Writing With Ease Level Two Workbook
Category Description for Complete Writer: Writing with Ease
Writing With Ease provides easy-to-use materials for introducing this comprehensive writing approach to young students; an approach that understands the need for one-on-one instruction and focuses on copywork (putting words on paper) and narration (putting ideas into words) then ultimately combining the skills (Years 3 & 4). The Text for Levels 1-4 is a program overview. The first section – Understanding the Program – describes the three stages of writing instruction and why most writing programs fail as well as a 4-year scope and sequence concluding with a segment on where/how to begin. Included are some short diagnostic exercises to determine if an older reluctant-writing student will profit by some portions of the program. Next is a short but practical section outlining preschool and kindergarten language instruction. The bulk of the text provides the weekly lessons for each level (year). Each year is divided into segments with a varying number of weeks. Each of these segments starts with a detailed lesson plan for the first week; then “tweaked” plans for the rest of the segment’s weeks (i.e. use slightly longer sentences for copywork; look for sentences that contain the proper names of days of the week and months of the year). Each year concludes with a mastery evaluation. Copywork sentences and narration excerpts are provided for each of these “first weeks” but not for the remaining weeks. There are several valuable appendices at the back of the Text – what to do after program completion, troubleshooting (wise advice on student’s writing problems), frequently asked questions, and resource lists.
The Workbooks provide all the needed teacher preparation for each level making the program very user-friendly. The first half of each book is the teacher’s portion. This comes close to being scripted with all lessons carefully detailed. Copywork and narration excerpts for each lesson are included with background information provided and comprehension questions (with possible answers) that lead the child comfortably into narration. The last half of the books are student pages. It’s suggested that these be removed and given to the student but they are reproducible for family use (schools and co-ops need to make other arrangements with Peace Hill Press). Grade-appropriate writing space is provided along with copywork models. Occasionally, pen-and-ink illustrations brighten the pages.
There is a relationship between Writing With Ease and First Language Lessons (from the same author). Both share the same philosophy and while these writing skills are presented in FLL they are extensively developed and practiced in WWE. The WWE Text could be used independently of the WWE Workbooks with the parent/teacher selecting all their own copywork excerpts from other school material. Criteria for selection are provided with each lesson segment. Likewise, it might be possible although perhaps not desirable to use the Workbooks independently of the Text. They are designed to be used together and there is material in the Text that is not repeated in the Workbooks (at the beginning and end of the Text). However, all lesson material is carefully repeated in the Workbooks and often expanded in terms of teacher instruction. The Workbooks also provide the needed copywork models and narration excerpts for all lessons making them very comprehensive. ~ Janice
Highly recommend this! This is very easy to use, coaches the teacher well and helps the student learn to THINK through the writing process. Rather than starting out getting them to write a lot (which for my daughter would be torture), I do a lot of the physical writing and she is learning to think through what needs to be written. Great literary passages are used to discuss too!
Writing With Ease Work Book: Level 2 is authored by Susan Wise Bauer. She is a faculty member of the College of William and Mary, and co-author of "The Well Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home." Writing With Ease Work Book: Level 2 is a companion to Bauer's text "Writing With Ease: Strong Fundamentals." Please see my review of "Writing With Ease: Strong Fundamentals" for a comprehensive overview of the curriculum. Writing With Ease: Work Book Level 2 is arranged according to a thirty-six week schedule. Each week consists of the following components: Day 1 Narration Exercise (Identifying central ideas and actions.) Day 2 Copy work Exercise Focus (This indicated the fundamentals of grammar being taught within the lesson.) Day 3 The First Dictation Exercise Day 4 Narration Exercise and Dictation (Identifying the central narrative in a story or passage. Identifying the central details in a description.) End of the Year Evaluation Included in the work book are a list of literature reading selections and consumable student pages. Overall we have been pleased with Ms. Bauer's logical approach to writing instruction, and look forward to utilizing "Writing With Ease Work Book: Level 3."
This book is everything I needed in a writing program five years ago! I am very impressed with the sequential progression of writing instruction. The author breaks down the writing process into small achievable goals. She also explains why she has done this and why other methods may not work with your child. I especially appreciated her advice for an older reluctant writer and how to use her book to get them where they need to be. Level 1 begins with simple copywork and narration. Level 2 introduces dictation and longer narration passages. Level 3 has the student read the passage independently and teaches them how to do short summaries. Dictation sentences are also longer which develops the skill of holding the words in your head as you write. Level 4 continues the same process with dictation paragraphs and longer summaries. By the end of the book the child is doing summaries of chapters of classics such as Black Beauty. Another helpful feature is the evaluations at the end of each level to determine mastery. These can also be used to determine the level for a child to begin with if they are starting in the middle. There are additional diagnostic exercises to determine where to start an older child. I can't wait to begin this with my children. I believe this is the solution to the writing struggles my older child has had. This book can be used by itself for the elementary years but the companion workbooks make it even easier as all the copywork, dictation, and narration passages are selected for you to have the child complete. I plan to use this book with all of my elementary aged children and to help my older children overcome their struggles with writing.
I went to college to be an English teacher, but as a home school teacher & Mom I struggled to help my own children like to write. It's one thing to know how to write yourself and another matter entirely to teach someone else to do it. Then we tried Writing With Ease - Strong Fundamentals. Wow! The author's goal is to make every parent a writing teacher. She could definitely accomplish that with this book. Bauer spells out in layman's terms exactly what to expect from children at each grade level. Writing With Ease takes students through the steps of reading challenging material and putting it into their own words. It's designed for elementary aged writers and for older students who still struggle. The text is mandatory. The workbook is optional. Yet, if you have the workbook teacher prep time is zero. I found both books to be well worth the expense.
