01 April 2013 ~ Comments Off

Reader’s Odyssey Review

My Reader’s Odyssey review is about an individualized literature program that was developed for middle and high school students by Dena Luchsinger. Her daughter struggled with social and academics issues in sixth grade, so she started homeschooling her. She found that her daughter thrived when she chose her own books and read for understanding.readers odyssey Readers Odyssey Review

She went from a D in Language in middle school to earning a perfect score in Reading on the SAT just 5 years later! This definitely got my attention! I wanted to know more about how Dena did this. You’ll have to read the whole book to get the complete facts, but I will share with you a few of the tidbits I learned from this book.

“I’m going to suggest that the role of a teacher is to organize work, entice students to engage, and then (and this is the hard part) trust their students to make good choices.” This book is written for parents who want their children to succeed but aren’t quite sure how to do it.

Once students reach high school age, parents often turn to a pre-packaged Language curriculum that chooses books for the student and tells them what to read and write. Dena proposes that parents don’t need any special training, just a few guidelines to help their students perform well. The roots of her system comes from Montessori philosophies.

Parents need to start with a good home library. The book tells how to blend classic literature with student’s tastes and interests and gives guidelines on what types of literature to get so that the student isn’t just reading garbage. There are also guides on developing a four year literature plan along with help on how to measure understanding. Obviously students need to spend about and hour a day reading to make this all work. There are suggestions for slow readers along with helpful tips on how to know if your student is learning.

Basically, quizzes and tests don’t teach. They are only used to serve educators. The Reader’s Odyssey encourages parents to measure understanding instead. The appendices in the book are very valuable, complete with book recommendations for different interest areas, teacher planning worksheets, learning contracts, reading logs, and very helpful pages that the student completes to increase understanding of the book that was read.

I’ve said this many times before when reviewing books, “I wish I had this book when my daughters were younger.” I’m glad I will be able to use this book with my son. There are so many great nuggets of information and tip sheets that I will be able to use for homeschooling. I’ve always hated the thought of book reports but didn’t really know how to measure understanding very well until now.

The Reader’s Odyssey can be purchased on Amazon for $14.99. It can be read in a very short amount of time and can be implemented right away. There is no need to spend a bunch of time on teacher lesson plans. Just use this book as your guideline and you will be well on your way to a great year! Readers Odyssey Review

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