Review: Progeny Press – Shadow Spinner Study Guide & The Hound of the Baskervilles Study Guide

We've reviewed a Progeny Press Study Guide before, and I have purchased several to use in a book club that I ran for a few months. I'm happy to be able to review the Shadow Spinner Study Guide and the The Hound of the Baskervilles Study Guide this time 'round.

Both study guides are downloadable interactive PDFs. I loaded them up on the girls' Kindle Fires (Raine, Grade 7, is working on Hound of the Baskervilles, and Breeze, Grade 4, has Shadow Spinner). I discovered that the interactive feature of the PDFs don't work on the available Kindle Fire PDF reader, which really sucks, since that's one of the great features of the study guide.

The Progeny Press study guides can be read on Kindle Fires--but you can't use the interactive feature

But moving on--we went through the guides orally. Which actually worked out much better since I was more involved, and we were able to discuss their thoughts and answers more thoroughly. I've discovered that when I ask the girls to write or type out their answers, they tend to be very brief, and sometimes vague and shallow. Talking about it brings forth more well-thought out answers.

Raine enjoyed Agatha Christie's Miss Marple series, so I figured that she would find The Hound of the Baskervilles as interesting (I was right!). The Hound of the Baskersvilles Study Guide is for Grades 8 to 12, so it is taking us a bit longer to get through it. Raine did well with the vocabulary portions (especially for the multiple choice types).

This type of vocabulary activity is easier to work on
This vocabulary activity needs more effort, and practices dictionary skills

There are also the usual comprehension questions. But what I really like about this particular guide is that it discusses literary elements that are in line with Raine's current writing interests. The intro, for example, gives a brief definition and background of Gothic fiction--which we realize is what Raine is trying to write now (well at least one of the novels she's trying to write--she has a few ongoing).

Pardon the mess. We're still in the middle of moving into our new house

Then a few more chapters in, there's an analysis of mood, and characterization. This actually inspired Raine to get out her old novel writing workbook, and I saw her working on her character sketches.

The Shadow Spinner Study Guide, on the other hand, is meant for Grades 5 to 8. As with Raine and The Hound, Breeze and I worked though this orally. Again, the multiple choice types of vocabulary activities were much easier. Breeze in particular, finds it annoying to have to articulate the definitions of words that she instinctively knows the meaning of. So for me, the activities that ask for precisely that are a good exercise.

One good thing about this particular study guide (and book) is that it brings up the topic of different religions. We have discussed this in the past in passing, but it is also good for us to discuss Muslims, Jews, and Christians in depth.

And on religion--what I appreciate most about these guides is the biblical perspective they bring. At the end of every section, there are always questions and related Bible verses that somehow tie in to the novels. For example, Marjan, the main character in Shadow Spinners, is Muslim, and this opens up a discussion about prayer for Christians, with the verses that talk about it.

I like Progeny Press study guides because they foster more intentional thinking. I also like how they discuss literary elements, because both my girls are into writing, and these discussions can help them write better. Most of all, I like the Christian perspective, because I normally would not be able to tie these books we read to the Bible and how a Christian is meant to live. I highly recommend Progeny Press.

Other families have reviewed other Progeny Press study guide titles. Click below to read about their experiences.

Study Guides for Literature {Progeny Press Reviews}
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