Has your child read The Minstrel In The Tower? Have they gone deeper into it? Progeny Press has created a Minstrel in the Tower E-Guide Book Study that Tristan has been working his way through over the past several weeks.
The Minstrel In The Tower is about 2 young children who leave their ill mother to make their way through France in search of their uncle but are kidnapped and held in an old tower. Can they escape? You’ll have to read it to find out!
We received a downloadable book study to use. I put it onto my laptop with the intention that I could access it if we were at the library, but I actually ended up printing out the guide whole guide and stapling together each chapter separately for Tristan to use. He’s becoming more independent and I don’t like him to spend all of his time in front of a screen so this way he can take the pages with him and find a place that suits him to work on it; the kitchen table, the living room floor, up in the bed beside me when I was under the weather….or even out and about the town.
It’s suggested that about a page of the book study be done each day. Some days Tristan did this; other days he worked on more. We don’t always have a 5-day week so it worked out this way, and while the mind is on the topic and the dictionary is out, it’s just as easy to do a little extra every now and again. There isn’t a strict schedule for completion, so you can work your way through it at your own pace. Each of the chapter studies were about 3 pages in length. Some were longer, others shorter.
There were some pre-reading activities, one of which was to watch the original Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves movie to get a feel for the Middle Ages. How fun to be assigned a movie as ‘homework’!
Each chapter had vocabulary. This was mixed up between matching the word to the definition, looking up definitions and using the words in a sentence. Tristan’s only recently learned how to really get the hang of using an ‘old fashioned’ dictionary, so this was good practice for him. Because many of the words were ‘old English’ words, not all of them were in our little dictionary. In this case, Tristan looked the words up on line or in the library.
After the vocabulary there were comprehension questions about the chapter. Some were open-ended and others were more direct. Some were straight-forward while others included more insight and thought to answer.
There was also a question or two in each chapter that quoted a reference from the Bible and and then asked about linking that to a particular passage in the story. It’s easy to either skip over these questions or adjust them slightly so that they don’t specifically pertain to religion, but rather to living with respect and kindness in general.
At the end of the book study there were some after-reading activities to do. Tristan was looking forward to the word search when he saw me print out the last half of the book study.
There are also other activities to do (I don’t want to give them all away), such as creating a banner or coat of arms. Tristan is in the middle of creating his, which is a combination of the British flag and the Canadian flag, which shows his heritage.
We read a lot in our home; as a family, on our own and Tristan reads every night in bed, too. We love to read, but we don’t aften stop and formally discuss our books and look into the language used, the actions taken, comparing characters to people we may know. As my children grow we’ll be doing more of this (granted, it’s harder to do this with picture books than it is with chapter books), and we all really quite enjoy it.
I’m not sure if Tristan was a complete fan of the vocabulary (it is a little heavy for such a short book; but perhaps necessary due to the old English words used), but he’s become more proficient at finding words in the dictionary. The questions suited him better most days. Which is good to know for future studies. I like to read his answers and learn more about how his thought processes work.
This particular book was a little more advanced than the Miss Rumphius book we studied last year with Progency Press. The book studies were comparible, but the books themselves differed. Last year Kallista was very involved with the book study, but this year it didn’t interest her, so Tristan did this book on his own, although Kallista did listen to the story being read.
Progeny Press has such a lot of book studies for every grade level. I’d love to try out a couple more as they do work well for our family. So far we’ve been able to relate the books to our lives in one way or another. The kids have knick-named me Miss Rumphius for the past year when I plant flowers around the neighbourhood.
With this book, they could better see how life was lived during the Middle Ages, the time period during which the castles around us were constructed.
We’ve enjoyed exploring life with Alice and Roger, and I’m sure we’ll return to Progeny Press again for more e-Guides as the children grow.
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