Thursday, 5 May 2011

Five in a row

My Five in a Row package arrived this week.

Five in a Row (FIAR) is a curriculum based around picture books which are read each day for five days. The idea is that each day, after the reading, there is a lesson based on the book. Lessons cover "social studies"-history and geography, language, maths, art and science. The manuals are full of ideas for lessons. There are far, far more ideas than it would be possible to use in a week.

The books used are some of the best picture books I know about; from old favourites like "Peter Rabbit" to "How to make an apple pie". They are often award winning and have proven their value over time.

The manuals state that up to five, FIAR can be used alone but after this can be combined with phonics and maths. It is not a phonics programme.

FIAR is aimed at children aged 4 to 8. My initial thought was that this seemed rather old to be using picture books but having looked at the manuals, there is an impressive content which certainly isn't dumbed down. In addition, the picture books are definitely at the older end of the scale.

I'm using FIAR for Miss Belle aged 56 months and Mr Exhuberance aged 27 months. I suspect that Miss Belle is just old enough and Mr Exhuberance is a bit young. We are using the younger activities and adding a few of our own. There should be content for a time to come.

In addition to the books, there are ideas on the message board on the FIAR site and links to blogs with some wonderful ideas-here.

The downside
-not all the books are in print. We have made a decision to use the books that we have and that I have just brought and then buy those that are reasonable price. I'm not spending £50 for one book.

-there is so much to do and some of the ideas on blogs are so beautiful that it is a bit overwelming. I always had comments like "Presentation could be better" on my school reports and it has come back to haunt me!

Despite this, I plan to post on what we have done and I think that we will have fun with FIAR.
This week, we are "rowing" "Make way for the ducklings".


  1. I've been considering using Before Five in a Row next year, and I was just wondering if you had to order the Five in a Row manual from the US or if you found it somewhere here in the UK.

  2. I brought my copy second hand from the Deut6v7 list-the Christian home education e-mail list- but Conquest Books sell Five in a Row in the UK.

  3. Thanks, I'll check that out. By the way, I got my 5 Little Monkeys book in the US, but Amazon UK has it. It's perfect for 5-a-day, and I definitely recommend Dr. Seuss! :)

  4. Hi Sarah...thanks for stopping by my blog. I love taking other books and using the "FIAR" approach. If you aren't familiar, there are lots more books with units posted at All the units are FREE...we try to share ours when we have created them and other families do as well. Since you are in the UK, there might be books more accessable rather than some of the FIAR titles that are out of print. But I'm sure some of them are quite "American" too. Check it out and see what you think!