Saturday, September 22, 2007

Homeschooling with the McGuffey Reading Series

The McGuffey Reading Series is GREAT! During my research about what to teach for Literature and Reading, the McGuffey Reading Series came to my attention in the Bluedorn book, "Teaching the Trivium Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style". This book recommends for a child from ages ten through twelve, reading aloud two hours per day, memorization and oral narration, reading good literature, and oral interpretation. Wow, two hours a day reading aloud....sounds like a lot. Actually two hours goes by so quickly it isn't difficult to imagine using more than two hours. Both of us enjoy the time and we are learning.

For Aaron's age I choose The Eclectic Third Reader. The description is that it "contains selections of prose and poetry from the best American and English writers". The messages in the stories are so wholesome and the language is so rich. The vocabulary is truly beautiful. An example of the prose includes, "The Effects of Rashness", "The Consequence of Idleness", "Advantages of Industry", and "The Way to be Happy".

Each lesson begins with a rule about reading, speaking correctly, holding a book properly, not reading too fast, understanding what you read, and so forth. Great stuff, we forget that our children may not know how to read well out loud. Reading out loud has to be taught, and the book has wonderful suggestions.

The paragraphs in each selection are numbered and that makes it very easy to keep our place and to switch readers. For example, I'll read one paragraph and he'll read the next and I can always refer to the number if either of us "gets lost". The print is large and easy to follow.

Following each selection is a Questions section. This is five or six questions about the story. This is a good opportunity to review and make sure that he understood what we just read. Finally, is a Spell and Define section. We use these words for spelling and vocabulary. Each word is preceded by the number of the paragraph where it was used. If Aaron doesn't know the meaning of a word, he can look back in the reading to the numbered paragraph, and use the context clues to figure out what it means.

The McGuffey Reading Series includes books for every reading level, from an Eclectic Primer and Eclectic Pictorial Primer with Pictures up to the Eclectic Fourth Reader, appropriate for middle and high school. I purchased two copies of the reader so we could read together and I also purchased the Parent-Teacher Guide. This guide has suggestions for additional activities or questions for each lesson for all the readers. Best of all, I purchased the books from Amazon for under $4.00 each.

The Original McGuffey's Eclectic Third Reader (Eclectic school series) (Eclectic school series)

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Anonymous said...


I have a question for you about the McGuffey Reading Series. I have been teaching with the actual McGuffey Primer Eclectic Reader, McGuffey First Eclectic Reader, and so on up to the 6th book. These books do not have any type of lesson plans or worksheets or any type of teacher guide for me. I was looking through the internet and actually saw these new forms of the McGuffey Readers in the series, and then I saw your post. I was wondering if you could give me some insight about these McGuffey Series Readers. I heard they are 4 booklets per grade per subject, and that they had lessons, reviews, and so on, but I guess what I wanted to ask you is if this all comes inside the book? Or how is it, and I'm only asking you because you said that you are using it. This would help me out so much, but I just need that to be answered for me if you can. I also heard that these series are available for writing and arithmetic also, and I was wondering if you might know anything about them also. I know I am asking a lot, but from a home school mother to another, I'm asking you for this advice, because I have 4 children all different ages and my curriculum is just not good enough, and I haven't the time to make all of these lesson plans and worksheets up on my own. I've been homeschooling for 8 months now and all I seem to do is planners, lessons, and worksheets on my own, so any or all information would be really helpful. Thank You for listening and I hope you'll be able to reply soon.


P.S. If you can see my e-mail, you can send your answer there, if not I'll check back here soon.

Jahnis and Aaron said...

Hi - Sorry I haven't replied sooner. Bless you for homeschooling your children. I know it seems overwhelming sometimes, but as I tell my friends, it is a process for us to learn as well. That being said, my son started with the McGuffey reader in 6th grade and we used just the reader,for 6th and 7th. We are also more or less following the trivium method of teaching and so what that means is we read aloud most of the time. Using the McGuffey reader, we would each have a copy ($5.00 each at Amazon) and we would take turns reading the instruction at the beginning of each lesson and then each paragraph. He would answer the questions orally, and since I read the story/poem with him, I knew the answers too. We would then go through each vocabulary word orally spelling and defining, if he could tell me concisely the meaning of the word, we would go on to the next word, if not, he would look it up.
We haven't used any of the other McGuffey curriculum.
I only have one child, not four so keeping up with plans and worksheets is much easier for me, but what I do is a weekly plan for each subject at the beginning of the week and if something changes I make a note of it and just try to list everything we do and get done each day.
I hope this helps and I really, really wish you all the best and keep up the good work.