There are three “Seasons” in the Beyond the Book Report program. Season One teaches the fundamentals of research and essay writing, and has the student write three different types of book reports: a basic book report, a pamphlet book report, and a journalism book report. Season Two focuses on poetry and drama, including figurative language and stage forms. Season Three moves into deeper aspects of research and essay writing, and adds in public speaking. All together, they are a solid informative writing curriculum for the middle school years.
Beyond the Book Report is video based, and each Season comes with a DVD for your student to watch. In addition, there are printables, including slides to print off so the students can practice taking notes as they listen to the DVD. There is also a teacher’s binder, which gives detailed instructions and shows you how to use the program in a 2 or 3 year schedule, three days a week.
We really liked this program. It lays out everything from choosing the book and getting it approved, to writing really interesting reports. Season Three even takes the student into things that I just wouldn’t think about, like writing an SAT essay. The videos were not too long for my middle schoolers to watch, and Kaitlyn is starting to improve on her note taking, I’ve noticed, while watching them. Since I am in college online, I know this is not the easiest skill for me to develop, and one I want her to have down before she heads off to college. There are also rubrics not just for me, but for the kids. Again, as an online college student, I love this, because I routinely go back to my own rubrics for papers I turn in. That wasn’t available to me in high school, so getting into that habit now is excellent for my kids, in my opinion.
We kicked up the program’s schedule slightly for summer, but I’m really looking forward to taking the kids through it again this year at the slower, 3-day-a-week pace. While they’ve learned a lot, I think they’ll be able to glean even more when we go through it again. And, they’re not complaining about the idea, which I love. Kaitlyn, especially, is really enjoying the drama aspects (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which she adores, anyway), and I want her to enjoy it without feeling rushed. This is definitely something we’re keeping around long term.
Beyond the Book Report is available for $24.95 per season, or, you can bundle all three seasons together for $69.95. Make sure you head to the Beyond the Book Report page, where you’ll get a thorough breakdown of exactly what each Season, and each report, consists of. This is a really great, step by step program that will take ALL of the guesswork out of teaching your children how to write informative research papers and essays, as well as teach them to study poetry and drama. We’re really looking forward to continuing with Beyond the Book Report.
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