Hymns in Prose

A beautiful reader, recommended by Charlotte Mason, that encourages a love and reverence for God and His handiwork while reinforcing reading skills. A teacher’s guide and copybooks in a variety of styles are also available. (Grades 2–3)

Download a free sample of Hymns in Prose for Children and the Teacher Book. See full description

Product Description

The elementary reader Charlotte Mason recommended!

A child who is advancing in reading skills thrives on interesting words and suitable challenges. Whether your child needs more reading instruction or just an opportunity to practice reading aloud, Mrs. Barbauld’s Hymns in Prose for Children is just the reader for that stage! Copybooks for handwriting practice are also available.

The fourteen hymns are beautifully composed thoughts—in prose, not in poetry—that point to God’s handiwork all around us and encourage a love and reverence for Him. Breath-taking pen and ink drawings add to your child’s experience and help cultivate his taste for beautiful words and artwork—all while reinforcing reading skills.

Short fables, and such graceful, simple prose as we have in Mrs Gatty’s Parables from Nature, and, still better, in Mrs Barbauld’s prose poems, are very suitable. Even for their earliest reading lessons, it is unnecessary to put twaddle into the hands of children (Vol. 1, p. 205).

  • Increase your child’s reading confidence.—If your child is increasing in his ability to figure out many words on his own, the Hymns in Prose for Children student reader is all you need. Just give him opportunity every day to practice reading aloud from it. This edited version makes sure your child is seeing words in their most common forms (for example, “crawls” instead of “crawleth”). By the end of Hymns in Prose your child should be a fluent reader.
  • Make reading lessons delightful and effective.—If your child needs more practice recognizing words as he reads, you can easily guide him through Hymns in Prose for Children. The optional teacher book provides lesson plans based on the wonderful methods Charlotte Mason recommended for beginning readers and that were used in From Words to Books: Delightful Reading, Level 3. Word lists and word and letter tiles are included as a PDF download that you can print as needed.
  • Cultivate a love for God.—Mrs. Barbauld wrote these hymns to help your child grow “accustomed to see the Creator in the visible appearances of all around him, to feel His continual presence, and lean upon His daily protection.”
  • Use for recitation and copywork.Hymns in Prose for Children provides beautiful passages for your child to memorize and recite for the enjoyment and benefit of others. You can also use them to improve your child’s penmanship by encouraging him to copy the hymns, little by little, slowly and carefully in his best handwriting. Hymns in Prose copybooks are available.

Beginning Reading and Writing Series

Delightful ReadingDelightful HandwritingA Child's Copybook ReaderPrint to CursiveHymns in Prose

14 reviews for Hymns in Prose

  1. Teresa

    LOVE it!!! What a wonderful idea. I have not seen an idea of yours yet that I did not like!!

  2. Sara B.

    Awesome! I will be buying these as soon as my budget allows! I can see how great these will be for my kids who are learning to read – and even for my older reader! Thanks, Sonya!

  3. simple home

    I’ve been thinking on resources for reading aloud practice for my kids, and this is perfect. I can’t wait to order this in the near future. Thank you!

  4. Kelly

    What a great idea, however, I would enjoy this WAY MORE is there was a CD to purchase with the hymns to listen to so they can learn them.
    Is that something that might come along?
    Seems missing without the CD…..

    • Sonya Shafer

      Kelly, as far as I know, these hymns have never been set to music.

      Or were you thinking of a CD with someone reading the hymns aloud? We don’t have plans to make an audiobook of Hymns in Prose for Children, because we want the children to have the joy of learning to read the hymns themselves.

  5. Deborah

    This is a wonderful resource! I was with you when you were starting this project and it is nice to see it completed. Reading the first hymn touched my heart. Love to you and the rest of your family.

  6. Janna

    A beautiful way to draw our little ones to think upon God…

  7. Christa


    If I order the digital versions, do I get the files that are on the CD as downloads? Or do I not get them at all?

    This will make my decision about which version to order.


    • Jordan Smith

      Yes, the e-book version of the Hymns in Prose teacher book includes the PDF files that are on the CD with the printed version.

  8. Erin Kate

    This looks gorgeous! I’m curious how many lessons per week might be suggested when using the Teacher’s Guide alongside if we hope to cover this in a year, or is two years more realistic? Thank you for another very special product.

