I have always heard amazing things about the Five In a Row (FIAR) books, but I never had the opportunity to try them out with Aikman. When I found out that FIAR was offering their Before Five In a Row book/curriculum as a review item, I jumped at the opportunity to see how their system worked, and how it would work for our family, even though it was below his age level.
Five In a Row publications offers one Before FIAR volume (ages 2-4); four FIAR volumes (ages 4-8); three Beyond FIAR volumes (ages 8-12); and one Above and Beyond FIAR volume (ages 12+). Specifically for Before Five In A Row, their website states, “Dedicated to protecting and nurturing the early years of childhood; BFIAR opens up the world of learning through great books and creative play, and builds a solid foundation for more formal education to come.”
Upon receiving the book, I was surprised to find that the BFIAR book was MUCH more than just activities to do with each classic children’s book. Instead, the book is divided into two sections – the stories and activities that I was aware of, as well as a section section entitled Parent’s Treasury of Creative Ideas for Learning Readiness.
Of the 23 stories used in BFIAR, one of our favorites is Corduroy. I chose to use this book to base several of Aikman’s works for the week. Within the book, the activities that are given for Corduroy include Bible, manners, habitats, animals, science, saving money, art, games, counting, creative thinking, and literature connections. After reading the story several times, we would choose an aspect of Corduroy to discuss, using the BFIAR book as the sounding board for ideas. Since we have been recently working on some practical life skills of grace and courtesy, the lessons on manners were a perfect complement to our curriculum. We discussed the little girl’s manners in the book, and how he had (or in some cases, had NOT) used the same type of courtesy to others. We also discussed what it meant to be respectful and how to be respectful to others.
Likewise, the BFIAR book mentions the use of a button game, as a supplemental activity. We did not play the button game that was mentioned, but we did go on a button hunt throughout the house. As a complement to Corduroy, I think a button sorting tray or any button ideas would work well as shelf work. (I especially like the button turkey, and can only imagine someone making a felt Corduroy with little buttons to practice buttoning his overall back on… IF only I were so crafty!) Likewise, demonstrating sewing lessons with the child might also be another extension to the included activities.
One of the aspects of the book that I really liked is that it was easy to read and follow. The ideas are short and to the point, and are merely ideas for leading discussions (whew, I don’t have to think about ideas to pull out of this children’s book; it’s already been compiled for me!). I also love the ideas in the second half of the book, that involve activities for reading readiness, fine and gross motor skills, and age appropriate toys. If you have a child that is just now 2 or 3, this book is invaluable for coming up with ideas and literature connections with small children.
Before Five In A Row by Jane Claire Lambert can be purchased through Rainbow Resource for $35. Likewise, if you are seeking a copy of some the children’s books used for this study, they can also be found at Rainbow Resource. If you would like to read what other TOS Crew Members have to say about this book, click here.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Before Five In A Row, in return for an honest review of their product, whether good or bad. I was not otherwise compensated for this review.