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Literature Unlocked Review by Susan Wojtkowski

Wendi Krause
Hands-On Education
1013 Timberlea Drive
Palatine, IL 60067

When I saw this book, I thought to myself, "Oh, boy, another literature help book. Probably the same as all of the others out there." As soon as I began to read the introduction, however, I knew that I had it all wrong. Rarely have I seen a homeschooling resource as enjoyable and well thought out as Literature Unlocked.

This book, and your local library are all you need for your child to discover (and enjoy!) the world of literature. At $17.95, it is a great buy for all of the resources within its covers.

The book is geared for middle grades (3rd-6th grades) and upper grades (7th and higher). It is ideal for visual and kinesthetic learning styles, but with some additional read-aloud time, the book will work for auditory learners as well. I have a fourth-grade kinesthetic learner and an eighth-grade visual learner. This one book has served both of them well. They have actually enjoyed the assignments in the book--imagine that! Every activity is appropriate for both grade levels.

The first two sections are for the parent: an introduction and instructions for using the book. The third section contains reading logs for both middle and upper grades and can be photocopied for your home use.

The "meat" of the book is the five following sections: Genre Overview, Realistic Fiction, Mystery, Historical Fiction, and Folktales. Each section explains, in detail, the genre in focus and provides comprehension tools such as hands-on activities and worksheets. The individual sections (with the exception of Genre Overview) close with an extensive list of recommended books in the particular genre.

In the back of the book, the three-page glossary is a useful tool as well. We have referred to it many times throughout our study of literature.

As an avid reader with two reluctant readers, I had been searching for a book like this. I certainly recommend it to any parent desiring to teach the various literature genres in an engaging way.

Product review by Susan Wojtkowski, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October 2006