For all of you Charlotte Mason kindred spirits, ChildLightUSA just posted the Fall 2007 journal. Click here and click journal to retrieve it.
This week we finished reading The Winged Watchman by Hilda van Stockum, a book with a wonderful message about forgiveness and self-sacrificial love. Because Amazon does not have text statistics for this book, my second trick to determine grade level is to go to the official Frustrated Reader site. While Renaissance Learning does not offer official quizzes for this book, I searched online to see at what grade level most schools place the book--half-way through the sixth grade in terms of reading comprehension. I majored in statistics for my master's degree and I just cannot help but pore over statistics!
And, here is Pamela's first book report in her own words and syntax! I followed the process we always do for guided written narrations. First, I recorded her oral narration of the entire book. Then, I made the sentence strips and worked them. We broke up the book report into four writing blocks, which she did one after another: Title/Author/Character/Setting, Beginning, Middle, End. Except for the title and author, she wrote the rest of the report without assistance. A major praise report follows the pictures of her first book report, so read on!
I am very excited for Pamela for the following reasons:
Positive Trend - I posted the first four narrations Pamela did at her page. Using Word, I did a spell check, which reported these narrations to be at a grade level of 2.7. I typed up Pamela's book report, which was measured at a grade level 4.0. Obviously, I will have a better handle on trends by the end of the year, but she increased the grade level of her writing.
Independent Writing - I left Pamela alone while she was working. She wrote everything, with no access to other material, from her memory! This illustrates the importance of narration: We Narrate and Then We Know.
Cursive - I did not tell Pamela how to write the report; I just said that it was a very important report and she could type it if she wanted. She opted to write it on the porch. Based upon that information, she chose cursive.
Because - I have not officially taught Pamela how to use the word because. But, whenever I make sentence strips, I add because to a few sentences. She used that word appropriately in several instances.
Thinking - I originally snapped the following picture of the report's first page. Notice that, after writing the middle and the end, Pamela had thought about what she had already written and added more names to her character list.
She has plenty of room for improvement in her style, which comes across as stilted. Keep in mind we reached present tense verbs in June. We have not done past or future tense yet, much less helping verbs. She used several syntax units I have not formally taught.