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). Complete Writer: Writing With Ease Strong Fundamentals - the text (recently revised and with new information) 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 four-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.
Throughout Writing With Ease, the author suggests repeating the dictations three times. Some students may be able to hold the dictations in their heads after three repetitions and that's great! However, many students will need additional repetitions. And, as you get into the more complex dictations, the author has found that most students will need you to say the dictation sentences additional times - maybe a number of additional times. Don't worry about repeating - it's best not to frustrate your young writer. However, the author suggests two rules - 1) always ask the student to repeat the sentence back to you before he goes back to writing and 2) always repeat the dictation assignment from the beginning (don't allow the student to write one word at a time as you "dictate" word by word.
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