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Within These Pages Unit Studies

Kiwi Literacy Group

1059 Sycamore Lane
Jackson Springs, NC 27281

The Kiwi Literacy Group has put together some ingenious unit studies that are sure to delight your young learners! This review includes three different types of unit studies the company offers.

  • The Pond Ecosystem: Unit Study--Teacher's Handbook
  • Floating and Sinking: Language Experience Unit--Student's Handbook (and optional notebook supplement--My Floating and Sinking Notebook)
  • Bats: Guided Reading Unit--Teacher's & Student's Handbook

The first is what you might think of as a typical unit study--lots of experiments, some suggested outside books to read, and great ideas that make learning so much fun! These units are designed to take about 2-3 weeks to complete and cost $14.95 each. Titles in the General Unit Studies Series include The Pond Ecosystem, Plant Life Cycles, and Weather. Each unit has a notebook supplement that can be purchased separately.

The second is what Kiwi Literacy Group classifies as a Language Experience Unit, which includes book titles to read along with discussion questions. These books and discussions are the backbone used to teach the child about the science topic. It also includes a number of grammar exercises related to the reading. Of course, like any unit study, this also includes experiments and hands-on activities that are sure to please! Titles in the Language Experience Series include Floating and Sinking, Seasonal Change, and Shadows. Each unit has a helpful notebook supplement that can be purchased separately. These units are designed to introduce beginning readers (and up) to whole books as part of science study. They cost $9.95 each.

Third is the Guided Reading Unit, which pairs a fiction and nonfiction book on the same subject to introduce the material. This series, intended for slightly older students, focuses extensively on reading comprehension, vocabulary, and writing. This study is the most comprehensive in that it includes activities for before, during, and after reading the material. I especially like the way the author of the fictional work was introduced to the students right up front in a short bio. The teacher's guide provided helpful scientific answers to the discussion questions found in the student guide. This really prevents parents from having to do lots of research in order to provide students with new material and insights during discussions! Titles in the Guided Reading Series include Bats, Earth Watch, Wolves, Owls, Lewis & Clark, and Earthquakes--San Francisco 1906. These units are designed to take 4-6 weeks and are $19.95 each.

Overall, I thought the material was well organized and easy to follow. I liked the way I was able to relate the three units I reviewed to each other, providing our students with an understanding that learning doesn't happen in isolated silos. For example, we started with The Pond Ecosystem. I found myself noticing ponds, lakes, and puddles everywhere once we started studying this interesting material. The experiments were really fun and engaging for all of us. I think I may have learned the most! We then moved on to the Floating and Sinking study, which obviously related to the water concepts we had just studied. When we utilized the study on Bats, it was easy to notice that bodies of water make excellent "hunting grounds" for bats everywhere!

I would recommend these unit studies to others, and I plan to use additional titles myself in the future. It would be nice if the studies were published in a slightly more professional and durable format, rather than the somewhat flimsy spiral binding that I received. However, the material is excellent and well worth the effort to study!

Product review by Karen Yuen, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May 2010

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