Monday, March 2, 2009

Five in a Row

I love the idea of basing learning around good literature, which is exactly what Five in a Row by Jane Claire Lambert does. The basic idea behind the Five in a Row books it that you read the same selected book every day for five days in a row and do an accompanying activity or two each day. There are 4 volumes of Five in a Row for ages 4-8. I have used volumes 1 and 3.

Through Five in a Row we've been introduced to some really sweet and fun stories that we would have missed otherwise. My kids love hearing the same story several times and these books often become favorites. The teacher manual has a variety of activities for each story. For example after reading Henry the Castaway, we talked about birds and Scottish Terriers, river currents, and explorers. We made flags and looks at the water in the paintings.

Five in the Row also introduces kids to some pretty advanced Language arts concepts, allusion, onomatopoeia, analogy, simile, and so on. I've been impressed with what my boys have been able to remember and how they are able to incorporate some of these into their writing.

One downside of the Five in a Row book is that some of the books are hard to find, we were able to get quite a few through interlibrary loan, but there were a some that are out-of-print. I would suggest looking over the booklist before selecting a volume. You can use any of the first 3 volumes in any order (volume 4 is geared to older kids as are Beyond Five in a Row.) You can also use the stories in any order, we generally just did whichever book came first through interlibrary loan.

Five in the Row is a fun literature based curriculum. I would use it more as a supplement than a full curriculum, but it is easy to use and enjoyed by the kids. Each teacher volume is $25-$35 depending on the binding type you choose.

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