Drawn into the Heart of Reading Vocabulary Assignments

From Our House to Yours:

Drawn into the Heart of Reading Vocabulary Work 

Heart of Dakota’s (HOD’s) Drawn into the Heart of Reading (DITHOR) program includes vocabulary assignments. You can find these vocabulary assignments in the DITHOR Teacher’s Guide Appendix. As you are teaching your way through DITHOR, you may have noticed vocabulary assignments are sometimes noted as ‘optional.’ For example, on days 2, 7, and 12 of each genre in Level 2/3, vocabulary is optional. Likewise, on days 3, 8, and 13 of each genre in Level 4/5, it is optional. However, on days 2, 7, and 12 of each genre in Level 6/7/8, vocabulary is not optional. At this level, vocabulary assignments are not in the Appendix. Rather, they are part of the daily plans in DITHOR 6/7/8’s Student Book. So, why are they optional in levels 2/3 and 4/5?

Heart of Dakota’s guides include vocabulary assignments already.

The vocabulary assignments within DITHOR is generally intended for students who are not using HOD’s core guides alongside DITHOR.  Bigger Hearts for His Glory (BHFHG) includes vocabulary work each week. Preparing Hearts for His Glory and Creation to Christ do as well.  So, unless you would like to add more vocabulary work to your student’s day, you would omit the vocabulary activities in DITHOR while doing these guides. Of course, if you do want extra vocabulary work, the vocabulary activities in DITHOR can be used in any order during any year of DITHOR. Once students reach level 6/7/8, vocabulary work specific to DITHOR instruction is excellent preparation for high school level literature work.

So, if you are doing a core HOD guide, there is no need to do the optional DITHOR vocabulary assignments! Just one more reason to use all of HOD! It makes your days easier by making sure there’s no doubling up!

In Christ,

Julie

Choosing Upper DITHOR Book Pack and Student Book Levels

From Our House to Yours

Choosing Upper DITHOR Book Pack and Student Book Levels

Each of Heart of Dakota’s (HOD’s) upper Drawn into the Heart of Reading (DITHOR) book packs includes a range of reading levels within each set of books.  Specific reading levels are also noted individually for each book.  The 5/6 Boy Book Pack includes books ranging from 5.1-6.9 (fifth grade first month through sixth grade ninth month). Subsequently, the 5/6 Girl Book Pack includes books ranging from 5.1-6.8 (fifth grade first month through sixth grade eighth month). Moving on, the 6/7 Book Pack includes books ranging from 6.0-7.3 (sixth grade through seventh grade third month). Progressing on, the 7/8 Boy Book Pack includes books ranging from 6.3-8.5 (sixth grade third month through eighth grade fifth month). Similarly, the 7/8 Girl Book Pack includes books ranging from 6.2-8.3 (sixth grade second month through eighth grade third month).

Level 5/6 Boy Book Pack Samples

In general, the Level 5/6 Boy Book Pack has medium-sized chapters, less words on a page, and a few pictures. The Invisible Friend is read for 15 days and is the Mystery book selection. It has a reading level of 5.1. This makes it one of the easiest books in the Level 5/6 Boy Book Pack. There are 207 pages in The Invisible Friend. So, students read about 14 pages a day.

The Little Duke is read for 15 days. It is the Biography book selection. It has a reading level of 6.9. This makes it one of the hardest books in the Level 5/6 Boy Book Pack. There are 171 pages in The Little Duke. So, students read about 11 pages a day.

Level 5/6 Girl Book Pack Samples

In general, the Level 5/6 Girl Book Pack has medium-sized chapters, less words on a page, and a few pictures. The Secret of the Old Clock is read for 15 days and is the Nancy Drew Mystery book selection. It has a reading level of 5.4. This makes it one of the easiest books in the Level 5/6 Girl Book Pack. There are 180 pages in The Secret of the Old Clock. So, students read about 12 pages a day.

