Before Five in a Row

by Sara

First of all, I'd like to point out that Before Five in a Row is not just for homeschool families! Any family that wants to spend quality time with their children enjoying classic literature will benefit from this.

Do you want to instill a love of reading in your children, encourage curiosity about the world around them, foster good character and values, enjoy fun activities together, and do it all in a way that doesn't feel forced? Do you have a desire to spend "learning readiness" time with your kids, but lack the ideas to do that?

Before FIAR will inspire you to do all these things and provide the activities you need to spark that creativity in yourself and encourage your child's eagerness to learn.

Who hasn't heard their child excitedly say, "Read it again!" before the last page of their favorite book is even finished. Before FIAR will help you avoid the monotony of repetition by introducing several new activities to do after reading the book -- making it fun for the child to look for certain things in the story and giving the parent a fresh twist as well.

We were happy to see some of our favorites used in Before FIAR: Blueberries for Sal, The Snowy Day, The Runaway Bunny, and Corduroy.

We checked out Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear? by Nancy White Carlstrom from the library in order to read something new and do the lessons along with it. My daughters (age 6 and 18 months at the time) really enjoyed the adorable illustrations and rhyming verse. Just look at all the suggested activities just for this one book included in Before FIAR:

* Bible (memorize a verse)
* Language Arts
* Loving Relationships
* Colors/Patterns/Combinations
* Fine Arts - Drama
* Literature
* Poetry and Art
* "Can you find" searches
* Order
* Details
* Games to Play
* Science
* Shapes

Each of these activities relate to the story. Children get to look for certain pictures in the book, express their opinions on the story, listen for rhyme, and even re-enact the story. It's a fun way to introduce the qualities of great literature, grammar, and basic skills to little ones.

There is also an extensive section of the book called "Parent's Treasury of Creative Ideas for Learning Readiness" with additional activities to do as a family. It's an encouragement to treasure these precious early years that pass much too quickly. Just spending quality time as a family without the pressure to perform academically will teach children so much. Make the most of their own natural curiosity and take the time to make a memory now!

We had only one "problem" with this book: Before Five in a Row is recommended for ages 2-4. The activities were really too young for my older daughter and too old for my younger daughter. We enjoyed reading (and re-reading) the books and Big Sis was able to read some of them solo to Lil Sis, which is a great way to spend the afternoon! However, Big Sis lost interest in some of the counting, letters, and colors activities because they were too simple. This would've been perfect for us about 3-4 years ago. It's time to move on to the more advanced levels of Five in a Row with Big Sis, which we are doing with FIAR 1 & 2.

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