My only regret is that Writing With Ease wasn't published 1 year earlier, so we could have used it alongside First Language Lessons 1! My son was a 2nd grader when he started it, and it was a gentle introduction for learning how to write, starting with the absolute fundamentals. I loved that the reading excerpts are from classic children stories. You could easily design a similar program yourself, reading from literature and then taking excerpts out to narrate and use as writing models, but this book has taken all the teacher prep work out. The optional separate workbook even makes it simpler, since the copywork is all ready to go, written on penmanship practice-style sheets. You can use this book alone without the workbook, but then you'll have to write down models for your child to copy, yourself. It all depends on how much time/energy/money you want to invest-- the Workbook is a time-saver. Some of the exercises in First Language Lessons can no doubt be skipped, since they are covered more fully in Writing With Ease. This is a logical and sequential method. There are 36 lessons per year, with 4 brief lessons per week. I hope the author will go on to write a logic stage writing book as well!
This is a four-year, non-consumable writing guide for the elementary writer. I say "writer" instead of "student" because the material can be used for anyone learning to write. Bauer is so sure that this book will be an asset to older students that may be poor writers that she labeled the courses "Year One" instead of "First Grade" (and so on). She teaches college students who would benefit from this kind of instruction! Older kids don't want to think they are 'as dumb as a first grader' and I'm sure they appreciate her choice of titles. It starts with 27 pages of Bauer's calm, confidence-inspiring way of talking to you about "Understanding the Process." She starts with three pages of "Why Writing Programs Fail" (writing a lot instead of learning to write); then spends 11 pages breaking down her methods for teaching writing to each of the three classical stages. Especially helpful in this section are the parts entitled "what you're not doing" and "what you're still not doing." Here she comforts and reassures parents who have concerns about deviating from recent/current methods for those learning writing: write, revise, repeat. She says there is definitely a time and a place for both original work and research papers, just not when most students are doing them. She doesn't want us to put the cart before the horse, as they are doing in most school settings. Here, the cart is producing written work and the horse is learning to write. The last section of "Understanding the Process" is four-page-long layouts describing how each year of instruction is going to pan out. At the bottom of each layout you are directed to the page for that year's "Mastery Evaluation," so parents can determine which year their student should start with. It was really easy to run my oldest through the evaluation and see where she stood. Along with this non-consumable text goes consumable yearly workbooks. At over $20 each, though, and four children of my own to educate, I would buy one each of the workbooks and make my kids copy the work on their own paper. When I considered purchasing this book, I diligently looked at each of the pages from the table of contents that the Rainbow Resource staff put online. I was really confused how week one takes up 4 pages but weeks two and three only took up 1 page. Having the book now, I see that week one is fully prepared with a chosen passage, content questions (and answers), copywork sentences, and dictation passages. Then, you are instructed to follow that pattern for the next few weeks on your own. To complete the full course with only the text you would have to find passages yourself, a task complicated by Bauer's suggestion to find passages that have certain requirements, such as months, capitals, abbreviations, etc. After going through the fully prepared lessons in Writing With Ease, I am convinced that I would rather spend the money on the workbooks than look for the passages myself. Finding all those passages and creating your own questions and choosing a copy sentence is lofty and all, but I'm sure that I would let it slide and end up doing a lot less than I would want to. How does the saying go? "You have time and money. If you have more time than money, make it. If you have more money than time, buy it." The book is written in a way that a student could use it independently, but there are the dictation segments which do require someone other than the student to read aloud. I think that since this is a nonconsumable text, it is a great value for the comprehensive instruction on HOW to LEARN to write. Bauer always has a very inspirational style of writing that encourages homeschool parents. When used with the workbooks, it doesn't need any teacher prep time.
As you would expect from this author, this series is very well written. Explanations are clear and concise. In the past, I have struggled with trying to incorporate dictation into our curriculum. This course solves that problem. The text gives a great overview of the program and can be used alone for the parent/teacher who wishes to choose his or her own passages. Placement tests help determine whether older students have mastered earlier material. I found the workbooks indispensable as they took all guess work out of choosing passages, their lengths, and complexity. They also introduced us to some stories we might want to read in full later! I initially bought this to try to help my struggling 5th grade writer. Based on his placement test, we started in Level 2, easily completing it in a year, without placing too much pressure on him. It has been very beneficial. It has worked equally well with my 2nd grader. As the course is designed more for auditory learners, I have allowed her (visual learner) to read the passages along with me for the narration exercises, increasing her retention of information. I highly recommend this series.
My son and I have thoroughly enjoyed the Writing With Ease Level 1 Workbook. We have just a few more lessons before we move on to Level 2. Last year I was struggling with teaching him to write by doing varied projects and him dictating his words to me. I'd often copy his words down 'wrong'. I'd accidentally say a long 'a' as in 'ate' when writing the word 'a' and he'd flip out, or I wouldn't understand a correction he was making and he'd start crying. I noticed that copywork was easy and less frustrating for both of us, so this program worked wonderfully. The workbook helped me take the idea of copywork and teach a lot about the writing process without the tears. My son enjoyed the little sketches on the workbook pages that he got to color in. He loved listening to excerpts from stories. The workbook is set up for one day of copywork, followed by one day of reading and narration. The stories were like a reward for copying, so we often did two days at a time at his request. The big ideas emphasized in Level 1 have been forming a complete sentence (in his verbal answers to questions about the stories), and when to capitalize. I can also see that with practice, he is able to copy his sentences much faster. I realize that in Level 2 he will be learning how to summarize, but for Level 1 he just had to answer questions about the story and dictate a sentence of one thing he remembers from the story. This workbook made writing assignments fun, simple, and completely predictable for my son so he could relax about writing. It helped me break down the steps of the writing process even more than I had been doing. It's exactly what we needed, well worth the cost, and permission is given to copy the workbook pages for my next child!