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase is read for 15 days. It is the Adventure book selection. It has a reading level of 6.8. This makes it one of the hardest books in the Level 5/6 Girl Book Pack. There are 181 pages in The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. So, students read about 12 pages a day.

Level 6/7 Book Pack Samples

In general, the Level 6/7 Book Pack books have longer reading assignments. They have no pictures, smaller font sizes, and are thicker chapter books with higher vocabulary and more mature topics. The Black Stallion Mystery is read for 15 days and is the Mystery book selection. It has a reading level of 6.1. This makes it one of the easiest books in the Level 6/7 Book Pack. There are 200 pages in The Black Stallion Mystery. So, students read about 13 pages a day.

The White Dove is read for 5 days. It is one of the Folk Tales book selections. It has a reading level of 7.0. This makes it one of the hardest books in the Level 6/7 Book Pack. There are 67 pages in The White Dove. So, students read about 13 pages a day. You can see the font is much smaller, the sentences longer, and the sentence structures more complex. Though The White Dove is small in size, it is more difficult to read. Just because a book is smaller, remember, that does not mean it is easier!

Level 7/8 Boy Interest Book Pack Samples

In general, the 7/8 Book Packs are thick chapter books. They have no pictures, more difficult sentence structures, higher level vocabulary, and more mature topics. They are chosen with the intent to prepare students for the high school level literature they will soon be expected to read. For example, in the Level 7/8 Boy Interest Book Pack, Caught in the Act is read for 5 days. It is one of the Mystery selections. It has a reading level of 6.3. This makes it one of the easiest books in the Level 7/8 Boy Interest Book Pack. There are 150 pages in Caught in the Act. So, students read about 30 pages a day.

Winter Holiday is read for 15 days. It is the Realistic Fiction book selection. It has a reading level of 8.1. This makes it one of the hardest books in the Level 7/8 Boy Interest Book Pack. There are 324 pages in Winter Holiday. So, students read about 22 pages a day.

Level 7/8 Girl Interest Book Pack Samples

In the Level 7/8 Girl Interest Book Pack, Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio, for example, is read for 10 days. It is one of the Nonfiction selections. It has a reading level of 6.2. This makes it one of the easiest books in the Level 7/8 Girl Interest Book Pack. There are 164 pages in Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio. So, students read about 16 pages a day.

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm is read for 15 days. It is the Humor book selection. It has a reading level of 8.3. This makes it one of the hardest books in the Level 7/8 Girl Interest Book Pack. There are 229 pages in Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. So, students read about 23 pages a day.

Choosing Between Book Pack Levels

In general, we would say error on the side of choosing that which is easier if between two levels.  The DITHOR Teacher’s Guide and Student Books will add challenge; we don’t want the books to be at a challenge level, but rather at a level that the student can read fairly well on his/her own. Keep in mind, the challenge at this level is in delving more deeply into the book. In-depth genre studies, story element instruction (i.e. plot, tone, mood, point of view, inference, etc.), moral reasoning with more mature Godly character traits in mind, and higher level comprehension are the skills to be taught. The goal is not to simply read as quickly as possible; speed reading books with little thought is a lower level skill. Rather, more mature skills that are high school level literature preparatory focused are the goals for these years.

Choosing Which Genre Your Student Will Read First

Heart of Dakota lists the reading levels for each book on its website, in its catalog, and on its Optional Book Recommendations paper sent with your order. Genres can be done in any order, so starting with the easiest reading level for a struggling reader makes good sense. Starting with whichever genre or book your student is most excited about for a strong, yet dispassionate reader makes good sense. If you have an average reader who enjoys reading, starting with the first genre (or any genre) makes good sense. Keep in mind the range of reading levels is intentional – not too big, not too small. Students’ reading and comprehension will gradually improve throughout the year. The range of reading levels Carrie carefully picked accommodates for that growth.

