“Hall of Doors: The Dragon’s Hoard” by Rebecca Gilleland (one of the publishing founders and home school mom, herself) which is published by Progeny Press was one of the first fantasy type stories I have read to my boys. Of course they LOVED it…dragons, spiders, battles…that all adds up to fun in the eyes of 7 and 9 year old boys. They quickly figured out that the children in this “Hall of Doors” series had entered a land very much like Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” even though we have not read that book yet, they have heard about the film version from quite a few of their friends. I had simply chosen this book to review for the Schoolhouse Review Crew because we are studying history for the Middle Ages and dragons seemed a good fit! It also came with a study guide, Hall of Doors: The Dragon’s Hoard Study Guide, which is available as an instant download for just $15.99. “Hall of Doors: The Dragon’s Hoard” in the paperback version, as I received, can be purchased for $6.99. Now I have seen their desire to read more fantasy type books awakened (their older sisters did not really enjoy fantasy and I am not much of a fantasy reader).
I was able to let my 9 year old son read this story aloud to us as it is recommended for elementary grades 2-4 and it had large print, 7 chapters and 62 pages. After he read to us, we would grab our study guide (I had printed out a hard copy and the original downloaded study guide was interactive and we could just type answers in to the pdf of the Hall of Doors: The Dragon’s Hoard Study Guide which began with a synopsis of the book (which we read before hand and did the pre-reading activities, which helped set the stage for the story), a bit of information about the author, suggested reading sections for the day and activities to enhance analysis of the story with comprehension and application questions and vocabulary activities and a suggested amount of reading for that day. The study guide suggested 2 chapters a day, but we took it a little slower and only did one chapter at a time. The study guide provided all the answers to the questions, as well.
So, some days we might have had a crossword puzzle, a writing prompt, a question regarding the theme of what we had read that day and even a cooking or craft project! The study guide gave a wide variety of activities to reinforce the day’s reading. Most of all, I appreciated the Biblical applications the study guide offered, especially at the end of the story as “The King they already know” is referred to. Overall, the quality of the study guide was amzing and offered much more than I had even anticipated. We ended our study with a re-enactment in the form of a “Reader’s Theater” as an oral narrative and dragon drawings to go along with our wrap up of the story (both of my boys are really into drawing right now). Below is the lovely Lego Dragon they used to re-enact the story!
My boys loved the adventures of a brother and sister, Kennan and Beth, who discover a small door in their barn on a rainy day which transports them to an awaiting adventure filled with mystery, a pony and elf, battles, imaginative talking creatures (such as Gorlob the frightening gigantic spider) and the quest to find their way back home through the door. One of my sons gets nightmares, so there was a point at which I asked them if the story was too scary for them, they assured me in very determined voices that it was definitely not TOO scary for them.
Progeny Press presents classic literature with a Christian worldview and they have over 100 titles of classic literature and accompanying study guides for you to choose from. I look forward to choosing the next book we will enjoy and encourage you to visit their site, as they have books for all grades, kindergarten through 12.
~Here’s to Classic Literature with a Christian Worldview~