Heart of Dakota - Drawn into the Heart of Reading

Friday, March 1, 2013

Lately, I've seen a lot of questions on the boards about HOD's Drawn Into the Heart of Reading (DITHOR), so I thought I'd try to document how we used it as written for one genre. We started out the year with it, but I found that I hadn't really done enough work to figure out how the program works. We continued to read the DITHOR book packs, and discussed the books, but had dropped working through the program. When we moved, it fell by the wayside, but I wanted to pick it back up.

DITHOR is HOD's literature program. It works through 9 genres of literature:
  • Biography
  • Historical Fiction
  • Mystery
  • Nonfiction
  • Realistic Fiction
  • Adventure
  • Fantasy
  • Folk Tale
  • Humor
We were just about to hit the Folk Tale genre when I starting hearing chatter on the HOD Facebook pages about this program, and it got me thinking I better pick it back up and take another look.
 Silas is reading the level 2 readers, and I chose to have him read In Grandma's Attic. Aedan's Folk Tale selection was Buffalo Bill.

 For each new genre there is a genre "kickoff." First I explained what a folk tale was. Silas' book is more of a collection of fables, while Aedan's was a legend.

 One of the suggestions was to choose different types of folk tales to read to your kids. I picked up some trickster tales, porquoi tales, and read a few fairy tales and legends to the kids. They really enjoyed these books. They always think Anansi is so funny :)

 There are quite a few ideas for how to kickoff your genre.

 For our kickoff activity we chose to perform a dramatization of the folk tale Anansi and the Talking Melon. My kids love acting things out. They missed the part about why the king was so upset at the talking melon. My boys forgot that the talking melon kept insulting everyone, but they still had a lot of fun.

 I had the binding of their student workbooks cut off, and 3 hole punched.

 This was one of the day's sheets for Aedan. The level 4/5 student book has more sheets per genre, but they are easy to complete.

 Here is one of Silas' pages for the level 2/3 book. DITHOR is written for 15 days of reading, and 5 days for completing a book project.

 We didn't buy the book project books at first. I didn't know if they'd be worth it. I had read that some people really enjoyed them, so I thought I'd give them a shot. We just got them this week. Some folks don't like projects, but my kids love them. I thought it was worth checking these out. DITHOR gives you a full 5 days to complete a project. We got our books late this week, and completed ours in one day.

 We chose to do a character mobile. We got these books late in the week, so I decided to let them both do a project out of Silas' book. They loved making these :)

 The boys played all afternoon with their characters. I could here them acting out stories in their room with these paper people. They kept them in character too, so it was fun to hear :)

 Each genre focuses on a Godly Character trait. In Folk Tales we focused on Virtue. I found these printable on the HOD yahoo group.

 I also found these godly character trait bookmarks. I made one for each of us because we are often referring to a these traits in our lessons.

I thought it was pretty easy to work through the activities. One criticism I've read about DITHOR is that often the activities don't work well with the book your child is reading. I did find that to be true when we read Concord Cunningham Scripture Sleuth. Because each chapter had its own mystery, they workbook just didn't work that time. The books we chose to work through this time lined up nicely. We're going to try to go through our next genre as DITHOR as well. I'll let you know if I still like it after that :) I'm still figuring out myself, but am happy to answer any questions you have.


  1. Thank you! We will be using DITHOR with our rising 6th grader (in the fall)...so I appreciated the detailed look into using the book.

  2. Great post! Weve now used DITHOR on and off for several years. Every time i think i want something new, i end up right back in DITHOR. It really is a great and easy to implement program! I have to take a second look at the projects book now. Love your pictures! Looks like you all did a fabulous job!! We are doing folk tale now as well....kids are loving their books. McBroom's One Acre Farm and The Shining Sword. HOD has the BEST book packs!!

  3. We have had a lot of success just going ahead and going with HOD book pack choices. The kids have loved so many of them. We'll read The Shining Sword next year. I bought McBroom's One Acre Farm, but messed up and had him read it earlier in the year. Aw well. We didn't start with HOD, so I like reading some of the ones that came with Beyond and before that we missed :)

  4. Do you remember where on the HOD yahoo group you found the Godly character traits printables? I can't seem to find them under the BHFHG folder. Thanks.

  5. I think they were in the DITHOR file :)

  6. We started the year with BJU Press reading which I feel is very strong but migrated after Christmas to DITHOR. My son now wants to stick with DITHOR because he loves the books that go along with the program. I need to be organized to make this work and have read the books which will take discipline and time on my part. Are you still using DITHOR? I think if used in conjunction with the HOD guides I will cover as much as BJU press does ( poetry, vocabulary,) Just looking for any update you have in your DITHOR journey. Thanks :)

  7. I will still be using Dithor for Aedan next year unless Brave Writer comes out with their program for his age. Silas will be using Brave Writer. I do still like DITHOR, but we follow it very loosely. I love the books. We failed to do as many projects as we did the first year. Instead of scheduling it 3 days a week, I scheduled it 5, so we could take a full week off to do a project or just plain take a break. I haven't completely decide for sure what I'll do.

  8. Your blog and insights are invaluable, thank you!

    I was wondering if you could tell me where I could get some of the printables you discuss finding at HOD yahoo groups forums. I can only seem to locate one. Could you direct me to a link.

  9. Which files are you looking for? I could send them to you if you send your email. There's a contact me in the about tab :)

  10. I just found the bookmark files on the Facebook "Heart of Dakota: DITHOR" page.

    Vicki C. in SW. MO.


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