Spectrum Writing 2015 Grade 8
This latest revision (2015 copyright) actually has high overlap with the older edition (2007 copyright) although neither the table of contents nor the general appearance of the two books gives you that impression. The reason for this is a general and comprehensive reorganization of the contents which means that a worksheet previously found in chapter one might now be found in chapter four. However, the actual worksheets are largely unchanged. There are a few instances where a small amount of extra content will be added to a worksheet. There are also a few worksheets which include completely new material. For instance, in the 7th grade book, there are new worksheets on quoting and paraphrasing, citing sources, identifying and making a claim, and writing about literature that are not found in the older 7th grade level. In general, this added content serves to bring the series into alignment with the CCSS.
Both creative and expository writing skills are developed in this series of writing skill worktexts. Each grade-level book has eight units focusing on: main ideas, sequence, comparisons, details, facts and opinions, case and effect, making a point, and point of view. Specific content and exercises vary from grade to grade, but follow a similar process of defining the concept, prewriting exercises, developing the skill through one or more writing activities (often building from word to sentence to paragraphs), revising, proofreading, and a short post-test. Students can generally work through these books independently. The material is well-organized and the exercises look both interesting and educational. The variety of exercises would be motivating to most students. Text is two-toned, most are about 130 pages, and a complete answer key is included. This series was revised in 2006 and underwent some changes in the sequence of skills covered and now also includes more nonfiction activities. At the kindergarten level students will practice their letters using a traditional ball-and-stick style - one page of practice per letter; write one word answers to questions about themselves - name, pet, favorite toy; learn to write story words like colors, shapes, numbers, naming words practice putting story pictures into proper sequence; practice writing 4 short stories when given a starter sentence; write a friendly letter; practice writing telling and asking sentences; learn the parts of a story; and practice writing rhyming words. A writer's handbook and answer key are found at the back of this 136-page workbook.
These materials contain both instruction and writing assignments but are not as broad in scope (types of writing) as the comprehensive programs.