Choosing Which Level of DITHOR Student Book to Use

As far as the DITHOR Student Books, the 4/5 Student Book includes assignments every 3-4 out of 5 days, has a fair share of writing, and is assuming students have had some formal literature study of the genres and the story elements, building upon this foundation. The 6/7/8 Student Book includes daily assignments, requires daily writing, is more in-depth, and is written with high school literature preparation in mind.

In general, 6th grade students who have not had as much formal literature study of the genres and story elements or who are not accustomed to writing more do one year in the 4/5 Student Book and move to the 6/7/8 Student Book in seventh grade.  Seventh and eighth grade students who have had formal literature study of the genres and story elements, who are able to write well, and who are able to comprehend well place in the 6/7/8 Student Book.  Reading levels of book packs do not need to match Student Book levels.  So, for example, a sixth grade student who is an avid reader who does not write as well or who has not had formal literature study may use the 6/7 Book Pack with the 4/5 Student Book.

In Closing

I hope this helps you with choosing which level of book pack and which level of student book you’d like to use with your older student(s). If I look at a book inside and outside, know the total number of pages in the book, and know how many pages my student would need to read each day, I can usually choose what level is best for each of my sons. I hope you find the same to be true for you and find this to be an encouragement!

In Christ,

Julie

Choosing DITHOR Book Pack and Student Book Levels

From Our House to Yours

Choosing DITHOR Book Pack and Student Book Levels

Each of Heart of Dakota’s (HOD’s) Drawn into the Heart of Reading (DITHOR) book packs includes a range of reading levels within each set of books.  Specific reading levels are also noted individually for each book. The Level 2 Book Pack includes books ranging from 3.0-4.1 (third grade through fourth grade first month).  Moving on, the Level 3 Book Pack includes books ranging from 3.5-5.1 (third grade fifth month through fifth grade first month). Progressing on, Level 4/5 Boy Book Pack includes books ranging from 4.0-5.7 (fourth grade through fifth grade seventh month). Similarly, the Level 4/5 Girl Book Pack includes books ranging from 4.0-5.6 (fourth grade through fifth grade sixth month).

Level 2 Book Pack Samples

In general, the Level 2 Book Pack has shorter chapters, a larger font size, and some pictures. The Littles is read for 10 days and is one of the Fantasy book selections. It has a reading level of 3.0, making it one of the easiest books in the Level 2 Book Pack. There are 73 pages in The Littles, so students read about 7 pages a day.

The Secret School is read for 15 days. It is the Realistic Fiction book selection. It has a reading level of 4.1, making it one of the hardest books in the Level 2 Book Pack. There are 153 pages in The Secret School, so students read about 10 pages a day.

Level 3 Book Pack Samples

In general, the Level 3 Book Pack’s chapters begin to get longer. Likewise, the font size begins to get smaller, and there are very few pictures. Louis Braille is read for 5 days and is one of the Biography book selections. It has a reading level of 3.8, making it one of the easiest books in the Level 3 Book Pack. There are 75 pages in Louis Braille, so students read about 15 pages a day.

Owls in the Family is read for 15 days. It is the Humor book selection. It has a reading level of 4.9, making it one of the hardest books in the Level 3 Book Pack. There are 91 pages in Owls in the Family, so students read about 6 pages a day. You can see the font is much smaller, the sentences longer, and the sentence structures more complex. This is why students are assigned to read less pages per day.

Level 4/5 Boy Interest Book Pack Samples

In general, the 4/5 Book Packs have longer reading assignments, very few pictures, smaller font size, and are thicker chapter books with higher vocabulary and more mature topics. For example, in the Level 4/5 Boy Interest Book Pack, Buffalo Bill is read for 15 days. It is the Folk Tales selection. It has a reading level of 4.0, making it one of the easiest books in the Level 4/5 Boy Interest Book Pack. There are 182 pages in Buffalo Bill, so students read about 12 pages a day.

The Black Stallion is read for 15 days. It is the Adventure book selection. It has a reading level of 5.3, making it one of the hardest books in the Level 4/5 Boy Interest Book Pack. There are 197 pages in The Black Stallion, so students read about 13 pages a day.

