Writing & Rhetoric Book 10: Thesis - Part 1 Student
In Writing & Rhetoric Book 10: Thesis Part 1 (consumable student edition), students will write well-crafted persuasive thesis essays with narrative, descriptive, expository, and comparative elements. The thesis essay is perhaps the most important form of academic writing. In fact, in every major in college, successful exams and term papers depend on excellent thesis writing. Each composition requires strong critical thinking skills, an understanding of audiences and how to hook them, and a logical progression of ideas and evidence. The thesis exercise employs all of the skills students have gained in their study of the progymnasmata and adds something more: the consideration and rebuttal of counterarguments. By thinking through opposition to their main ideas, students grow in their ability to think flexibly and to defend their position. In addition, the thesis essay will help students to examine and sustain ideas, two skills much needed in todays public discourse.
Student Edition Features:
A 1-semester course for grades 7 or 8 and up
In this book, students will learn to:
- create complex thesis statements
- write thesis essays with an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion
- sustain arguments for 6 paragraphs
- use topic sentences for organizing paragraphs and information
- incorporate supportive facts and details, including quotations, paraphrases, and allusions
- understand audiences better, hook their attention, and consider the purpose for reaching them
- appeal to readers though credibility (ethos) and logic (logos)
- build copiousness
- improve essays using speaking as an aid to revision
- revise essays for redundancies, padded writing, informal tone, dangling modifiers, and faulty predication
- analyze literature excerpts for theme
- annotate texts and narrate them both orally and in summary form
- work on delivery in public speaking volume, pacing, and inflection
This book provides ten lessons in which students write well-crafted persuasive thesis essays with expository, descriptive, and narrative elements. Lessons involve consideration of the audience, supporting the thesis, appealing to authority, and autobiography. Source material is extremely broad-based and includes classic and contemporary authors as well as from other cultures.
What! Another writing program? It's easy to imagine such a question popping up since we do have a number of excellent writing programs already available. This one is a worthy addition. First of all, it follows the classical model for teaching writing (and rhetoric) skills. What exactly does that mean? It means a program that is, in essence, a step-by-step apprenticeship in the art of writing and rhetoric. It's a program that believes that imitation is the foundation for learning writing and at the same time provides an easy to use framework for starting with models of good writing, building a "conversation in the head" (in other words, content through discussion and writing exercises), and for following the persuasive writing system developed by the ancient Romans. This system - the progymnasmata (progym, for short) - takes the student from simple retelling skills through the more and more complex skills of reporting, narrating, praising, comparison, persuasion, and defense. Modern writing borrows heavily from these skills, but the underlying methodology is distinctly different. Modern writing courses emphasize mastering the writing process and gaining experience with the different forms of writing. Accordingly, they often start with a blank sheet of paper and a brainstorming session. The progym, on the other hand, starts with well-known and excellent writing models (also known as classic literature).
Secondly, this program is user-friendly with virtually no teacher prep needed and the possibility of a minimum of teacher-student interaction (although interaction is always a plus). The publisher is the same one who has given us Latin for Children and Latin Alive! They know how to do user-friendly (and appealing). Even if you had no inkling of the meaning of a classical writing program, this would be an excellent choice. The Student Books provide instruction and examples with plenty of space to write. The Teacher Books have identical pages to the student books but add grey boxes which provide additional info, writing samples, answers and talking points. The two books are designed to be used together, and I think it would be unwise and difficult to try to use one without the other.
The lessons follow a pattern. The teacher reads through the text followed by a subsequent reading by the student (in upper levels, the student reads through the text examples). Narration (Tell It Back), discussion (Talk About It), and comprehension (Go Deeper) are all part of this initial look at the source material. Then starts the writing exercises (Write & Discuss). To give you an example of these, from one lesson in Book 2, copywork, dictation, sentence play, copiousness (using synonyms), and amplification (rewriting). Later in the lesson there is a time for reading/presenting the lesson's written work and separate Speak It exercises. It's suggested that this writing series would alternate with a grammar program (although no recommendations are made).
Each book is a semester's worth of writing instruction, with a total of twelve books planned. In a perfect world, a student would start in 3rd grade and complete the series in 8th grade. If your world isn't quite perfect, this series could be started anytime up to 5th or even 6th grade (in my opinion). Students beginning this program should know how to identify and create a complete sentence. It is possible to enter the program at upper levels but requires careful evaluation of the student's writing experience and the scope of the level. Some familiarity with the Progym series would also be helpful. You may wonder how this series interfaces with Common Core. The publishers note that their program "covers a host of these standards." But they further note that "while these goals are worthwhile, the Progym derive their strength from the incremental and thorough development of each form of writing. The Writing & Rhetoric series does not skip from form to form and leave the others behind, but rather builds a solid foundation of mastery by blending the forms."
Optional audio CDs are also available for each volume, which feature Dr. Christopher Perrin, his wife, Christine Perrin and/or others, reading the fables, myths, historical narratives and other source material used in the books aloud, to either add an auditory dynamic to your lesson or help auditory learners enhance their understanding of the material. Packages are available for most levels. ~ Janice
These materials offer complete coverage of both writing and grammar.