The first two books in this series are both suggested for students in grades 4-7. The third and fourth books are for grades 7-12. All four books include lengthy stories of saints--ten stories in volume 1 and eleven in volume 2, and four each in volumes 3 and 4. Stories in the first two books are about 6-9 pages each while in the third and fourth they are about 20 pages each. Unlike what we find in many reading comprehension book, these stories are well written and could easily be produced as a book aside from the comprehension activities.
Comprehension activities in the first two books are presented in three sections for each story: vocabulary words, questions (focusing primarily upon recall of details), and projects. Projects include drawing; memorization; research; map work; and letter, essay, and report writing. You should select projects appropriate for each child's ability level. Both books have the same level of difficulty. Older students should be able to work through these books independently.
The format of the third and fourth books change quite a bit. There are still vocabulary words and comprehension questions focusing on recall of details. In addition are sections titled "Terms to Know," "Analyze This," "Essay Questions," "Quotes," "Geography and History," "Research and Report," "You, The Biographer," and "Putting Our Faith into Practice." The terms require students to write explanatory paragraphs. "Analyze This" asks students to move beyond comprehension as they answer more challenging question in paragraph form, but they are still focusing on content details. Essays questions stretch students into deeper analysis and opinion as they write. "Quotes" involve memorization and/or analysis of quotes in either written or oral presentations.
The geography and history question really stretch across the curriculum, bringing this study to the level of most unit studies. Included here are suggested activities such as researching and writing a brief historical biography of an important historical figure, and writing a brief report on the "significance of Flanders and its casualties during World War I." Because of this section it would be great to use stories when studying the appropriate historical period. (For example: In Book 3 stories are of St. Edith Stein--Europe through the Nazi period, Blessed Gianna Beretta Molla--mid-20th century Europe dealing with medical/ethical issues, Fr. Francis Zavier Seelos--Catholicism in the 19th century U.S., and Blessed Junipero Serra--the 18th century settlement of California.)
"You, the Biographer" assigns a choice of two or three subjects, requiring use of at least two sources as students write a biography. "Putting Our Faith into Practice" offers practical and spiritual activities for applying the lessons of the story. Some stories include "Science and Life" sections that tackle big questions like the "population explosion" and abortion, as well as topics like yellow fever.
Be selective about how many of the activities you use from the sections with numerous choices. Answer keys are at the end of each of the books.