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Topic: Five in a row - your thoughts please

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Subject: Five in a row - your thoughts please
Date Posted: 4/15/2008 9:14 AM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2007
Posts: 1
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We are in the process of looking at changing curriculum for next year and am curious to see if anyone can offer any input into the five in a row program - my son is going to be starting 2nd Grade - I certainly would appreciate your thoughts.



Date Posted: 4/15/2008 9:26 AM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2006
Posts: 2,157
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It will depend on your son's skill levels, but Five-in-a-Row might be a little young for him in second grade.  You will certainly need to supplement for math (and maybe other topics depending on your interests.)  That being said, the books are wonderful and very fun to read.

Date Posted: 4/15/2008 4:36 PM ET
Member Since: 11/26/2006
Posts: 6
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I used Five In A Row with my children kindergarten-2nd grade.  The later volumes are a little more advanced than the earlier ones so if you were concerned about how rigorous the curriculum was, you could use volumes 3 and 4.  I would add math and handwriting and lots of library books (as guided by the books that you are "rowing." )   My kids are older now and I really miss curling up with a book with them and letting our curiousity, imaginations, and interests take us on our schooling adventures.  There is plenty of time for textbooks and schedules when your son is older.  Five in A Row is a great way to learn, but also to have fun together and love school at the same time!

Date Posted: 4/17/2008 10:51 PM ET
Member Since: 10/9/2006
Posts: 88
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When I discovered FIAR, my older child was already past the proper age. In fact, the younger one was, too!  I loved the idea so much that I proceded to work through the books with the younger one anyway.    He loved curling up every day, then showing off his newfound insights.  Usually the older one ceased actual work to come over for the reading time as well.  As a family, we had already read many of the books, but we learned so much more using the topics in the guides.

Even if it is not your main curriculum, consider it for the pleasure this time together will bring.


Date Posted: 4/18/2008 8:25 AM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2005
Posts: 438
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I would recommend trying a sample lesson before committing.  Is that possible?  I don't know if you have access to the book already through library or a friend or if there are samples online.  I love the concept of 5 in a Row and I rowed some books with my younger kids last school year.  I had a 1st grader and K-4.  (I even tried Before 5-in-a-row when my oldest was 3)  But I could not get enthusiastic about the activities in the guide.  I know there are tons and tons of 5-in-a-row fans out there so I may be the only one. lol!  I thought the activities were too difficult for my kids, over their heads,  or just not interesting or contrived.  But that's just me.  So I say, try it for yourself.  Row a book this summer and see what you think.

When I did my own version of 5-in-a-row last year I came up with my own activities.  We did read the book 5 days in a row and my kids loved, loved, loved that.  Then I came up with my own activities.  I can't remember the exact order.  I think the first day I would have them predict what would happen next.  The 2nd day we discussed the illustrations as we went.  I think the 3rd day I would ask them a list type of question.  For Lentil, I had them tell me all the places Lentil passed on his way to school.  One day we focused on one vocabulary word and talked about that.  I tried to come up with a hands-on craft and a coloring page.  If there was geography to be discussed we would work that in and my kids very, very, very favorite part was on the last day we would cook something or eat something that tied in to the book somehow.  There were a couple of books that we had to be very creative because they just didn't lend themselves to food.  I would have skipped it but by that time the pattern was pretty well set and my kids wouldn't let me miss snack time so we thought of something. lol!!  Oh something else we did typically on the last day was have my emerging reader read every other page with me.  This really helped launch his reading because he'd heard the story for 4 days and basically knew how it went.  He could tackle bigger words than he normally could have and this just boosted his confidence and enjoyment of reading.    We also kept a notebook with our lists and vocabulary and coloring pages and whatnot. 

Obviously the way I did it was not a "full" curriculum.  I don't know if 5-in-a-row markets itself that way but it was language arts for us.  Of course my 1st grader did phonics and handwriting separately but this was our reading component and it was lots and lots of fun.  I'm not a big "full" curriculum proponent for the younger grades anyway.   We are all about reading, writing and 'rithmetic.  At out house, science and history  wait til later...though you can certainly row books that would lend themselves to science/history type projects.  I've never rowed a non-fiction book though.  I wonder what that would be like hmmm.... Next year would be a good year for rowing.  I'll once again have a 1st grader and K-4.

Date Posted: 4/19/2008 7:32 AM ET
Member Since: 11/16/2006
Posts: 76
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I am one of those FIAR fans! We have used it for 5+ years, moving through Volumes 1-4 and then into Beyond. FIAR is not intended to be a complete curriculum, you will still need to add in math and language arts. But it is the most gentle, fun, memory making format I've come across. Volumes 1-3 are intended to be used with children 4-8 (although even my 10yo likes to pull the books out now and then and re-row). Volume 4 is for ages 7-8. It is beefer, more lesson choices, more in depth. The books are all wonderful, and you will find most titles on PBS. There is a FIAR Forum with many helpful, knowledgeable gals. http://www.fiarhq.com/~gbprnhrz/forum/index.php 

If your son likes picture books, likes being read to, and enjoys learning in a warm, conversational style, then I would definitely try out FIAR. :-)

Subject: Loved FIAR
Date Posted: 4/19/2008 10:03 PM ET
Member Since: 1/1/2006
Posts: 91
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We loved FIAR and my children occasionally ask if we can read "an old friend"....we all have such warm memories of mornings cuddled on the double lounge chair reading and then doing activities throughout the week.

Enjoy learning while you can!

I will never part with my FIAR books nor my manuals....grandkids are a long way off but I can wait :)