I just wanted to a quick moment with my sleeping infant on
my lap (yes I am typing with one hand), to tell you thank you for
your lit. program "Drawn Into the Heart of Reading". It really challenged
my girls this year and
was most definitely a highlight. They read genres we might never
had tried, did projects I don't normally take time for, read a few
books beyond their skill level because they were so enticing, and
slowed down their reading to enjoy some story elements and
I have to tell you that it was also not in
my plans to use this last year. But after meeting you and your
sister at the CHEO convention in Ohio, I bought the program. So
stay on the convention circuit if you can. I'll pass on good
reviews too! Thanks again. I'm looking into your Little Hearts
program for my 5 yr. old now.
Andrea - Howard, OH
Dear Ms. Austin,
Last May at the homeschool book fair in Arlington, Texas, I purchased Drawn Into The Heart of Reading for use in our home school with a second grader. I just had to let you know how much (to my great surprise) I love it!
Let me give you some background. I taught in Texas public schools for ten years and then left the classroom to stay home with my children and school them. Language Arts is my "thing." I have a reading minor and was certified by a writing initiative to instruct teachers in the teaching of writing. I know lots about the teaching of reading and writing and was very successful in the public school classroom. My second grader loves to read and probably reads on a 5th or 6th grade level. I believe so deeply that reading instruction should be wholistic and joyful and never boring. I know how to teach reading well, but I found that I wasn't quite meeting my second grader's needs. How do you instruct someone who reads so well but is still so young emotionally? Your program has proven to be just what we needed! I feel that we are balancing skill development with real reading experiences. The program reminds me to "hit" skills I'd been ignoring like character studies, etc. I'm so thrilled to be reminded to expose my children to different genre, too.
Thanks for a great program. We absolutely can't wait for reading everyday.
Debbie - Denton, TX
Dear Mike and Carrie,
My package arrived on Thursday with everything in perfect condition. I
appreciate the special attention you took with my order, but I sometimes
wonder why I care about bent covers, etc. when my favorite resources become
dog-eared from use anyway. There is no doubt that Drawn into the Heart of
Reading will be worn from handling by the end of the summer.
I so wish that I had found it when we started homeschooling four years ago,
and that I was able to purchase it sooner. We primarily use a 3R approach in
our homeschool with our children reading many, many books. The curriculum we
use does not provide anything for analyzing or interacting with the books,
and I had no way of confirming whether our children had connected with their
books if all they did was read. This was and is especially true with our
non-verbal, word-locked guys. I have one, Classical resource we have used to
good purpose, and some suggestions for interaction that I compiled through
my own research, but your curriculum provides exactly the type of
assignments I have searched for and exactly the type of assignments our
Many of the homeschool families in our area use Sonlight, and while I love
their literature approach, we cannot afford Sonlight. One year I was able to
buy some, excellent literature unit studies, but what I always wanted a
literature/reading program that could be used with any book I choose. We
have printed many books from our curriculum, and there are many library
books calling to us. Our homeschool budget is limited, and I almost bought
the Student Books without the Teacher Manual. I am glad I waited until I
could afford everything because I can see the TM is the heart of the program
- wonderful tips and suggestions for interacting with the student and clear
directions for using the graphic organizers, good pacing. Can you tell I am
pleased with my purchase?
Thank you so much for everything.
Bonita - Lacome, LA
PS - I forgot to mention that the 6,7,8 Level is a great tool for SAT essay
prep. In that essay, the student has to provide examples from personal life,
historical figures or literature to support an issue-related thesis, usually
addressing a character quality or life circumstances. Many students freeze
and write about Ben Franklin as an example of creativity or George
Washington as an example of integrity. Accurate but not the unique, fresh
examples the reviewers want. In addition, students often forget ways to use
fiction characters as support for their thesis. Working through the
biography and fiction lessons in Carrie's curriculum would give them a body
of material to prep for that essay, which is exactly what I plan to do with
We started using Drawn Into The Heart of Reading right after you came out with it. I'm not sure if that was 3 or 4 years ago. It was the only literary analysis curriculum we used. We just used it with the books the kids were reading for literature and history. This year my oldest decided to go to public high school. He entered as a Freshman and after only one semester he was put into the Honors English program.
- Sue - Castle Rock, CO
I want to thank you for some great products. I purchased Little Hands To Heaven and Drawn Into The Heart of Reading at NICHE in Des Moines, Iowa. I have been looking for something that would make learning more fun for me and the children. We have completed 25 days with Drawn Into The Heart of Reading and my 10 year old and 7 year old look forward to it everyday. The activities for each day have been great fun learning opportunities. My words truly cannot describe the joy that we have using your curriculum.
I had not heard of your curriculum until the first evening at NICHE when your sister caught my attention. I generally try not to buy something off my list but this purchase was the best one I made. I just wanted to let you know we are using your curriculum and very pleased with it. We thank God for giving you the wisdom to put together a wonderful
resource for teaching our children to enjoy reading and applying it to God's word.
