Over the past month and a half the children have been reading and experiencing books the LitWits way! LitWits kits are literature teaching ideas – packages of activities and ideas that can be used to enhance reading of fine literature; today we’re sharing our review about these kits and how my children have been using them.
We received 4 LitWits unit studies:
If you’d like to try one out for yourself, you can access Little House in the Big Woods on their website for free, and this is also one that my son has been working through on his own after having just previously read the book himself.
Literature Teaching Ideas in LitWits Kits
Each study is a digital download that links through to a webpage that contains information about the book and projects. This can be downloaded as a PDF, but it’s much easier to use as a webpage. This is what you’ll find there:
- Prop ideas to use while reading the story
- Hands-on fun activities such as arts and crafts
- Look into the elements of the story
- Book bites – try out a recipe from the book
- Takeaways – some ideas to think about and talk about linking to the book.
- Handouts – print this PDF off and have the children answer the book study questions. The sections include narrative arc, vocabulary, creative writing, setting, and history.
- Learning Links – links to other sites for more information relating to various aspects of the book – location, characters, biographies, awards, story supplements, and other beyond the book links.
- Audiovisual Collection – a link to the LitWits Pinterest board where you can find lots of other ideas relating to the book.
- Great quotes – a few pertinent quotes from the book.
How We Used LitWits
LitWits can be used in a variety of ways, and this is how we used them. I’m going to use The Big Wave as our main example because this is one both children did together and is completed; it was a book that I have had for quite a while but the children and I hadn’t yet read. Because I spent time living in Japan, this book was an obvious choice for me to choose to begin with. Although a recipe from the book is included with WitLits, we made a couple of family favourites.
Each afternoon following lunch, Tristan, Kallista, and I curled up on the sofa and had a read aloud session. I can tell you, I wasn’t prepared to get all misty-eyed reading The Big Wave – either I’m getting more sentimental as I age, or I felt closer to the people in the story after having lived in Japan myself. It’s a great story, but very touching and leads to a lot of conversation as well.
The children worked through the worksheets as we went. The vocabulary was always the first port of call as that can be done without yet having read the story. The other questions they did a little at a time as the story was read, and then a craft was completed at the end as a bit of a reward for their work finishing up the academic parts of the unit study. Kallista made the window looking through to the big wave for this, and Tristan made a scroll with the Japanese kanji for ‘peace’.
Earlier in the year we read one of the Little House books and Tristan enjoyed it so much he read the rest of the series himself so he wanted to do the free unit on Little House in The Big Woods. For the project, Tristan wanted to make a clove-studded apple because he thought the scent would be a good way to welcome in winter and the scents of Christmas.
We’re now on to Anne of Green Gables, a story I read as a little girl growing up in Canada. Her wild imagination and ways with words I thought would be perfect for my two children. The activities for this book they began early to have in this review, and include a bedizened slate pencil and a collage. Kallista had glitter everywhere and it took a couple of days to get the glitter out of her hair (although she loved it and felt like a fairy princess)! Tristan did the collage in a way more suited to him by doing it electronically and then printing it off, which worked well.
As we were going through the links provided that showed images and videos of Prince Edward Island, we were struck by how similar the scenery was to Islandmagee here in Northern Ireland! And as L. M. Montgomery’s grandparents (who raised her) were from Scotland, that was another nice connection as you can see Scotland from Islandmagee! Little things like this are always so delightful as I think it’s easier for the children to see themselves in Anne’s shoes, just like when using props around the room when reading. I have a few items in the attic that were my grandma’s that I think will work very well…but they aren’t currently accessible so I’ll have to wait until our Christmas tree is up and I’ll get into that corner of the attic next week and reminisce with the children. I’m looking forward to this – oil lanterns, trays, tatted lace doilies – items they haven’t yet seen from my Canadian life.
Final Opinion of Litwits
Overall, we have all enjoyed LitWits. The props are interesting, the links for further information add more to the background of the stories, and having the questions available means the children are focused a little more on the story, but there aren’t so many as to feel overwhelmed. Another great feature for me – that there are kits for stories of different ages and interests as well as being multicultural – and having all of the information provided for me means that I don’t have to use my own time to search out such information for my children. We’ll be using the other two kits we have in the new year as the children read more childhood classics from around the world.
Click here to read 50 more reviews about LitWits by the Homeschool Review Crew. If you’d like to know more or would like to follow LitWits, you can connect with them through their website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.