities. These are fun activities such as writing a one to two page short story about going over a mountain on a snowy evening, or acting out the Bears on Hemlock Mountain, or making sugar cookies, to name a few.
- Suggestions for Further Reading. These are suggested books by the same author or other interesting books for your child to explore.
How We Used the E-Guide
We read aloud two chapter from the book over two days, and then over the next two to three days, PB & J Girl completed the corresponding activities. The guide is separated by chapters, for instance, Chapters 1 & 2, Chapters 3 & 4, etc. , so we read those chapters first, and then completed the activities.
I wrote the answers for Cuddle Bug because too much writing taxes her. While I want her to eventually get experience writing out longer answers, my objectives when using this guide was more for her to learn literary terms and focus on analyzing the story.
Using this guide, she learned about similes and had fun finding them in the story. She also learned to pay more attention to critical details. And, she learned to begin to analyze literature with questions such as, “Jonathon runs into his father’s arms. Why? What do his father’s arms represent?”
PB & J Girl’s favorite activity was the Mystery Words section at the end of the guide.
Her least favorite activity was answering the questions that called for personal reflection such as, “As Jonathon hides under the pot, he asks himself why he had stayed at Aunt Emma’s so long, eaten cookies, and slept. When he realizes there are no answers, he stops asking. Do you think he forgave himself? Are there times when it is hard to forgive yourself? When? Why is it so hard?”
We have used Progeny Press study guides before, The Door in the Wall and Frog and Toad Are Friends, as well as Tuck Everlasting and Great Expectations.
I have really enjoyed each of them and think that they do a great job teaching kids to think more deeply about literature and to learn literary terms. The e-guide we reviewed was $11.99, and considering it can be used for multiple kids, it’s a real bargain. I highly recommend these guides.
I was one of 74 people to review either The Bears on Hemlock Mountain E-Guide or Charlotte’s Web E-Guide (4th – 6th grade) or The Silver Chair E-Guide (5th – 7th grade) or Macbeth E-Guide (9th – 12th grade). To read more reviews, click on the icon below: