Monday, April 8, 2013

Heart of Dakota - Drawn Into the Heart of Reading Review...

Riley Ann recently finished level 2/3 of Heart of Dakota's Drawn Into the Heart of Reading program.  This reading program is designed for students age 7-15 about 2nd through 8th grade.  We used it for 3rd grade. 


I loved the idea of exposing Riley to different genres of literature including biographies, historical fiction, mysteries, nonfiction, realistic fiction, adventure, fantasy, folk tale, and humor.   The program is designed to use with literature of your choice.  It was nice to be able to pick and adjust books to her level and interests.  For example, there were many books at Riley's "grade/reading level" that we/she read previously, so we went to the Heart of Dakota Book Shop and searched by genre and she was able to choose a different book that interested her.  They have boy and girl suggestions.  

The program incorporates Godly character traits into the study such as faith, fear of the Lord, responsibility, brotherly love, loyalty, virtue, obedience, joy, and integrity.   In philosophy, this sounds like a wonderful idea.  Though in reality, the character lessons were very repetitive and sometimes didn't necessarily apply to the book Riley was reading. (This is a pro and con.) 

The program teaches story elements such as character, setting, conflict, mood, prediction, compare/contrast, cause/effect, main idea/theme, and point of view.  There are pre-reading activities.  The program is designed to be used for teaching multiple students at different levels.   One instructor guide covers all the levels.  Each day, the lesson is broke down by level.  You could work through the program several times, doing different projects and reading different books each time, making Drawn Into the Heart of Reading very cost effective. 


We will not be continuing with Drawn Into the Heart of Reading.  Riley and I actually despised the contrived predictable lessons.  I am very eclectic and lean more Charlotte Mason.  The student workbooks are just that, workbooks, with fill in the blank worksheets that seemed repetitive for each genre.  The teacher manual is geared for classroom teaching suggesting the student work in groups or share their ideas with classmates.  This does not fit a homeschool setting and seemed unnatural to us. 

The writing may get to be a bit much for younger students if you use the student workbooks as intended.  However, you could always do the activities orally or just pick and choose some of the activities.  

This is our 6th year of homeschooling and the longer I do this, the more I see that I don't want to repeat school at home.  We love to read and I felt like the Drawn Into the Heart of Reading activities took the fun out of it.  RileyAnn is a great reader and loves to discuss what she's reading.  From now on, we will read and discuss or narrate.  I don't plan to use anymore prescribed reading curriculum.


  1. Thank you for your honest review! We used HOD for Kinder, and I had thought about eventually using DITHOR. I have to agree with you...I do not want to replicate public school at home. Carrie Austin, HOD author, is a wonderful person! But I think with her being a former PS teacher, this may be why you got the school-ish feel. That wouldn't work in our home...since I only have one child to school at home.

    God bless!

  2. You're welcome Shannon. I spoke with Mr. Austin on several occasions before using DITHOR and he was a very fine man. I pray my review doesn't detract from them in any way. The program just didn't work for us. Blessings to you, Melissa