Reading, reading, reading. Who likes to read snippets or passages of a story, not I. I prefer a much more wholesome approach to reading with my children. Nothing like picking a great book to read and analyze together. It doesn't matter if it's a book picked by your child or a required reading. Nothing replaces actually taking the time to really understand the characters and the message the book intended to convey. This philosophy is what allows us to enjoy literature reviews.
Literature reviews contain activities that help the child critically think through a book. They introduce them to important vocabulary terms within the book and break down the parts of the story (characters, plot, setting...). They incorporate lessons of science, history, language arts, and math that can be learned from that book.
We recently completed units on Bud, not Buddy, by Christopher Curtis, and Island of the Blue Dolphin, by Scott O'Dell. The children picked those books out themselves. This weeks required reading is The Watsons go to Birmingham-1963, written by Christopher Curtis. This African-American fiction delves into the African-American family during the civil rights movement. I was even able to find several free resources online to help with this unit.
Reading guides, reading comprehension, and literature reviews: