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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Product Review: God's World News

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My kids love receiving catalogs and magazines in the mail. A frequent topic of conversation around here is when and if the mail will come. My boys get a lot of items in the post, but poor Margie only receives something once in a while. I was so excited when God's World News offered me the chance to review a magazine publication suited to Margaret's age level, especially an educational publication that we could tie into our school work.
God's World News is a monthly publication that offers kids the chance to learn about the world around them from a Christian perspective. Available in six different levels (Pre-K through high school), articles in the magazine can include anything from current events, to science, to religion. As part of the review, I received a free year-long (10 months) subscription to Early Edition.
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Early Edition is intended for first and second graders and is priced at $28.00 for a yearly subscription. The issues include articles with large full color photos and small paragraphs of text. Articles are short in length; sometimes only half a page, sometimes a two page spread. There is usually smaller text at the bottom of the article for additional information. A bible verse relevant to the articles content is sometimes included.

Included in your subscription is access to the on-line world of God's World News: a website devoted entirely to kids learning about God's events in a safe and user friendly environment (login and account info required for access). In addition to viewing the articles and curriculum suggestions from the magazine, your young explorers will be able to view more articles, more photos and even more fun activities. Areas of interest are organized into sections such as science, religion, history, etc., making it even easier for your young learner to explore the wonders around them. Quizzes and other suggestions are offered to reinforce and further the learning.
I really like that a world map was included with my first shipment. The articles have information from all over the world and it was fun to check out the map after each reading and show Margaret where the article is taking place in relation to where we are. As she is a young first grader, her maps skills are basically zero. But at this age exposure is what is best.
. I was a little disappointed that the Early Edition seemed to have such little expectations for grades 1 and 2 reading level and attention span. Sometimes an article would only be three sentences. The large print made it easy to read, for sure, but overall it acted more like a television commercial. A little flash and then we're moving on to the next topic. This wasn't always true, as some articles (especially the cover article) were longer in length, but the magazine still covered such a vast array of topics under the umbrella of God's wonderful world that it was hard to focus on a single topic. We have very high reading expectations for all of our children and even Malcolm (age 2) can sit through a longer book about a single subject. I guess at this age level I would have liked it to have focused on a fewer number of topics while giving more content area and photos of a single subject matter. Having access to the on-line portion helped with this, but as many of my readers may remember, I like to keep my little ones off the computer as much as possible, and prefer tangible physical items for their education.
Having intended to use this as part of Margaret's school work, I tried to tie it in as much as possible with her school day. When the magazine first arrived I would encourage her to look through it on her own saying she got her own special mail. Then, during reading time (a time we usually devote to reading a short chapter or longer picture book) we would read through articles that Margaret found interesting (based on the pictures). This would normally take us 15 minutes. As Margaret is a very early reader I would have her read words I pointed to or find words I knew she could read. We would usually have Malcolm with us as well, shouting out things like "Blue!" and "Neigh!"
I really liked the story about the Princess and her baby (September 2013) and wish there was more like that.
The 24 page monthly Early Edition subscription can be purchased on the website as a school year subscription or a full year subscription. In addition to the magazine, a subscription allows access to a Children's Website as well as a weekly email newsletter. As mentioned above, God's World News comes in a variety of age appropriate levels and I encourage you to explore the website to see which level would best suit your own children.  
Many other reviewers over at The Schoolhouse Review Crew got to take a look at God's World News. Click here to read those reviews, or click the banner below.
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