Level 4/5 Girl Interest Book Pack Samples

In the Level 4/5 Girl Interest Book Pack, Freedom Crossing, for example, is read for 15 days. It is the Historical Fiction selection. It has a reading level of 4.6, making it one of the easiest books in the Level 4/5 Girl Interest Book Pack. There are 148 pages in Freedom Crossing, so students read about 10 pages a day.

Naya Nuki: Shoshoni Girl Who Ran is read for 15 days. It is the Nonfiction book selection. It has a reading level of 5.6, making it one of the hardest books in the Level 4/5 Girl Interest Book Pack. There are 167 pages in Naya Nuki: Shoshoni Girl Who Ran, so students read about 11 pages a day.

Choosing Between Book Pack Levels

In general, we would say err on the side of choosing that which is easier if between two levels.  The DITHOR Teacher’s Guide and Student Books will add challenge; we don’t want the books to be at a challenge level, but rather at a level that the student can read fairly well on his/her own.

Choosing Which Genre Your Student Will Read First

Heart of Dakota lists the reading levels for each book on its website, in its catalog, and on its Optional Book Recommendations paper sent with your order. Genres can be done in any order, so starting with the easiest reading level for a struggling reader makes good sense. Starting with whichever genre or book your student is most excited about for a strong, yet dispassionate reader makes good sense.  If you have an average reader who enjoys reading, starting with the first genre (or any genre) makes good sense. Keep in mind the range of reading levels is intentional – not too big, not too small. Students’ reading and comprehension will gradually improve throughout the year. The range of reading levels Carrie carefully picked accommodates for that growth.

Choosing Which Level of DITHOR Student Book to Use

As far as the DITHOR Student Books, the 2/3 Student Book includes assignments every 2 to 3 out of 5 days, has less writing, and gives students a good foundation in genre study and in story elements.  The 4/5 Student Book includes assignments every 3-4 out of 5 days, has more writing, and is assuming students have had some formal literature study of the genres and the story elements, building upon this foundation.

In general, 2nd and 3rd grade students need to do the 2/3 Student Book.  Fourth grade students who have not had formal literature study of the genres and story elements or who are not accustomed to writing more do one year in the 2/3 Student Book and move to the 4/5 Student Book in fifth grade.  Fourth grade students who have had formal literature study of the genres and story elements and who are able to write more place in the 4/5 Student Book.  Reading levels of book packs do not need to match Student Book levels.  So, for example, a student who is an avid reader who does not write as well or who has not had formal literature study may use the 4/5 Boy or Girl Book Pack with the 2/3 Student Book.

In Closing

I hope this helps you with choosing which level of book pack and which level of student book you’d like to use with your younger student(s). If I look at a book inside and outside, know the total number of pages in the book, and know how many pages my student would need to read each day, I can usually choose what level is best for each of my sons. I hope you find the same to be true for you and find this to be an encouragement!

In Christ,

Julie

Project Management Skills are a natural part of DITHOR projects!

From Our House to Yours

How DITHOR Teaches Project Management Skills

Wyatt, my oldest son, is now a junior in college earning a Business Finance degree. Riley, my middle son, is now a senior in high school finishing out his Heart of Dakota USII guide. We’ve been looking at various college majors for Riley, and Business Project Management is one he is considering. Ironically, we are also in the middle of one of our Drawn into the Heart of Reading (DITHOR) projects with my youngest son, Emmett. His project is a radio drama for his mystery book Caught in the Act. Though Riley is in high school, he and Emmett still enjoy doing DITHOR projects together from time to time. As I’ve watched the 5-day project unfold, I’ve been amazed at how many skills the boys are using that match basic project management skills!

