Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Review: LitWits

Okay, another new product to share with ya'll today. This one is from LitWits and it is their LitWits Kits.

Designed for kids ages 8-12, the idea behind this product is very simple. Take a book. Read the book. And then use one of their LitWits Kits to help that book come alive for your child. 

Founders Becky and Jenny are sisters. They hold workshops in Santa Cruz, California. They have kids read (or listen) to the chosen story ahead of time and then spend three hours immersed in the book at the workshop. The workshops are designed for kids who love to read. In this way they get to spend even more time in their book. However, the workshops are also for kids who don't like to read: it's a chance to see a book really come to life.

The sisters took all of these workshops they do and put them into a "Kit" that you can purchase and use at home as you are reading and after you finish reading a particular book. 

I received four different "Kits" for this review product. The four I received were: 
Due to time constraints during the review period, we were only able to complete two of the books: Wonder and Tuck Everlasting

The story Wonder by R.J. Palacio is not a classic or vintage so Becky and Jenny haven't done a workshop on it yet. However, they put together a "Mini-kit" for this story. 

I had our six older students read (or listen) to Wonder. The Kit itself was intended for kids in grades 4-8, but little Abigail is in second grade and still did great with this LitWits Kit. The rest of the kiddos were in the recommended grades as you can see from the chart below:
  • Gabe (age 14) 8th grade
  • Ana (age 12) 7th grade
  • Isaac (age 11) 5th grade
  • Kari (age 11) 5th grade
  • Sidge (age 10) 5th grade
  • Abigail (age 8) 2nd grade
The "Mini-Kit" is approximately 30 pages long. We started with a suggested activity entitled "Face Changers." In this activity, I printed out the provided template of August's face and had the kids look through magazines to find word that connote good inner qualities. This is the template I used: 

We actually had a visiting friend that day who is in the third grade, and she jumped in and participated as well. Here were the results from the seven kiddos:

This student decided to try and use the magazines to actually make the face  LOOK like a face. 

This is a picture of the kids working on the assignment.
The next day we decided to try an activity called "Picturing Kindness." In this one, I printed out the "character quality" cards that were included in the packet. We went outside in the yard as it was a beautiful fall day, and I put all the cards in the grass. 

I had each kid pick a card up that represented someone else in our group. I was careful to make sure everyone got a turn and everyone was being affirmed. People would choose a card and say: "Isaac is encouraging because he ...." or they would say "Abigail you are generous when you ...." It was a really fun activity and you could tell that these kind words really built the other kids up.

After that, I passed out a card I had written to each of the seven kids where I had listed the words that I thought they regularly displayed. Here is an example of one of the cards I wrote. (I removed any identifying remarks from the card.) 

I told the kids to find somewhere private to read their cards and that while they could share them with their parents, they weren't to be shared with any other kids in the group.

We also completed a worksheet and had time to talk about "The Narrative Arc" while using the packet. 

We actually worked our way through the whole packet so there is more I could share, but for sake of time, I'll cut it short. But let me tell you. This product only costs $9. I can tell you that it is totally worth your money. No trying to find a ton of things online and piecing together your own Kit. Instead, you can simply read the book and everything is right at your fingertips. 

Tuck Everlasting
The next Kit I did was Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt. This is a very short read which meant it was perfect for the review period I had. Written by Natalie Babbitt, we read the book and after we had worked through the Kit, I let the kids watch the movie. 

They did NOT like the movie. I find this an important aspect to mention. I think that when a book is read and studied properly, most movies pale in comparison. This was definitely true for this book. Across the board the kids had complaints about the movie. 

The LitWits Kit for Tuck Everlasting was not a "Mini-Kit" like the one for the book Wonder. For this reason the cost is slightly higher ($18). However, rest-assured, again, the price is completely appropriate. Again, no scouring the Internet to find what you need. It's all right there. 

One of the suggestions which I really loved was the following at the start of the Kit:

We love sharing all the fun we've had, but please don't let our abundance of ideas bog you down. Just take what you need, and change it to suit your goals. 

I love this reminder!

The online Kit is set up as follows:
  • Welcome
  • Overview 
  • Prop Ideas
  • Hands-On Fun
  • The Tree of Life
  • Producing Characters
  • Active Adjectives
  • A Good Supper
  • Takeaways
  • Endless Cycles
  • Dilemmas
  • Worksheets (includes Narrative Arc, Setting, Creative Writing, and Vocabulary). Here are two of the worksheets completed in our homeschool classroom: 

  • Learning Links
  • Great Quotes
I could go on and on reviewing this product. I loved it so, and I can guarantee you that as this review closes, I will be moving on to the other two books we haven't done the Kit on: 
  • All Creatures Great and Small
  • The Birchbark House
I spent time looking at the LitWit Kit for these two books and they are as equally exciting as the two we have already completed! Take the time to visit LitWits and spend some time time perusing their 40+ titles! You won't be disappointed. Seriously! These are so great. You could honestly do this for the entire year. Pick a book. Do a Kit on the book. Over and over again! Great literature and great activities to supplement it.

Also, I am doing a VIDEO REVIEW on this product. Stay tuned for it to be linked right below as well!

And also, click on the image below to read some reviews from my fellow reviewers at the Schoolhouse Review crew. 

LitWits Kits {LitWits Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer


1 comment:

Becky and Jenny from LITWITS said...

Wendy, dear LitWitter extraordinaire, are your ears burning? Did you hear us WHOOPING and HOLLERING over here in Santa Cruz as we watched your wonderful video review? THANK YOU -- not only for saying such encouraging things, but for really taking the time to explore and understand what we do and to provide such a rich experience for your kiddos. You really made our day, and we are basking in the joy of meeting another kindred spirit who GETS what we do and that you've expressed it so well. Thank you! We hope you enjoy your remaining LitWits Kits... and most of all, enjoy those beautiful kids while you have them. What you're doing is so important, for so many reasons. Blessings, Becky and Jenny

PS At the same moment your dogs misbehaved and knocked the camera, Jenny's dog leapt up from beneath the table and caused a ruckus of her own. See? Our canines are kindred spirits as well. :D We loved the pause (paws?) in the video, which gave us a chance to peruse your shelves and see that we also have farmlife, chickens, and taste in furniture hardware in common! :D