Kolbe Elementary Literature Curriculum

I mentioned in this post about how I will be using the Kolbe Elementary Literature Program with Bailey as she starts fourth grade next year.  I also mentioned that it pretty much deserved a post of its own.  So, here is that post!

For years, I have been a collector of book lists.  I have Excel spreadsheets and Word documents full of them for every age group.  I’ve read a variety of those books with various reading recommendations for kids.  I love books.  I read a lot of books.  I like history, theology, social sciences, pop culture, science fiction, popular fiction, and juvenile fiction.  My kids on the other hand…not so much.  I won’t get in to all of the sordid details, but my two older girls just have very little interest in reading or being read to 95% of the time.  So, all of my book lists pretty much go unused.  (sniff, sniff)

When my friend Kelly mentioned that she was using the Kolbe Literature Curriculum with her daughter, I decided to check it out.  I liked that it used real books instead of a text book.  I liked that it had a variety of classic children’s fiction as well as some saint biographies.  It was specifically put together for fourth through sixth graders, and the sample syllabus listed the Accelerated Reading Level for each book.  (The AR Level 5.9 equals the expected reading level for a student in the ninth month of fifth grade.)  And they were very clear that they did not expect a child to read every single book within the three years of the program.  The program has a lot of flexibility within a structure.

I decided to purchase the student book which has three to five end-of-chapter questions for every book in the program, and the teacher book with answers to the end-of-chapter questions.  It ended up being $55 including delivery charges.  However, I did not shell out the $150 for the Elementary Literature Course Plans.  The course plans offer a week by week and day by day plan for each book, writing assignments specific to each book, and a format for book reports.  If you are actually registered with the Kolbe program, the cost for the course plans and text books is included in your yearly tuition.

Once I received the student and teacher books, I had to figure out how we were going to use them.  I had already decided that we would start with The Boxcar Children.  This is one of the few books that Bailey actually likes.  She owns her own copy and has read it multiple times.  Plus, it has the easiest AR Level in the program and Kolbe course plans finish the book in four weeks (making it one of the shortest).  I figured that this would be a good place to put our toes in the water.

Bailey asked why we were starting there since she had already read it.  But I explained that we would be looking at the book more in-depth than she may have on her own.  I decided that after each chapter I would expect her to do the questions from the student book.  In addition, I put together a worksheet on Excel for her to list things such as the title, author, original publication year, first and last sentences of the books, and notes about the setting and characters.  This would also be updated after every chapter.

Once a week, I plan to assign a writing prompt from 100 Awesome Writing Prompts to Use with Any Book.  And then after the end of each book, I’ll expect her to write a short book report (maybe about three to five paragraphs) with introductory information about the setting and characters, a summary of the plot (without giving away the ending), and her personal review of the book.  She’ll turn in a rough draft, followed by a corrected final draft, and then she’ll give a short presentation on the information in her report to either her father or her granny.  We’ll keep all of her notes, chapter questions, writing assignments, and reports for each book in a designated Literature binder.

So, that’s “the plan”.  I am totally prepared that “the plan” might have to be tweaked once we actually start doing the program.  And once we move through to fifth and sixth grade, I will probably require a little more independent note-taking and advanced writing assignments and reports.

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One Comment on “Kolbe Elementary Literature Curriculum”

  1. Holly Says:

    Thanks for sharing this! I’m looking into these books for my 4th grader next year and it was nice to see how you adapted without the course plans.


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