Analytical Grammar

As my children have approached middle school and now with 2 of them starting high school this coming school year, we've had to work on expanding their writing skills and learning to write longer reports. We have tried several different programs over the years but have been keeping our eyes open for something new to use. Analytical Grammar recently came out with a new curriculum called Beyond the Book Report.
What is it?

Beyond the Book Report (BBR) is a DVD based middle school and early high school language arts curriculum. This program can be used over 2-3 years starting in 6th/7th grade or used as little as 1 year for a high schooler. The curriculum comes with a schedule detailing how to make that happen. BBR is divided up into 3 seasons. Each season comes with a teachers packet that has a schedule of what to teach when as well as examples of each activity the student will be learning in that season. Also included is a DVD that has the video lectures, PDF files to print out and activities to complete. 

  • Season 1 covers a basic book report (which includes learning how to paraphrase a paragraph & summarize a book), a pamphlet book report and a journalism book report. 
  • Season 2 covers poetry book report (where the student writes 4 different kinds of poems based on a book they read) and drama book report (which also includes going over Shakespeare's A  Midsummer Night's Dream). 
  • Season 3 covers essays (including how to write an SAT essay), oral reports (which includes public speaking with a powerpoint slide presentation) and research papers (as well as how to write an argumentative research paper). This season could also be used without the first two seasons as a way to prep an early high schooler for later high school/college writing.
The teachers guide really makes implementing this curriculum an easy process. It outlines what to cover each day such as watching a video on the DVD (it also states how long the video is) and the activities the student should complete. In the back of the teachers packet is completed examples of what the students work should look like (great help for the teacher!) as well as a glossary of terms that they may come across. Also included with each type of report the student writes is a rubric for not only them to use as a guideline when writing but for the teacher to use when grading the reports!

Beyond the Book Report

How did we use this?

When we received the curriculum, I took all three seasons of teachers packets (that came already hole punched) and put them into a small binder so the pages wouldn't get lost. I printed out the lecture slides for my 14 year old so she could take notes while watching the videos. I watched the first video with her in case she had any questions. The DVD was easy to use as the videos & printouts are clearly labeled so you know exactly which file to watch or print. The lectures are taught by the authors, a mother-daughter team who have many years of experience teaching grammar and language arts in the classroom. They were easy to listen to and taught their points in a straightforward way (no frills or flashy videos). 

She used BBR about 3 days a week during the review. How fast you go through each season is dependant on which schedule you choose to follow (taking 2-3 years for all the seasons). After starting this review, I realized how much we liked it and decided that we are going to use this for 3 of my children this coming school year following the 2 year teaching schedule. Because this is a DVD based program with PDF files, you can use this curriculum with more than one child which in my opinion makes this a great curriculum for families with multiple children!

My daughter choose Night of the Twisters by Amy Ruckman to do her book report on. As she read through the book, she kept her eye out for a paragraph to paraphrase and took notes on key points so she could write a summary when she was done. She also had a lit worksheet she had to complete as she read the book which included jotting a few sentences down on the conflict, point of view, protagonist, antagonist and the climax/turning point. The teachers guide also suggested having the student write down study questions as they read the book or to make up a crossword puzzle with things from the book (she choose to make a crossword puzzle and gave it to her sister to fill out as she also read the same book recently!)

While you can use Beyond the Book Report alone, the authors suggest pairing it up with Analytical Grammar for a well rounded language arts program (which I also just purchased to use for one of my children this coming school year).

Each season of Beyond the Book Report is available for $24.95 or purchase all 3 seasons as a bundle for $69.95.
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