Write With the Best Vol. 2/Model Great Author
This second volume follows the same thorough format as the original but has some enhancements as well. It has a larger answer key and contains proofreading checklists for each genre. Eight separate units cover twelve writing categories, with examples from great writers:
Daily steps, which are concise, clear, and follow the same general format as the first volume, teach students how to write in these genres and how to become proficient in proofreading and literary analysis. ~ Rachel S.
Category Description for Write with the Best
"Modeling Writing after Great Works of World Literature Vol. 1" . If you‘re learning to write, why not learn from the best? It‘s a great concept that‘s well-implemented in this new writing offering by Jill J. Dixon, B.S. Ed., M.Ed. Focusing on descriptive writing, Jill has chosen some of the best literary passages as models, including excerpts from: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Describing an Object) A Christmas Carol (Describing a Place) Robinson Crusoe (Describing a Character) Wind in the Willows (Writing a Dialogue) "Gift of the Magi" (Writing a Short Story) "Ants and the Grasshopper" and "Shepherd‘s Boy and the Wolf" (Writing a Fable) "Paul Revere‘s Ride (Writing Poetry - Ballad or Narrative) Each of these nine units is broken into ten 15-to-45-minute daily lessons - though Jill cautions not to progress too quickly if a child has not mastered a skill. Objectives for each day are asterisked and should be read by the teacher before beginning each unit. Since lessons are addressed directly to the student, the program will require minimal teacher time in actually completing each lesson. You will need to do some preparatory instruction, dictation (once per unit), and check work completed. Each unit begins with an excerpt from a "classic", includes a good amount of grammar (parts of speech) instruction, some mechanics, has the student find another good example of the genre being studied (and doing some comparative / grammatical analysis), and culminates with student writing and proofreading. Every unit also includes a dictation exercise from the included (or another) classic excerpt. The student is then to check his result against the written copy. Units are systematic, instruction is clear, and the whole course is well-organized and ready to pick up and go. Jill has included several helps and references also, in the back of the volume. The first is a sheet on "The Characteristics that Make the Best Writing The Best". This is used as the basis for discussion of supplied and found excerpts. A proofreading checklist is included to encourage and help with self-editing. For the parent is a helpful sheet on grading criteria. My only dispute with this is the point (out of five) given for having a "topic sentence at the beginning and a concluding sentence at the end of each paragraph". Just skimming the excerpts included confirm much "great" writing is not "formula" writing. I agree that a beginning writer may need to start out this way - but it makes for boring writing if you insist each paragraph be structured so. Additional Literary Passages for Modeling Writing are included and listed by genre so that you can continue or reuse these lessons again and again with different literature, if desired. For the teacher and student is a How to Write Guide that takes you through the steps for each type of writing. And, lastly, a key to the parts of speech exercises in included for you. All in all, there is a fair amount of grammar and mechanics instruction included in this volume in the context of writing and proofreading, though the author suggests supplementing with Easy Grammar, Daily Grams, Editor in Chief or Great Editing Adventures if you feel you need more specific or intensive instruction. Other recommended materials are a dictionary and thesaurus for each student. A writing or grammar handbook would also be helpful - especially if your skills are a little rusty. Permission to reproduce is given for the excerpts and the proofreading checklist. These are the only consumable components, and each student will need his own. All in all, this program looks like a well-organized, easy to use, effective writing program that I‘m personally eager to try!
Not only does this teach kids how to write (it follows a "formula" for writing that even my third grader could follow and end up with a well written paper), but it also teaches grammar! Children are given an example and then asked to write their own. There is a dictation exercise in which the child finds another example to copy and parts of speech are covered in each lesson. It is an entire English program in one. The literature selections are from well known and respected works and the originals (or versions edited for age) can be found and used for a literature study. My kids have actually started to enjoy writing and their writing has vastly improved. There is very little teacher prep - it is almost scripted. There is a section containing ideas for presentation to different learning styles which was helpful and not too overwhelming. Best of all, the program can be re-used for several years utilizing different literature selections (example for each lesson are included). An excellent program for the money!
I used this program with my 16 year old son, a young man who loves to read and hates to write. He liked it because he loves literature, and each unit begins with a wonderful excerpt to analyze. It is also incremental, and just gives the student a small piece of writing to do each time. They may just list some descriptive words one day, then write a few sentences the next day, then put them in a paragraph the following day. I liked it because there was no advance preparation for the teacher. Doing a little bit every day worked better for us than doing a big project once a week--my son knew we would do it, and that it would be short. His projects turned out very imaginative, and he made some good progress in writing this year. For a child who hates the physical act of writing, I would recommend his typing his projects on the computer. This also makes editing a lot less painful. Great program that I highly recommend!
Wow! What can I say? This book has been so much fun for all of us with AMAZING results! My oldest (now 7th grade) has always struggled with writing assignments. We have tried a variety of programs that have always ended with little success. This has frustrated me, especially since I am an English teacher! By the time we finished the first unit, my 7th & 4th graders were hooked. They felt excited by producing well written assignments and I was amazed by the quality of their finished work. Even more amazing was the zeal with which they threw themselves into the poetry unit - and their poems impressed the grandparents. I have loved how easy this has been to teach and grade. Preparation was only a few minutes and teaching time would range from 2-20 minutes. Somehow the lessons work the students through the steps of writing in a subtle and painless way, yet the results are natural and do not sound like formula writing. The compositions were usually half written before the actual writing assignment was given. As we approached the end of the school year we had 2 units left. I gave my kids the choice of fable, ballad, or just saying we were done. They instantly chose ballad and are eagerly planning this out - even asking if they can do 2 assignments a day! I never would have believed that writing could become a favorite subject let alone so well done. We are all looking forward to working through this book again next year and improving our writing even more.