Readers in Residence–Sleuth

From: $73.00 / month for 8 months

Grades:  4th–7th

Live Class:  Wed 1:00–2:00 PM ET

Dates:  Aug 26, 2024–May 9, 2025

Prepaid:  $499

Instructor:  Kristen Roy

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Course Description

Program author Debra Bell’s life’s work has been teaching students how to give voice to their experiences and ideas through the written word, and how to understand the writer’s craft.

Based around Volume 1 of Bell’s Readers in Residence, Sleuth curriculum (with the religious content removed), this class will serve as a literature circle and guided study group for your students. As such, students become part of a community of readers, sharing quality literature and fun projects. This course provides the unique features of one-on-one instruction from a “Resident Language Artist”, offering professional writing/reading coach guidance, and facilitated group discussions. It will also provide an audience where students can share and celebrate their weekly work and unit projects, or wrestle with new or difficult concepts in a collaborative environment.

Led by a professional writer/editor as their writing coach/literature guide, this class provides students with a community setting for developing and practicing new comprehension skills, discussing literature, and utilizing expanded vocabulary learning in creative and interactive ways.

The course instructor provides guidance and classroom support in understanding the author’s craft and literary elements, and equips students to become analytical readers, critical thinkers, creative writers with rich vocabulary, and excellent peer reviewers. This class is geared toward middle-grade students who are able to write/read fluently with little struggle, and older novice or reluctant writers/readers. Its focus is on maturing students in both skill and confidence.

Course Structure

The objectives of this class are as follows:

  • Study six books in three genres of narrative fiction, with weekly group discussions.
  • Become an active, critical reader who studies the author’s choices and intentions in writing, through close analysis of the author’s craftsmanship in each select book.
  • Engage in class discussions around analytical reading assignments, alongside fun, interactive, and engaging skill builders.
  • Use fun, small-group activities to reinforce weekly learning, and to increase reading comprehension, as well as new vocabulary.
  • Recognize the overarching patterns of a story through character development, plot, and theme, while inspecting an author’s style and voice, and learning to read for inference, connotation, and figurative meaning.
  • To provide guidance and help students demonstrate their learning through fun-tastic unit projects and personal book reviews.
  • Share the joy of reading and discuss the same books with friends made all over the country.

Who should enroll?

  • Middle-grade students who are able to write/read fluently with little struggle
  • Older novice or reluctant writers/readers

Technology Requirements

  • High speed, broadband Internet
  • Sound card, microphone, and webcam (for live sessions)
  • Streaming video capabilities for viewing recorded lectures

Evaluation and Feedback

While students will not receive official letter grades for their assignments, I will provide instruction and guidance, as well as targeted feedback on each phase of all assignments. As your student’s literature guide, I’ll help students through the process of evaluation, utilizing the rubrics in each text. Emphasis on all assignments will be on developing the individual’s strengths, and improving weaknesses of each student’s work, encouraging personal progress and overall growth in the language arts.


I provide feedback on every written assignment, grading them within one week of their due date. My response time for student’s or parent’s email questions is within 24 hours.

Required Texts


  • Readers in Residence, Volume 1,  Sleuth – content will be provided by the instructor
  • Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia McLachlan
  • Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
  • Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo





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Instructor Bio

Kristen Roy

Kristen is a Colorado native.  She earned her teaching degree in Secondary English Education from the University of Northern Colorado.  Kristen has been a homeschooling mom for over 16 years and is now a proud grandma as well. She has enjoyed teaching in both public and private school settings. For the last decade she has been teaching at her homeschool co-op and has been teaching online since 2019 and loves helping students grow in their natural abilities to write. Teaching students how to analyze literature and poetry as well as create their own poetry, research papers, essays, short stories and analytical papers is one of her passions. She also enjoys riding bikes, meeting with friends and having family gatherings! Contact: kroy[at]

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