I have to admit I have never written to anyone before like this but it has been heavy on my heart to share with you our experience.
God Bless You!!
Kathy - Homestead, IA
The things I really like about this curriculum are: First, the kids pick out their own book so they are more interested in reading it. Second, it encourages us to read a wide variety of books instead of getting stuck in a rut. Third, the multi-level feature works great with more than 1 child. Fourth, my kids have so much fun doing the projects at the end of each genre. The program is great! Thanks!
- Sally - Marshalltown
What a wonderful name for your reading curriculum! I 'stumbled' onto your site....I'm not sure how still to this day....but I'm grateful for all your hard work. As I look toward planning for next year....your curriculum is #1 on my list....
It's as if you 'read my mind'. Over the five years that I've been home schooling, I've gathered several different resources in an attempt to accomplish what you have done in your books, I never could get it together to teach my three: 12yr ds, 10yr dd, and 8.5yr ds. Thanks for your hard work. I'm really excited about giving 'spark' to my 12yr ds reading time.
Blessings on your family,
Marilyn in Missouri
It was nice to see you again at this year's CHEF conference in St. Louis. As you know, we bought a set of "Drawn" at the conference and are now finally getting the chance to USE the curriculum we waited a whole year to buy! I just wanted to drop you a quick note to tell you that we are LOVING it :-). It is nothing short of wonderful and we thank God for directing us to it and for you being His willing servants in writing it. All of our children, including our oldest daughter (age 17 & doing level 6/7/8), look forward to doing "Drawn" each day. Simon is doing really well in level 4/5 and we couldn't be more pleased. We plan to highly recommend Heart of Dakota to all the families in the support group we lead. I'm sure our kids would love to give you feedback on how much they enjoyed their assigned reading this year!
~Blessing to you and your precious family always~
- Mary - Ste. Genevieve, MO
I loved how this curriculum allows us to choose good literature books that are interest to our child. It encourages parents, even with older children, to sit down and read good books together.
- Pam - Omaha, NE
I have really enjoyed using the Drawn Into The Heart of Reading program. I really like the books suggested and the ability to use any book we're interested in for that genre. My daughter has gotten better at her writing skills and loves the book projects at the end. I would and have recommended it to my fellow homeschoolers.
- Deb - Council Bluffs
We really enjoy the reading program. At this very moment, the girls (ages 9 & 11) are working on a project to finish their Adventure books. I love the character trait evaluations. It was refreshing to cover these biblical characteristics while reading secular books. It really reinforced the traits we have been working on anyway. Our children are AVID readers, but we have greatly benefited from studying their reading.
- Tish - Gibbon, NE
We are planning on using it fall of '05. I was very impressed with the format, it looks easy to use and great way to introduce my children to a wide variety of literature.
- Marcy - Cedar Rapids, IA
We love your literature program. In the words of Yolanda, our sixth grader: "It gets you into books!" Our 10 year old Leanna says: "It gets me interested in books that didn't seem that interesting." Teacher (mom) says: "I love it. Reading comprehension and variety - yeah!"
- Yvonne - Beresford, SD
Drawn Into the Heart was a great help to me when I home schooled two of my children together for the first time. It was wonderful to be able to choose some of my favorite books for them to enjoy.
- Susan - Creston, IA
We have been using it for 8 months and are enjoying it!
- Lois - Montrose, CO
We have been using Drawn Into The Heart of Reading for 3 years (off and on). It is an effective and easy tool to use to expose students to different genres of writing. We enjoy it.
- Micki - Ames, IA
I have been using Drawn Into The Heart of Reading with my 2nd, 5th, and 7th graders for six months. Here are a few of the things that I like about it: First, it is multi-grade level. Second, it uses any books you already have in your school plans. Third, it gives me a great way to interact with my kids, even at a young age, about good literature, literary terms, and character qualities. Fourth, it provides a flexible structure and ways to apply what we discuss to their/our lives - especially regarding character qualities!
- Lori - St. Louis, MO
I like choosing the books my children will read. I can frequently tie the genre we study to our history or unit studies lessons. The format is easy to use. Our family loves using it!
- Janelle - Macomb, IL
Drawn Into The Heart of Reading was well done. I appreciated the help in teaching literature. My daughter has gone on to a school this year and is doing very well. Keep on publishing these good programs!
- Michelle - Bloomington, MN
I thought you did a very good job displaying your products at the OKC conference. You were very warm and motivating to speak with. Your books have been used mainly as a reference book. I also pull a comprehension activity from the workbooks when needed. Thanks for the creativity!
- Wendy - Ponca City
Great material. Very helpful with the suggestions of good literature.
- Melanie - Wray, CO
I have not used your book word for word, but the general concept has been very valuable to me. I plan on using it more for my younger son. I will say my children are opposites - my son is non-fiction and my daughter is a fiction. It can be hard to get them to like the opposite genre!
- Pat - IL