Most homeschool moms recognize the importance of our children developing strong writing skills. But perhaps you're like me, a creditable writer myself but without a clue how to go about teaching writing to my children. I would have been thrilled to find a program like WriteShop Primary. With a reputation for building confident writers through an incremental approach, WriteShop has been a favorite for middle school and high school students for years. Now the publishers are developing an introductory program for very young writers that has the same incremental approach and is structured to provide opportunities for the primary student to feel successful in writing largely because the parent is working closely with the student. This is an impressive program that is carefully sequenced, easy on both student and teacher, and a delight for the eyes. The young child's writing skills are developed because plenty of time is spent on writing activities as well as focused instruction that builds confidence. Each of the three levels can be used independently but the incremental nature of the books encourages going through all three sequentially. Three-week, two-week, and one-week lesson plans are provided for the ten lessons in each book. Your choice of lesson plans depends on what ages of children you are teaching and how quickly you want to get through the material. In other words, if you have a kindergartner, you will probably choose the three-week plan and progress through the books at a rate of one per year. If, on the other hand, you have a second grader, you might choose to do Book B or C using the two or three-week plan or complete Books A, B, & C using the one-week plans. The spiral-bound Teacher's Guide books each provide information on how to organize the study along with plans for using two different levels with two students at different grade levels. Books provide introduction material, information for setting up and supplying a home writing center, specific information for teaching the writing lessons, and evaluation quidelines. Each lesson is based around a theme but these themes can be altered or adapted to allow for integration of the writing lessons with other theme-based studies. Lesson formats are similar and include guided writing practice, pre-writing activities, brainstorming, a writing project, publishing the project, and ideas for "doing more". Each lesson includes an activity that reinforces some aspect of the lesson. While the lessons are not totally scripted, they are well laid-out and easy to follow. Teacher prep is minimal requiring reading through the lessons, equipping a writing center that is either "permanent" or "packable", and occasionally cutting out paper shapes, etc. The heart of the program - guided writing practice - is kept simple (but carefully structured to lay a foundation in writing) and short (5-10 minutes). The Activity Sets that accompany each Book provide worksheet pages that tie together and reinforce skills taught in each lesson. In addition, there are two evaluation charts - each for five lessons. The material from the Activity Set may be reproduced for family use although not for co-op or school use. ~ Janice
WriteShop programs have a reputation for building confident writers through an incremental approach. The first WriteShop programs were written for middle school and high school students, and we have been pleased to see that the series has grown "down" to reach the youngest writers as well. The three branches of the program include the original WriteShop (Books 1 and 2), WriteShop Junior and WriteShop Primary. All levels of the program are well-structured, easy to use and give the parent all of the tools to teach writing well.