Review By Sarah Shelton
Memoria Press has recently combined two of H.A. Guerber’s historical readers into one volume for a year of American History study for the Grammar Stage (grades 5-8). This curriculum includes the historical reader now titled “The Story of the Thirteen Colonies and The Great Republic“.
This book begins at Columbus and ends at the Spanish American War. His writing is very poetic, yet simple. The introduction to the parent suggests that you read the lesson out loud, and then let your child read it back to you. In this method they are hearing it twice and are better able to grasp the information they just heard and read, while actually retaining it.
The spine of the book could be used on its own as a reader, but Memoria Press has come out with a great student and teacher book to accompany it. The student workbook has two pages to complete per lesson. Each lesson is the same format. There is a Facts to Know section, Vocabulary Words, Activities/Research Projects (which you could expound on for additional days), and a section of detailed reading Comprehension Questions. The teacher’s guide has the answers to the student text as well as a nice appendix. This includes the original writings of the Mayflower Compact, Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and many more. It also has photographs of the original documents. There are 12 tests in the teacher book as well. Each test covers about 5 lessons worth of study.
What I really like about this book is that each lesson/chapter is only about one page long and incorporates a picture as well. In other American History curricula, the chapters are quite long and I don’t think much of the information is really retained. There are 95 lessons in the book. Combined with the workbook activities, this would allow you to do history twice a week and still have plenty of time in the school year to do further research on a subject or to use the other supplements Memoria Press carries, such as; “Everything You Need to Know about American History Homework: 4th to 6th Grades ” and “200 Questions about American History“. Depending on how in depth you want to go with American History, you could quite possibly use the book and accompanying student book for a whole year curriculum in American History. I think if you added the above mentioned resources it would make for a wonderful, well-rounded American History curriculum for the middle school years.