    • Sonya Shafer

      Good question, Erin, but tough to answer. So much of your pace will depend on the child. Plus, as you work through the hymns, there will be more words already known and progress might speed up.

      Just thinking out loud here. If you approach the hymns in terms of each portion being a paragraph or two, spending two lessons per portion (one sight words, one word building), you will have about 240 lessons total, in round figures. That number will vary, of course, depending on how many words your child already knows as you work your way through.

      Keep in mind that the goal of the lessons is to produce a fluent reader, so if your child is reading fluently partway through the lessons, he/she may just finish up the student reader by reading it aloud to you and not need formal lessons for the whole thing.

      So all that to say, if you look just at the number of possible lessons, two years seems more realistic; but this method works so nicely, don’t be surprised if your child gets to the point where he/she doesn’t need all of the formal lessons and finishes reading the book in one year.

  9. erin.kate

    Thank you, Sonya. I’ve started using this with my 2nd grader and Kindergartner, both of whom are fluent readers … one through phonics and one who is a natural sight reader. It has been such a beautiful way to encourage their fluency even more and their fire to read lovely words. Now that it’s in my hands we’re just using it as we use it. I don’t plan the lessons as much as just enjoy them and we do what seems natural each time we sit with it. I think we’ll finish it before next fall and then refresh their memories with the copywork books. Thank you!

  10. Kathy

    I recently purchased this program.Since I didn’t use Delightful Reading I’m not sure how to set up the word book.Do I label pages alphabetically and just have my child add words according to the starting letter randomly on the page ? Or do I group words phonetically ?

    • Sonya Shafer

      Feel free to arrange your word book the way you would like to, Kathy. Its main purpose is to review and record all the words your child is learning. I’ve usually just entered the words as we learned them, starting on the first page and continuing with the next ones learned. That approach gives a mixture of sight words and some collections of word families; and I like have them mixed together for reviewing purposes. Also, that way I didn’t have to try to guess how many A words we will learn and, thus, how many pages I needed to label with A’s.

      If you do enter the words in the order learned, you can still play ABC games with them. For example, one day leaf through the notebook and have the child read every word that begins with B.

      Just some thoughts and ideas. Make the word book your servant and use it however it will work best for you.

  11. Helen

    My 7 yr old DS and I have been using this for a week now and are both really enjoying it. We have decided to forsake the typical 2 Grade readers that come with other curriculum and use this since it introduces the child to nice juicy words. Beautiful words you won’t find in regular readers.

    My son loves the pace, one-on-one time with mom and word-building activities.

    I highly recommend this lovely educational tool.

  12. Del

    Hello, should my child use Delightful reading before using this? She is not a fluent reader yet, so I am looking for good literature for teaching reading with the CM method.

    • Sonya Shafer

      Delightful Reading would be a good starting point, Del. Or, if you think your child is ready for the Hymns in Prose selections, you can get the teacher book that goes with it and walks you through doing CM-style reading lessons with that reader. You might download the sample of the Hymns in Prose reader and take a look at the level of reading in it. If you think it’s way out of your child’s reach, start with Delightful Reading. If you think it’s within your child’s reach with a little coaching and teaching, go ahead and do the lessons with Hymns in Prose.

      • Delkroemer

        ok, thank you!

  13. April

    We recently purchased Hymns in Prose and I was wondering how we can format our own word book? How exactly do you recommend the words be entered in the word book? One page for for each lesson, one page for each letter of the alphabet, one page for all similar sounding words? Thank you for your help!

    • Sonya Shafer

      It works well to enter the words simply in the order learned, filling the pages as you go. That type of placement allows for several fun review activities. For example, you could have your child go through a few pages and find all the words that start with a certain letter, reading each aloud; or find all the words with a certain letter combination or with a certain number of syllables.

  14. Helen

    I just wanted to state again how much we approve of this resource for homeschool. We have been using this for months now and my DS 7 enjoys it very much. I love what a gentle approach it is for teaching one’s child. It is so effective yet you do not get burnout as you do from certain boxed curriculum Language Arts. My son loves doing word building. It engages a child through their minds and bodies and doesn’t bore them through mere pencil to paper work.

    Thank you Sonya!

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