Essentials in Writing & Literature Bundles

If you would like to use both Essentials in Writing and Essentials in Literature, you can now purchase bundles of these programs together. They work well in conjunction with each other. Both offer video-based lessons available with DVDs or with online access (12-month subscription).

Essentials in Writing is a well-organized grammar and composition course. Video instructor Matthew Stephens taught English at the elementary and high school levels for years, and he used his experience to good effect in authoring this course. Video Lessons are presented in bite-sized chunks, each focusing on one main point with supporting workbook activities as follow-up. The quality of the video and audio is good, showing Mr. Stephens teaching in front of a classroom using a white board. For younger grades, the teacher and student watch the videos together, then discuss. Students in middle school watch the videos on their own (instruction is always directed to the student) with follow-up teacher-student discussion of the material and assignments. Lesson lengths are age appropriate ranging from 3-4 minutes of video and 15-20 minutes total in lower grades to 7-8 minutes of video and lesson totals of 20-40 minutes in the upper grades. Grammar is taught in context (no diagramming) and covered more in the elementary courses. By levels 8-12, the focus is sentence and paragraph structure as used in essays, research papers and personal/business letters. The Workbook worksheets coordinate with the video. Ideally, the student and teacher would look at the worksheet before viewing the video for that day’s lesson. Worksheets are used sequentially with some lessons being completed in one day and some being split into multiple days. Grading is made easier with checklists and scoring guides included right in the lesson and an answer key to specific exercises included in the back of the workbook.

The Essentials in Literature program spans four main literature genres and utilizes video teaching, assignments, and assessments. For each genre, units introduce genre-specific modes including a variety of types. For example, the Nonfiction unit may include biographies, propaganda, and more, while learning about bias, purpose, and researching. Fiction lessons focus on genre and key literary elements. Study Novels in a separate unit, examining characters, conflict, theme, etc. The Poetry unit examines figurative devices, rhythm, diction, and more. The Student Workbook combines thorough, comprehensive instruction and analytical worksheets. Activities occur throughout the reading process and include analysis, vocabulary and literary composition practice. The Teacher Handbook contains a course overview, content handling directions (identifying difficult or questionable content), a course syllabus with clearly marked daily lessons and video clues, and a detailed answer key.

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