DITHOR’s Project Management Skills

DITHOR’s genre group projects include many Project Management Skills.  For Riley and Emmett’s Radio Drama, they began by choosing one short, exciting scene from the book Caught in the Act. Then, they created plans using DITHOR’s Radio Drama Planning Sheet. These plans had a deadline of five days. Each day included short-term plans with target goals to be met. The boys delegated tasks on the project, deciding who would introduce the drama, who would be the broadcaster, who would play each character. They also decided who would choose the sound effects and clips. Much planning went into the radio drama before it ever even began!

Project Management Skills in the Making of the Radio Drama

As the boys put together their plans for their radio drama, they called upon many project management skills. They identified their initial plans included multiple radio drama segments that could prove to be a liability. Realizing a project of this scope and sequence had the potential risk of them exceeding their five-day deadline, they shortened their radio drama to one scene as this better fit their project scope and goals. Each agreed to practice for a time each day.

First, they practiced using just their photocopied parts of the scene. Then, they chose appropriate sound effects and where to and when to include them. They used their afternoon “playtime” together as a point of contact to ensure they were both on point. Each day, they communicated to me (their executive) their progress. As the five days were coming to an end, they decided to alter their voices based on their characters. They also decided to practice where they were going to perform the radio drama, basing this decision on acoustics and on where they could pile their sound effect things. The best place for this was our basement. Riley was the point of contact, and Emmett was the motivator. They made a great team!

Performing the Radio Drama

Riley and Emmett had to adjust their schedule for the radio drama, as I was not available the time we had initially planned. Before giving the radio drama, they recorded the first part of it on a phone to do a sound check and perform quality control on their radio drama. They wanted to be sure to maintain the standards their executive expected, as I told them I’d like to share their recording with all of you lovely ladies here! I totally enjoyed listening to their radio drama. I hope you do too, and I also hope you enjoy all of the project management skills being taught through DITHOR’s projects!

Click on the arrow below to listen to the Radio Drama (it is about 2 1/2 minutes long):

In Christ,
Julie

Don’t overthink Drawn into the Heart of Reading

Teaching Tip: 

Don’t overthink Drawn into the Heart of Reading.

In getting started with Drawn into the Heart of Reading, I would encourage you NOT to overthink it. Instead, I would boil down starting DITHR to the following quick, easy steps.

Try these easy steps for a successful experience with Drawn into the Heart of Reading!

1. Choose which genre to do first with your child. Typically this should be a type of literature your child likes/loves to read. This will encourage a good start!

2. Open up your Student Book to that genre.  Decide how many books your child will read for that genre. To keep it simple, start with the fewest amount of books feasible. Often this is 1 or 2 short books at the younger reading level and 1 book at the upper reading level. Keep the readings short.

3. Fill in the calendar with the pages to be read each day. The calendar is in the Student Book behind the genre description sheet.

4. Choose one simple kick-off idea from the first day of plans for that genre. Keep it simple, so it goes quickly. Later, once you’re comfortable with DITHR, you can choose to do a kick-off up big. For now, keep it short and sweet.

5. Begin the next day. Then, just do a day of plans each day. If your child bogs down in the writing, write for him/her. Or, write part of the page and have your child just copy one sentence from a markerboard. The focus is on the reading and discussing, not the writing.

6. When you get to the project at the end of the unit, give your child a day off from DITHR.  Use that day off to pick a project from the 3 project options right during your normal DITHR time.

7. When working on the project, do not let the time go too long each day. Just cut the project off each day in tiny bite-sized pieces. If the project goes over 5 days, wrap it up.

8. When you get to the start of the next genre, give your child another day off from DITHR.  Then, do steps 1 – 4 above right during the school day during your normal DITHR time. This way, there is no prep. or planning in the evening.

See if these simple steps help you start Drawn into the Heart of Reading successfully!

What are you waiting for? Follow the steps above and get started on DITHR today!  Many of my boys favorite books, projects, and discussions came from our time in DITHR.  So, get started today!

Happy reading!
Carrie

PS: Interested in Drawn into the Heart of Reading? You might like this blog post by Julie too!

Drawn into the Heart of Reading: A Multi-Level Reading Program That Works with Any Books