Teaching Writing Structure and Style®

Now even better! Teaching Writing Structure and Style - the introductory pivot in the award winning IEW writing program has been newly revised after a decade of providing amazing help and clarification to parents confused with the task of providing writing instruction to their children. With updated video instruction (and more of it), video streaming options, English subtitles, a student demonstration for grades 1 & 2, and greatly expanded seminar workbook, this homeschooling favorite is destined to preserve its place in homeschooling history. If you want a right-out-of-the-box, hand-it-to-your-child-and-go writing program, look elsewhere in our catalog; this is not the product for you. If, on the other hand, you are looking for an overall approach to writing instruction for years to come, a product that will make you a good writing coach and improve your own writing skills along the way, a general outline that will guide you in teaching composition at all levels, then check this out.

The main course is a 12-hour teaching seminar with an accompanying seminar and practicum workbook (syllabus), for the TEACHER (who is the student in this instance). Also included is a set of four student demonstrations – an introduction writing workshop for each of four grade groupings (1-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12). The seminar features Andrew Pudewa, homeschooling father of seven, giving the presentation that he normally shares in seminars around the country. He feels that if teachers (a.k.a. parents) possess proper skills for writing, they will be able to pass along these skills to their students. The seminar workbook provides notes from the seminar as well as lots of samples and examples.

The writing seminar covers two basic components of composition – not surprisingly, structure and style – and is divided into nine units: Note Taking and Outlines, Summarizing from Notes, Summarizing Narrative Stories, Summarizing a Reference, Writing from Pictures, Library Research Reports, Creative Writing, Essay Writing, and Critiques. These may be used in the order presented, or you may use the unit that most suits your needs at the time. As you can tell from these units, structure is both the type of writing and the method of organizing the writing.

Style, on the other hand, is taught throughout the units, one technique at a time. Style includes such things as varying sentence openings, using similes and metaphors, or repeating certain words for effect. The author feels that teaching style is more like teaching art or music rather than math or science. The idea is to help students develop a creative flow of well-conceived thoughts. Like playing the piano, some students will master a lot of the material quickly, while other students will master only a portion of the material, but all will achieve variety and competence in expression. He also stresses a separation of the flow of ideas from mechanics (grammar, spelling and penmanship); both are important, but most people can only do one at a time.

The writing instruction methods gleaned from this seminar can be used with students from first grade on up; with students in varying age/grade groups; and over a succession of years. The units might stay the same but you expect continued improvement from the student as you gradually expand the skills. The program also addresses common problems among writing teachers: overcorrecting, not giving enough help when needed, unclear assignments, and over-expectation. It is designed to help you bring the best out in your student; and to not overemphasize the negatives.

The Student Workshops are four short (40-60 minutes) workshops where four grade-level groupings of students are taught by the author using this approach. These workshops (and all the IEW material) are designated for these age groups: 1st – 2nd grades, 3rd – 5th grades, 6th – 8th grades, and 9th – 12th grades. Although the focus of these workshops is the introductory units, they will give you confidence and presentation ideas for all units.

This is one of the most expensive writing programs in our catalog. Is it worth the price? Many satisfied (and enthusiastic!) customers think so. I put myself in this category. I particularly like the last two sentences in the dedication in the workbook. “The pen indeed is mightier than the sword, for it is in the written word that we do most powerfully preserve that which is noble and expose that which is evil. And so in great part, the very future of society rests with those who can write, and write well.”

In this day and age of the disappearing DVD, there are two ways to purchase this program – each with its own advantages. As before, the seminar is available as a set of DVDs (nine with content for the teacher and three for the student demonstrations) plus a video streaming subscription. This option allows you to re-watch in subsequent years at no additional cost. There is also a video streaming-only subscription option (one year, renewable). This gives you access to the video content for one year but requires a renewal fee for usage in subsequent years. Both options include a copy of the seminar workbook which has been greatly expanded. The Student Writing Intensive programs are the student-oriented counterpart to this program – and a sequel to the student demonstrations included with the TWSS. Their teacher material has been expanded to correspond with the new content in the TWSS. ~ Janice

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