Bookworm rarely meets a book he doesn’t like! I have heard great things about Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt, but neither Bookworm nor I have read it before. When the opportunity came to choose a study guide to review from Progeny Press, we happily chose Tuck Everlasting, and we’re glad we did!
About Progeny Press
Progeny Press produces many study guides for K-12 students. The prices range from $11.99 for many of the lower elementary guides to $21.99 for the high school guides. The Tuck Everlasting interactive study e-guide we received is $18.99. You can also choose to get a soft cover paper back copy of the guides with a CD-rom.
All students using the study guides should have access to a dictionary, thesaurus, and a Bible. (Progeny Press is a Christian company, and many questions in the study guide ask students to consider Biblical verses. For instance, in the Tuck Everlasting study guide, one question gives 4 Bible verses and then asks what each of the verses says about obedience.)
Most middle school and high school study guides take 8 to 10 weeks to complete. Progeny Press recommends that students read the novel entirely during the first week while also doing the prereading activities, and then that they complete one page of the study guide per day after that.
For those using the high school study guides, Progeny Press recommends that each completed study guide count as 1/4 high school credit.
About the Novel Tuck Everlasting
Tuck Everlasting is a fairly short book (approximately 172 pages), but it is an intriguing and thought-provoking story. Winnie Foster, who is 10 years old, is the protagonist. Quite by accident, she discovers that on her family’s land is a spring that has the power to not only let someone live for eternity, but not to age. All it takes is one sip.
She discovers this when she stumbles upon Jesse Tuck, 17, drinking from the spring before meeting his brother and mother for their 10 year annual reunion. The catch? The family drank from the spring nearly 100 years ago, not knowing the power of the spring. Jesse Tuck has been 17 for the last century.
While a spring that allows one not to age and live forever sounds wonderful, the Tucks explain to Winnie all of the complications and downfalls of their predicament. They also want to keep the spring a secret.
About the Study Guide
Progeny Press does an excellent job presenting thorough study guides. The Tuck Everlasting study guide is 53 pages long and includes a variety of activities including:
- Multiple choice vocabulary activities,
- short answer questions on setting, grammar, plot, foreshadowing, similes and metaphors, etc.,
- fill in the blank activities, and
The last section of the guide also has longer activities such as essay topics, timeline suggestions, and interview suggestions.
Our Experience Using Progeny Press’ E-Guide
We used the study guide exactly as Progeny Press recommended. Bookworm read the entire book the first week and also spent the first 1.5 weeks writing an essay on research that he did on Ponce de Leon and his search for the Fountain of Youth.
Then, Bookworm did a page a day of the guide every day after that. He worked on the guide four to five days a week.
Our review period was approximately 5 weeks, and during that time, he read the entire novel, wrote the essay on Ponce de Leon, and finished the study guide up to page 30. He is right on track for finishing the guide in the recommended 8 to 10 weeks.
Bookworm said that the hardest week so far was the week when he had to read the entire novel. He would prefer to read a few chapters of the novel and then do the study guide that pertains to those chapters, so this format was a bit different for him.
When he finished the book and started doing a page a day, he only took 5 to 10 minutes a day to complete the page.
What We Liked about This Study Guide
Bookworm really liked the format used for the vocabulary. He was first asked what the word meant in context. If he got that wrong, then he had to look it up. He appreciated that he didn’t have to look up every word if he could guess the meaning in context.
He also liked that some of the questions help him relate the story to his own life and experiences. For instance, the protagonist, Winnie, feels a bit trapped by her family and dreams of running away. On p. 17, the guide asks, “Winnie’s main complaint seems to be that she feels ‘cooped up’ by the limits and boundaries her family puts on her. Are there any limits that your family places on you?”
Finally, he enjoyed that the questions in the guide helped him understand the story at a deeper level.
He’s interested in continuing to use these guides for both middle school and high school, and he thinks the guides would be particularly useful for books that were written long ago and may be more difficult to understand like plays by Shakespeare and books like The Heart of Darkness.
What We Disliked about the Study Guide
Overall, I found this to be a valuable resource and would definitely consider using more of the guides in middle school and high school. As I mentioned previously, Bookworm didn’t like reading the entire book in one week, but that is only a minor complaint.
I was one of 100 reviewers to review Progeny Press study guides. Other reviewers reviewed lower elementary, upper elementary, middle school and high school titles. To read more, click on the link below.