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The Noah Plan Reading Curriculum Guide Review by Lyria Moore

Walking with Jesus Bible and Reading Program for Fourth Grade
Family Plan for Reading Aloud
Foundation for American Christian Education
4225-B Portsmouth Blvd.
Chesapeake, Virginia 23321

The Foundation for American Christian Education (FACE) has been established to return America's education system back to what it used to be for the early colonists. Back in those days the literacy rate was 90%. I'm sure many can see the disparity between those statistics and the dismal ones we're so used to hearing about in today's public schools. Committed individuals at the Foundation for American Christian Education have studied the lives of those early colonists and found one thing in common. They all grew up with the Bible as their first book of instruction. The young children were taught their alphabet through Bible verses and poetry relating to the Bible. This dependence on the Word of God as their children's first source of education seems to be the bolster that allowed the colonists to excel in literacy. The Foundation took that information and applied it to the teaching of children today, and they came up with the Noah Plan Curriculum.

The teacher should sit down and read the Noah Plan Reading Curriculum Guide first. This gives a layout of what the plan is intending to teach the child. Then the teacher can start to understand what they need to add in or skip over based on the child's ability. The Guide contains curriculum charts, sample weekly lesson plans, a section on methods and strategies used in teaching reading, and forms that enhance student understanding. The Guide also touches on reading in other subjects, the language arts program used by the Noah Plan and how to tie it in to what you're doing with the Bible As Reader Program as well as their suggestion for enrichment programs in reading.

The Bible As Reader (BAR) Program is set up to teach children to read using the Bible as their primary textbook. The program consists of:

  • A Bible on the reading level of the child being taught
  • The Noah Plan Reading Curriculum Guide
  • The Noah Plan Academy DVD - Teaching Bible and Reading

In the early stages these materials may be all you need. As your child reaches the age where they can reason on a higher level, the program grows right along with them by offering two more resources:

  • Advanced Reading and Reasoning Skills: Walking With Jesus
  • Advanced Reading and Reasoning Skills: Walking With Jesus Teacher Planner CD

These two extra resources lead the teacher to help the child expound on the reading and reasoning skills they have developed in their previous years of using the Bible As Reader Program.

The Walking With Jesus Teacher Planner CD is filled with everything you'll need for teaching the program to your fourth grader. The CD includes samples and resource lists as well as blank forms for your student to use. Since all the information is on a CD it's easy to print out whatever form you need and use it in your student's notebook. The CD covers everything that a regular Teacher's Guide would, so you don't have to feel like you're missing out on anything just because the information is in a different format. The CD goes along with the Walking with Jesus lesson book. When the child reaches this level the Bible As Reader and Reading programs are combined. The lessons for fourth grade include activities that teach both reading concepts and reasoning skills. You will see your child soar as they learn to see everything in their lives through the lens of the Word of God.

If all of this seems overwhelming, the teacher can take a break and watch the Teaching Bible and Reading DVD, which gives an in-depth explanation of the whole program and how everything fits together. The DVD is a recording of a sit-down conversation between two teachers--Martha Shirley, author of the Noah Plan Reading Curriculum Guide, and Barbara Keller, a former teacher in a school using the Noah Plan and author of Walking with Jesus--as well as one mom, Debbie Smith, who homeschools her three children using the Noah Plan. They give valuable insight into how they have adapted the Noah Plan for their classes and children. You will enjoy the engaging talk and wonderful examples they share. They discuss topics such as:

  • Understanding the case for teaching reading using the Bible
  • Understanding what we mean by reading
  • Learning how to teach using the Bible as a reader
  • Understanding the stages of reading development
  • Learning the strategic reading processes
  • Establishing reasonable goals for reading the Bible

The Foundation has also provided a reading guide for quality books that emphasize the biblical principles taught in the Noah Plan Curriculum: A Family Program for Reading Aloud. This resource can be used even before the child starts any formal training in reading. The Foundation sees this program as a spark that will ignite the child's love of reading. When children have quality books read to them, it whets their appetite and sets their diet for more quality reading material. Then they are well on their way to developing a love for learning.

The Noah Plan Reading Curriculum is so rich your child will not be left behind in any skill. There are so many topics you can focus on, and your child will want to explore beyond just what is written on the page. In my experience, my children started asking questions that led us on to another topic, and off we were learning about that too! I like this program because it lays a solid foundation first. Once your foundation is laid, you don't mind springboarding to another topic because you know they already understand the basics. This curriculum lends itself to delight-directed learning for your children. Their imaginations will take off, and you will be amazed at how much fun your teaching experience will be. I've had a blast, and I've only used this curriculum for half a year. I'm amazed at how much my children retain. They also are free to apply the basics they learn to other areas--which blows my mind since I haven't specifically taught them how to do that. They just automatically make the connections on their own! It does take a while for the parent/teacher to learn and understand the principles behind The Noah Plan, but once you start to apply those principles in your children's lessons, you will see the reward for all your hard work. To me, it is well worth the sacrifice to help my children live according to a biblical worldview.

Product review by Lyria Moore, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2007