Have you ever wished for a reading comprehension program that encourages higher order thinking skills? Questions that require deep thinking, inference and opinion? Questions based on “living” literature selections rather than dry paragraphs? All of this in assignments that can be completed in a lesson or two? Not to mention, reading comprehension available for children as old as 9th grade?
I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing levels 4 and 5 of the Jacob’s Ladder Reading Comprehension Program, which covers all the bases above!
Each of the books consists of 20 lessons divided into three chapters.
- Chapter 1 focuses on Short Stories – like The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, The Gift of the Magi and The Tell-Tale Heart.
- Chapter 2 focuses on Poetry – like Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Ulysses, and Not They Who Soar.
- Chapter 3 focuses on Biographies – like Emily Dickinson, Marie Curie and Harriet Tubman.
For each lesson, your child must read the 1-7 page literature selection then work “up the ladder” to complete questions or activities. The reason the program is titled “Jacob’s Ladder” is because nine different activities are suggested as follow-up to the reading. The activities are written on a pictoral ladder. The lower the question or activity is on the ladder, the lower the thinking skill; the higher the question or activity is on the ladder, the higher the thinking skill. You may choose to assign as few or as many of the activities as you like.
The thinking skills are divided into six types of skill content.
- Ladder A focuses on prediction skills. These activities will include sequencing, cause and effect, and consequences and implications.
- Ladder B focuses on deductive reasoning skills. Activities include recalling details, classification and generalization.
- Ladder C focuses on literary analysis skills. Activities include identifying literary elements, making inferences and determining themes or central ideas.
- Ladder D focuses on the skill of creating new materials based on information in the reading. Activities include paraphrasing, summarizing and creating own materials.
- Ladder E focuses on the skill of emotional development. Activities include understanding emotion, expressing emotion and using emotion.
- Ladder F focuses on the skill of metacognition. Activities include planning and goal setting, monitoring and assessing, and reflecting.
The nine activities offered for each reading lesson include a mixture of the various skills. As I mentioned before, you can choose to assign as few or as many of the activities as you like. You may also decide to allow your child to choose one or more of the activities herself. Depending on how many activities you require, the lessons can last as long as 30-45 minutes one day or 30-45 minutes/day for a week or more. Several of the lesson ideas lend themselves to co-operative learning, too, if you’d like to allow your children to work together occasionally.
The books are published by Prufrock Press, a publisher of materials for gifted children. While these books are certainly appropriate for gifted children, they will serve homeschoolers well, too! Anyone who has a good reader that needs to take comprehension to the next level will love Jacob’s Ladder. While the books are on the expensive side at $39.95 each, they provide wonderfully in-depth reading lessons that are sure grow to your child’s higher order thinking skills.
-Written by Cindy, an eclectically Charlotte Mason mom of 3 living in Central KY. You can find her blogging at Our Journey Westward and find her NaturExplorers studies and other creative homeschooling helps at Shining Dawn Books.
-Cindy received the Jacob’s Ladder books as compensation for her honest review.