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Start building a language arts tradition in your family.

Great stories profoundly impact our lives. Reading them teaches us to observe and evaluate the real world, empowering us to make decisions regarding our own values and behavior. A great story may illustrate broad values and grand ideals, inspire us to embrace heroism, fight injustice, seek wisdom, love our neighbor, or simply encourage us to revel in nature’s beauty.

Blackbird & Company literature guides have been developed with the fundamental belief that the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual components of a great story are inseparable. Stimulating the heart, mind, and soul is essential to a full literary experience. Unfortunately, it is easy for the study of a piece of literature to overshadow the story itself. With this in mind, our goal is to lead the reader through each piece of literature in a way that plumbs it’s depths while keeping it’s intrinsic value intact. While there are many valid means of studying literature, our objective is threefold:

• teach readers how to accurately observe and evaluate what they read;
• encourage readers to communicate their ideas and responses to a story through the process of regular writing;
• help readers apply what they have gleaned to their life and world through reflection and discussion.

We invite you to browse our list of titles—a quality compilation of classic, contemporary and award-winning children’s literature. You’re sure to find many options that will engage and speak to the hearts of your K-8 students.

EARLYBIRD (Grades K-2):
Earlybird guides are designed for a range of younger students—to help them acquire the skills necessary to respond to a simple piece of literature. Each guide leads students through five different picture books grouped either in author or thematic units.

In each section, one read-aloud story is enjoyed while your child is taught to:
• observe and record simple character traits;
• learn and apply new vocabulary words;
• demonstrate comprehension;
• and respond to the story in a creative journal format.

For the final section of the unit, discussion questions are explored and culminating project options are provided which include opportunities for fun, hands-on activities. Visit our Flickr pool to see sample student projects.

Although fully customizable to your own personal schedule, Earlybird guides are designed to be completed in six weeks, which allows students to work through four to six units in a typical school year.

Author Units:
• Virginia Lee Burton
• Robert McCloskey
• Ezra Jack Keats
• Paul Galdone
• Leo Lionni

Thematic Units:
• Fall Stories
• Snow Stories

Click here to see a sample section from the Ezra Jack Keats Earlybird guide.

Guides: $12 each
Bundles: purchase the guide and all five books in the unit and save 10%

Our Level 1-3 guides present exercises in an integrated format that balances analysis with discovery. Designed for a range of readers, each guide is easily adapted by the teacher to suit individual student needs. Within a framework incorporating both freedom and structure, students will not only study a story, but become enmeshed in the experience.

Students are paced through their reading in four sections and provided exercises that challenge them to:
• observe and take notes on character traits, setting and plot;
• acquire and apply new vocabulary words;
• demonstrate comprehension;
• craft a thoughtful written response to their weekly reading;
• embrace and explore the story's depth through group discussion.

Section five consists of a list of culminating project options that serve to extend the meaning and impact of the story through hands-on, writing and research activities. Visit our Flickr pool to see sample student projects.

Although fully customizable to your own personal schedule, our guides have been designed to be completed in five weeks. This allows students to work through six to eight units in a typical school year.

Guides: $15 each
Bundles: purchase the guide and book together and save 10%

Level 1 (grades 1-3) includes:
• Tornado
• Flat Stanley
• Donavan’s Word Jar,
• The Matchlock Gun
• My Father’s Dragon
• A Mouse Called Wolf
• The Iron Giant
• Love That Dog (poetry)
• The Year of Miss Agnes
• The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Click here to see a sample section from the Iron Giant Level 1 guide.

Level 2 (grades 3-5) includes:
• The Family Under the Bridge
• Danny the Champion of the World
• Ben and Me
• Half Magic
• Because of Winn-Dixie
• The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet
• Homer Price
• Macaroni Boy
• The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs
• Perloo the Bold
• Farmer Boy
• From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Click here to see a sample section from The Family Under the Bridge Level 2 guide.

Level 3 (grades 5-8) includes:
• The Westing Game
• Pictures of Hollis Woods
• A Wrinkle in Time
• I Am David
• The Wanderer
• The Shakespeare Stealer
• Locomotion (poetry)
• The Thief Lord
• The Witch of Blackbird Pond
• The White Mountains
• Stowaway
• The Mozart Season
• Across Five Aprils,
• Eight Cousins

Click here to see a sample section from The Wanderer Level 3 guide.


two families

six children

twelve years of community learning

twenty years of innovative teaching

thirty years of friendship

a lifetime of discovery

A unique journey began as we embarked on the process of educating our own children. Believing that they were capable beyond baseline educational objectives, we strove to design archival materials that would elevate their response to great stories and encourage a passion for discovery.

Our desire quickly spread to sharing our ideas with a community of like-minded parents and teachers. As children began to delight in what had previously been dreaded, we were met with overwhelming encouragement to press into our dream.

Story is the heart and soul of education, so story is where we began. With beauty and clarity, we desire to put tools into the hands of readers that teach their hearts to mine for more by creating a literary tradition.

Great stories—whether written in prose, crafted in verse, sculpted in stone, or painted in oil—from the classic to the modern, are waiting open arms, to inspire imagination. We are committed to creating products that will encourage the exploration that leads to discovery.

This is the heart of Blackbird & Company.

Our semi-regular emails will help you stay connected and informed about new products and specials. Also participate in fun contests, and find helpful resources for you and your young readers! Subscribe on our home page.

Please contact us with any and all questions you might have about our literature guides or books.
Web site:
Phone: 1-800-421-7096

Take flight!

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