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The Hobbit Student Study Guide with Teacher's Manual Review by Wendy Robertson

EditedCheryl Lowe, Brett Vaden, and Sean Brooks (editors)
Memoria Press
1 (877) 862-1097
(502) 966-9115
4603 Poplar Level Rd.
Louisville, KY 40213
http://www.memoriapress.com

The Lord of the Rings is a staple literature guide for a lot of families, my own included. When my husband assigned the books to our 12-year-old son to read, he did well with them. It was slow going for him (those are very complicated books!), but he persevered and did quite a bit of reading in the first book.

Around this time, I learned that there was this review for a study guide on The Hobbit, a companion/prequel to The Lord of the Rings, written for children. The study guide from Memoria Press is designed for 7th grade students, which was perfect for my son, who had just finished 6th grade. Since I wanted to him to read something for the summer, I eagerly requested to receive this study guide. (We’d used Memoria Press literature guides before, so I knew what to expect.)

In my (fairly limited) experience, Memoria Press literature guides focus on vocabulary, reading comprehension, and more in-depth oral discussion questions. The Hobbit is no exception to this, but there are some other elements as well, making it a good mind exercise for older students.

In addition to the chapter-by-chapter sections, there is an appendix with exercises designed to help students keep track of all the complicated aspects of this particular story. This appendix isn’t just a list of information, though; rather, it’s something that with very little guidance, students fill in themselves. The pages have titles and basic guidelines at the top, and then are just lined so students can fill in their own information on the topic. I like this way of doing the appendix; I know that I have an easier time remembering things if I’ve written them down myself over just having heard or read them. Things that are being kept track of in the appendix are:

● The Dwarves, in the order in which they appear in the novel
● Characters (which the students can write in any order and with any information to help them remember who’s who)
● The different creatures in this world
● Places
● Adventures the characters go on
● Summaries

The appendix also includes spelling/vocabulary lessons in the difference between British and English spelling and some tricky concepts (further vs. farther, for instance). There’s also a section for students to define some of the “archaic” words used in the text, as well as words and phrases specific to Tolkien’s writing.

The end of the appendix brings a couple of the more fun activities: learning to read and write in the runic alphabet used in the novel and exploring the meanings of names. First the student learns all about his own name, and then he makes up his own character from Middle Earth and gives him a name, race, and adventure.

The teacher’s manual matches the student guide almost exactly, except the answers are provided (which is really good for a teacher who’s unfamiliar with the text being studied, as I am). There are also reproducible quizzes and tests in the teacher’s manual. I think it’s a good thing that those are in the teacher book rather than the student book since not all homeschoolers are “pro-testing.” I personally am in favor of it, so we definitely used those.

Overall, this literature guide for J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit is really well done. If you have a student who’s interested in this world but isn’t quite ready for The Lord of the Rings, I highly recommend picking up this set. It’s available at memoriapress.com, and for $35.89 you get the teacher manual, student workbook, and a copy of the novel. Separately, the student guide is $11.95, the teacher manual is $12.95, and the novel is $10.99.

-Product review by Wendy Robertson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October, 2016

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