My own Five in a Row+ methods part 1…

Five in a Row, such a fun and fantastic idea, and so very flexible, I love this concept.  I have used FIAR for many different ages, and for loads of books.  Best of all co-ops and personal homeschool alike, all benefit from the concept, and I want to show you all how to do it yourself.

Say, for example, you have a book you love, your kids love, or you would like to love and introduce your kids to, well here’s how you can do it, and incorporate all of your age ranges, learning types, and subjects, all in one fun and creative format.  Seems like a lot, but, with a bit of practice, you can turn nearly any book into a FIAR champ, and give your kids a love of reading and fanciful literature, all in under an hour a day(tops)!

I will give this caveat, this only works for good, literature, “dumbed down” books, first reader, or just plain “milk toast weak” books will not do, so go get on your big girl panties, put down your Biscuit and Dick and Jane, and we shall begin:-)

To show how this works I chose, Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain, by Verna Aardema, illustrated by Beatriz Vidal.

I love this story, and the illustrations, my kids loved the story too, and with this we have the chance to explore art, poetry, rhythm and meter, African savanna animals, traditional myths, archery, weather patterns, droughts, rain and floods, imagery in language, as well as African music and instruments, rain sticks as a craft,  etc, you get the picture.  Really, you only choose 5 topics, and explore them, one each day, but the choices are huge and endless, you can go further and do more topics, but then it becomes more like Ten in a Row, and that is another post:-)


I have linked this to the Homeschool mother’s journal link-up, go see what else is going on there!


Day One:

So, for this book I chose to explore more about typical savanna animals, as they are beautifully painted throughout the book, so here we pull out our animal atlas(reading and glossary use), and creat some simple index cards of them(here is a good idea of what you can do, print or create your own, then print and color pic for animal, easy peasy!).  The cards reinforce writing, research of the animal, and basic scientific knowledge of the animal on the card.  These will be used for a matching game too, just put a picture of the animal on 1 card, and info about it on another, then lay them out, voila you have animal memory match.  For younger kids this can be done easily by having older siblings read, and write the info the littles find interesting, or by printing it out for cutting and glueing to cards.  Same basic ideas and knowledge, bonus is you can revisit the cards as they get older and add to them.



Day Two:

Read the book again, then begin.  The poetry of the book is really fantastic, lyrical and with a driving meter, it really makes getting poetry into a child easy.  So, for fun we will take the pictures, and create some poems of our own, paying attention to word combinations that start the same(alliterative), or match up(rhyme).

Here it is important to help the child feel the beat of the words, clapping out the syllables can help, so re-read a passage, and help the child to feel how the words create a beat, then help them to create their own beat with their own words, no matter how silly.  Show them where these same beats can be found in common songs, like “it’s raining it’s pouring, the old man is snoring” or “Ring around the Rosie”.

End by reading a few short poems, chosen for their funny content, word use, imagery or impossibility to get through without tangling your tongue, this will keep your kids in stitches for days after:-)!!

Good choices are:

Tumble Me Tumbily by Karen Baicker.  This book is poetry of a day in three parts, sweet and beautiful.  This particular book holds a place in our hearts as it went with us to Ethiopia in our albums to Sparkles and Little Man before we travelled, and also flew there with us, to be read on our first days together, much loved and lyrical.

The Adventures of Isabel by Ogden Nash.  If you have 7-12 year olds this will be a hit, a bit gruesome and gross, but not gory, all good fun.  The rhyming and meter in this one are great, and quite memorable, your kids will get a kick out of a “not sappy or sweet” poem, maybe enough to try their own hand at an adventure ode;-)

The Children’s hour By Longfellow, I love the imagery of this, the sweet verses, and I do have my “little banditi” fast in my fortress, and they will live forever in the “round tower of my heart”.  Such a great classic poem, much loved by many generations of parents, fathers most especially:-)

Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost.  Quite simply a classic, much quoted and beloved by many, a staple that every child and adult should be familiar with.  It has such a serene feeling, it really paints the picture for you, achieving the desired poetic effect by quietly stealing into your imagination, serene.



Little kids as well as older ones can easily make up rhymes on the spot, so let them all have a shot at making up good ones, and listen to classics too.

Stay tuned for the last half of the week, where crafts, science, math, geography and art all get a turn, in My Five In a Row+ found here.


1 comment for “My own Five in a Row+ methods part 1…

  1. 1 February, 2013 at 9:19 am

    So fun! We’ve never done FIAR but have adapted the idea before too. My younger boys especially do well with this format because they are all so close in age (4 boys age 1-5). They are at the age where repeating a book every day is what they naturally want anyway and we keep each day’s ‘lesson’ short.

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