Method Review: Before Five in a Row
Posted by homeschoolmentormom on May 17, 2011
Before Five in a Row: A treasury of creative ideas to inspire learning readiness is a great resource for families who would like a little more “specific” help homepreschooling their very young children (those not ready for themes or unit studies).
Before Five in a Row is not a curriculum or an intensive “readiness” (i.e. formal academic) program; it does not concentrate on teaching A, B, C’s or 1, 2, 3’s (and rightly so; after all, Before Five in a Row is intended for children ages 2-4–I think it’s best for age 2-3.) Instead, Before Five in a Row uses the best in children’s literature to get preschoolers talking, thinking, playing and learning via relating to their favorite picture books. And once preschoolers get talking, thinking and playing, their learning really does take off. To quote from the introduction of Before Five in a Row, “This series of little ‘lessons’ was created especially to bring enjoyment to children ages two through four. The point is not so much to instruct or teach as it is have a happy introduction to books, provide an interesting, light introduction to many different topics, and to build intimacy between the reader and the child. The topical subject headings are only to suggest in what areas these activities might lay a foundation for academic subject to be encountered by your child on later grades.”
Before Five in a Row offers ideas and activities that lay foundations in the areas of Bible, art, language arts, cognitive skills (noticing/talking about colors, patterns, shapes, sequencing, problem solving, etc); drama, literature, poetry and art; noticing order and detail; science, games, math, etc all in a developmentally appropriate/fun way. Before Five in a Row uses classic picture books such as Caps for Sale, Blueberries for Sal, Angus Lost, and Corduroy as the basis for its “lessons” (24 books in all.) Many of the “lessons” are simply observing things about the book or its characters through conversation. This can be done during the time of the reading, or later—whenever “life” relates to the lessons of the book, or whenever the book is re-read (these books are so good that your preschoolers will want to hear them over and over!)
How Before Five in a Row Differs from Five in a Row
First of all, Five in a Row is a “curriculum” (unit study/literature approach) for ages 4-8. Five in a Row gets its name from the fact that you read each picture book every day for five days; thus the title, “Five in a Row.” After the daily reading, you proceed to do one or more of the activities suggested in the curriculum—you pick and choose the activities depending on the age, attention span, and abilities of your children. But Before Five in a Row doesn’t work that way. It does not encourage you to read the same book each day for five days in a row. The suggested activities are not intended to be used all in one week, either. Instead, they are meant to be used as a natural part of life during the reading and subsequent readings of the books.
Even More About Before Five in a Row
The first half of the book includes the books and activities, while the second half of the book includes a “treasury of creative ideas for learning readiness.” It includes activities in the areas of reading readiness, music, coordination, activities for the bathroom and kitchen, the arts, and more.
Before Five in a Row is a good introduction to the literature approach for parents of very young children. The second half of the book is a good reference of basic activities. This book would be especially helpful for parents of 2-3 year olds who need a little help figuring out how to pull learning activities/conversations out of picture books.
If you would like more activity/play/unit study ideas for preschoolers, check out my tabs, archives, and especially Homepreschool and Beyond.
© 2011 Susan Lemons all rights reserved. Copyrighted materials may not be re-distributed or re-posted without express permission from the author.