Having noticed that many students entering university do not know how to write, and seeing how the first grade students at his school were writing better stories than the fourth grade students caused James Webster to take action, resulting in this writing course. Wanting it to be useful for a wide range, the author has divided the course into eight stages. Each new stage builds upon the last, and for that reason he recommends beginning with unit one for all skill levels (primary through university) and working through each of the units in order. Yes, that is a wide range of levels; the author says the grades and units work best in the following way. Units one through three are appropriate for grade one. Grade two students should start with unit one in September and have completed unit five by June. Grade three should do units one through seven and grade four units one through nine in a similar time span. Higher grades complete all of the units, and when teaching this course to high school students, the first five units should be completed in ten weeks. In the higher grades, more time (at least a month per unit for the last half of the book) is recommended.
So what about these eight different stages, what does the author begin with and how does he progress through the writing levels? Unit one starts with the basics of note taking and outlines. Unit two teaches summarizing from notes, skills of limiting in note taking, and adapting note taking and style. Unit three discusses summarizing narrative stories. Unit four focuses on summarizing references. In unit five, students learn writing from a series of pictures. Unit six covers library research reports and stressing the process, using a mini-book series. Unit seven looks at creative writing and in unit eight students reach the "pinnacle" of writing skills - essay writing and university essay writing. Unit nine contains critiques of narrative stories and novels and a final chapter about the writing syllabus. Although this is a book written for a classroom setting, it can be adapted to a homeschool fairly easily. For the younger grades, it is better for the teacher to read through the book, explain ideas and new skills, and assign work. Upper grade students can use the book directly, reading the text for themselves, discussing and working on projects as appropriate. A thorough "how to" resource, this volume teaches practical methods rather than just a philosophy. Examples crowd the pages, so students should always be able to pick up on the skill that is being taught. This is a very thorough course on structure and style and the definitive reference for TWSS teachers and those with advanced students. ~ Zach
over 4 years ago
This book has the same 9 units IEW has. Pudewa really distilled everything in THIS book into a really digestible seminar and guide. My kids are young and IEW is plenty. I got this not really knowing what to expect.
I think this is useful if you have older kids and look at IEW and think...this is great...but my students are older and need just a bit MORE. There are more guidelines for how to conduct a lesson on note making from multiples sources, note making on more advanced texts. There are just a lot of teaching hints and ideas that I sometimes feel is lacking in the IEW seminars.
I knocked off one star only because the format is very dense...very very dense. There is a treasure trove of information, but it is formatted like a thesis. 10 or 11 pt font, single spaced text. Yikes! You really need to dig in and use this as a "how to teach this stuff" textbook. I can see why Pudewa reformatted the material.
If you have IEW, do you need this? No. It is an interesting supplement to have if you need more in depth ideas on how to address an older student's needs.
If I were a HS English teacher, I'd say, "YES! Do buy!" From a homeschool mom's perspective...probably not necessary.