Monday, June 11, 2012

Pearson Homeschool 6th Grade Reading Street Program (a TOS review)



Great news homeschool mommies (and dads)…



Pearson Education, Inc is now offering curriculum options for us!  Their website is still under construction but you’ll find an abundance of resources there.



Because You Know What Matters Most



I am so honored and thrilled that we were given the opportunity to review Pearson’s 6th Grade Reading program. 



The Deets


  • 6th Grade Reading Street is a literature program that blends grammar, vocabulary, spelling and writing into one unique package.
  • The complete homeschool bundle retails for $124.99.
  • Complete bundle includes two student textbooks, Guide on the Side teacher’s manual, teacher’s resource dvd with all the printables needed and the exam view assessment suite.  I believe you can pick and choose if you’re not interested in the whole package.  Again…the website is still working out the kinks.  But you can always contact customer service for more complete answers. 
  • Other curriculum options include Social Studies and Math.
  • Ages (PreK – adult) vary by product selection.  Reading Street is geared for 1st–6th.




The Review


I tend to geek-out over the smell of new books.  And the Reading Street package will make any book lovin’ momma go a little geeky



:: smile ::



I immediately fell head over heels for the student textbooks.  The books are colorful, fun and filled with rich literature and lots of practical application. The first twenty some pages are dedicated to a Visual Skills Handbook.  Which is basically the student’s guide to understanding how to process literature.  Love!  Then there’s the letter to the reader from the authors.  Love even more!



Once you move through those sections you’re ready to dive into the meat of the program.



The 6th Grade textbooks are divided into 6 units.  Each unit is broken into 6 weeks of study plus an extra poetry unit.  The units explore history, family and friendship dynamics, social issues, science and many other topics.  



My guinea pig student has really really enjoyed the reading material.  He likes that there are built in discussion points to keep things interesting.  I find that eleven year olds are very into sharing their opinions.  ::wink::  I like it because much of his work now is independent – so it’s given me an opportunity to intentionally spend time with him.  It’s been sweet and interesting hearing him express his own thoughts.  Even if I like to tease him for just how many he has! 



Before I move into some of my bumps in the road, I want to emphasize that

 I love this program and would definitely recommend it!



That said, there were some bumps along the way.



The first bump was not having access to the online tools.  Which is not to say that the textbooks, teacher’s guide and printable disc resources aren’t enough to give a full, rich reading package!   It’s just that  every other page of the textbook tells the student to go online for fun games and videos.  It left us feeling like we were missing out on something really cool.   



The lesson plans were a bit of a nightmare to navigate.  And it took some creativity on my part to figure out how to make this work for us.  Reading Street is totally unlike any curriculum I’ve used to date.  Can you say learning curve?!  Added to that, not having a detailed do this on this day kinda plan just made it more complicated.  Most homeschool curriculums I choose have pre-made step by step lessons plans.  I crave that!  I need that!  That’s a huge piece in my decision making!  Especially because I tend to be eclectic in my choices.  When I’m piecing things together having a very specific and detailed game plan is of utmost importance!  If Pearson were to develop a more organized homeschool friendly lesson plan aka teacher’s manual – it would be perfect-o!



But as it were…I had to muddle through figuring out how to best use it in the context of my homeschool.



It didn’t me long to decide not to use most of the print outs.  I’d printed a week’s worth and learned the hard way that it was just too much.  Too much money spent on ink and paper.  Too much time required to get the printing done.  I’m lazy My time is precious and I would much rather just buy preprinted materials!  And then planning how to implement and use the worksheets.  Ugh.  Gave me fits, I tell you!  In fact, I’m not sure that I ever really wrapped my mind around what to do with them.



That said, I love the concept of a Reader’s & Writer’s Notebook!  Love it!  And I did use and will continue to use some of the printables from that section of the Teacher’s Resource DVD.



The lesson planning style I landed on was to manually page by page go through the book and choose what I wanted him to do daily.  I did this on a week by week basis.  I would then write out each day’s goals on an index card (which came in handy as a book mark).  Some days would include print outs.  Some reading.  I typically have him read for 20 minutes a day and then give me a book report at the end.  During this review, I still had him set the timer for 20 minutes but allowed him to do his worksheets during that time too.  There are also writing projects integrated into the Reading Street curriculum.  Let me add here, that we have struggled.  Positively struggled with finding a writing program that works.  Reading Street by far has been the best fit for a writing curriculum for us!  He’s enjoying it – which in turn is making my life a little easier! 



reading street and garden 002


For us, the grammar portion wasn’t working.  I had to nix that.



However, I love the weekly vocabulary building!  The Teacher’s Resource DVD has printout cards which are great for displaying in a schoolroom, if you have one.  Or using as flash cards. 


reading street and garden 001


I had him write his vocabulary in a small pocket notebook.  The next day he would find the definitions in the dictionary and write them below each vocab word.  It’s funny how little gimmicky things make kids happy.  He really likes his little mini-notebook.  Makes him feel like a detective. 



:: smile ::  



While I think there is room for some improvement tweaking in the area of homeschool friendliness, I gotta say that overall I really really like this program.  There are just so many goodies mixed in.  The writing integration being a biggie for us!  Once I hashed through the learning curve of how I wanted to use it, Reading Street has been working wonderfully for us!  If you’re not afraid of a little lesson planning elbow grease – I would recommend the Reading Street program for sure!






**This is my little space to disclaim that I was given the homeschool bundle of Pearson’s 6th Grade Reading Street in exchange for my honest review shared on my blog.  All opinions expressed are my honest own.  I hope that you enjoyed and found my review at least a little helpful.  To read what others on the TOS Crew thought about Pearson products click here.**


  1. We really like Reading Street Grade 6. My ds11 will be utilizing the curriculum next year.

    Great review and pics!

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. I'm so goofy - blogliments always make my day! Thank you!


  2. Fellow Crew Mate following. :)

  3. Thanks for reviewing our product and posting such great things. Feel free to follow us on our new Facebook account.

  4. I realize this is an old post, but I enjoyed it! We purchased Reading Street for a younger child this year, I have a degree in Elementary Education and almost a Master's degree in Special Education -- and I was still stumped with what to do with this program!! I do like it, LOVE the books for children. I looked thru the DVDs and found them full of 'stuff'. However, the best tools really are online.

    If one google's "reading street code", they may run across a pdf from a school district which lists the codes. Oh, this is the gem once you register. I am confused by it, but think I will love the online tools. There is an online teacher's manual, although the California version, but useful nonetheless. A teacher can set up all their lesson plans, I believe kids can take online tests, etc.

    Definitely a program I would use again (once I get it all figured out!)