Thursday, April 24, 2014

Total Language Plus order of 3rd and 4th grade guides

First, let me give you the reasoning behind the company NOT giving a particular "order".  Simply, each child is different.  Take for example my daughter Ariel, who was an avid reader and loved to write even in 1st and 2nd grade.  She did start Total Language Plus the second half of 2nd grade (rather than 3rd) as she was ready.  Most students just looking at the size of the book would think that Whipping Boy would be much easier than Charlotte's Web.  When you look at the guide you would think so as well as Whipping Boy has little writing and in Charlotte's Web students write a 3 paragraph story each week.  For Ariel this was not the case.

Most of my readers know that I have been representing Total Language Plus for I think 7 years now.  One of the most frequent questions I get at the booth and via email is, "What order do I do the 3rd and 4th grade titles in?"

Ariel found Whipping Boy MUCH more difficult than Charlotte's Web.  Why?  It deals with beginning Character Analysis.  This guide asks the student to take the information they read and make decisions about that information.  It asks how the characters changed though the story itself never says, "The characters changed."  For most adults this is an easy task but for many younger students this is difficult.  I have found in my years of talking to parents it is often more difficult for the "quick" often early reader as they have learned to read fast and not take the time to stop and think.

Now that being said, most children I believe do find Whipping Boy easier than Charlotte's Web because "most" students at this age have a more difficult time writing large amounts.  Again, these are generalizations and their are many exceptions.

So the bottom line, what do I recommend?  Here's the order I recommend.
1. Courage of Sarah Noble
2. The Whipping Boy
3. or 4. Shiloh
3. or 4. Sign of the Beaver
5. or 6. Pippi Longstocking
5. or 6. Charlotte's Web

To finish out 4th grade (if you are doing 4 per year) add 2 of the following three: My Side of the Mountain, The Cricket in Times Square or The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Again, please feel free to chose as you wish and take your own child's stregnths and weaknesses into consideration but over the years and in my own experience this order is what I found works best for "most" students.  Happy studying!

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