As members of the Review crew, we were asked to review Pearson Homeschool's Reading Street 3rd Grade. We were sent the full package, which consisted of 2 hardback textbooks for the student, a DVDRom, and the Teacher's Manual. I quickly realized that this was not just a reading program, but a complete 3rd grade Language Arts Program. There is just so much information for the teacher that I was very overwhelmed.
The CDRom was full of activities,worksheets, and cards for vocabulary building. It had transparencies, a printable lesson plan sheet, rubrics for grading, and a lot of games, quizzes and language exercises. I found it easy to navigate and print out just what I needed.
I had a lot of difficulty with the Teacher's manual. It is a thick book, tabbed by category, and full of tips, activity ideas, book lists,and suggestions on how to teach as well as lesson plans. My problem with it was that it was written to teachers, not to homeschool moms, and I had trouble figuring out what it was talking about. It went into a lot of detail about what to teach, how and when, but was all oriented toward the classroom, not to a mom with a couple of kids. I also struggled because it was organized by topic and not by lesson.
I also realized early on that this material was not the correct level for us. My 3rd grader was far and away ahead of the material. I had intended to use this as a Grammar program for him and my 4th grader, but I saw that was not going to be possible.
So we mostly focused on the textbook. It is a colorful, hardback book with stories, cartoons, some beautiful pictures, and plenty of questions, suggestions, strategies, ideas and tips in the margins. It is divided into Units and sub-divided into Weeks. Each week contains a "Let's Talk About It", "Phonics" "Comprehension", "Vocabulary", a reading selection, marked, "Social Studies", "Let's Write It", another reading selection, and a "Let's Learn It". There are three Units in the first book and three in the second book.
Basically, I opened the book and we read our way through it. Again, most of the material was below our skill level, so we focused on the writing aspects and really enjoyed that. I thought the material did a good job of exposing the kids to different genres and giving them writing assignments to experiment with those genres.
This program is definitely teacher intensive. In order to do it as written, there would have to be a lot of teacher prep. It is also most definitely a "school at home" program. It would be a great fit, I think for families who need/want a lot of hand-holding, or who are desirous of keeping in step with the public school system. The materials are certainly good quality and well-thought out by the publisher. It is also completely non-consumable as all the worksheets are printable and there is no place to write in the textbooks.
The Crew reviewed a variety of subjects and grades for Pearson, you can read those reviews here
DISCLAIMER: I was sent this curriculum free of charge for the purpose of this review. All opinions are honest and completely my own.