Entries from February 2008 ↓

On Legos and writing

What do Legos and writing have in common? Encouraging tips for teaching writing. {via In Our Write Minds}

Recently, when a missionary friend was visiting from Japan, I offered to keep his son for a day to free him up for some appointments. Since Rees was alone, I invited my grandson Eli over as a playmate, hauled out a huge crate of Legos, and set the boys loose. I could barely pull them away to eat a hasty lunch before Rees declared: “Can I go back upstairs now? Legos don’t build themselves, you know!”

Legos and Writing

So what does this little anecdote have to do with writing? Simply put, just as a Lego vehicle can’t take shape without the intentional efforts of a builder, your child cannot learn to write without intentional effort from you.

Continue reading →

Printers and layouts and deadlines…oh, my!

Augggh!

OK, got that out of my system.

In case you ever thought publishing a book was a cakewalk, let me assure you that beneath this calm surface (“we’re releasing WriteShop Primary in the spring, tra-la-la”) lies a roiling cauldron ready to spew!

As of last night:

  1. I am a week behind in getting an updated style sheet to Sallie, our dear and wonderful editor.
  2. I also owe Sallie stamps of approval on Lessons 8-10 in Book A.
  3. We keep finding corrections to make in lessons long ago finished. Lessons 1-6 have been “final” about ten times now! Lesson 7 alone has passed muster thus far. Continue reading →

Reluctant writers tip #1: Using a tape recorder

My son was writing-phobic. Hard as I tried, he hated everything about writing, from holding the pencil to putting words on paper.

Me:  What are some good words to describe the dog’s fur?

Ben:  Soft? Fuzzy? Brown?

Me:  Those are all great choices. Which one would you like to use in this sentence?

Ben:  Um…which one is the shortest to spell?

OK, so that was my life. Continue reading →

Timed writing: Preparing for SAT essays

Preparing for SAT essays begins in early high school. Practice w/timed essays helps make responses nearly automatic. WriteShop 2 can help.

Here’s a question we see often in our WriteShop mailbag:

Q: In a few years, my sons will be taking their SAT college entrance exams. Is the essay section in WriteShop II good preparation? My sons are in 9th and 10th grades.

A: Fortunately, you have plenty of time to start preparing for SAT essays. The best time to start training your kids in the art of timed writing is during 9th and 10th grades, followed by weekly practice in 11th grade.

There’s a good reason for not putting off teaching this important skill till the last minute. Continue reading →

An interview with Nancy I. Sanders

Nancy I. SandersNancy I. Sanders is a prolific writer who, we’re thrilled to announce, has developed a fabulous primary-level writing curriculum for us. Hurrah! We’re on pins and needles as we enter the final stretch of last-minute editing, page layout, and cover design in preparation for an April release of the first in the series: WriteShop Primary Book A. It’s just so exciting! And the timing couldn’t be better, as it coincides with Nancy’s Virtual Book Tour. When we discovered she was hosting her blog tour, we just knew we had to invite her for a visit. So without further ado, let’s meet Nancy! Continue reading →

Reminder…

Don’t forget to stop by tomorrow, February 25, for a wonderful interview with author Nancy I. Sanders. Nancy has written over 70 books and numerous articles for such noted publishers as Focus on the Family, Scholastic, and Sleeping Bear Press. We’re delighted to introduce her as the author of our newest (and soon-to-be-released) series, WriteShop Primary, for K-2nd grades.

In addition to getting a sneak peek into WriteShop Primary, you’ll also learn a fun lesson in using picture books to help your early elementary children learn to write.

See you tomorrow!

Boardless Scrabble

Boardless ScrabblePre-writing activities disguised as games make it so much more fun to learn and practice skills. Depending on the activity, you can teach or reinforce spelling, grammar, vocabulary, and writing. One of my family’s new favorites, Boardless Scrabble (also known as Speed Scrabble), would be a terrific way to address both spelling and vocabulary. Here’s how to play:

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Introducing Nancy Sanders

It may surprise you to learn that we never actually planned to enter this world of writing and publishing—though it was evidently in God’s mind that we should do so! Once we were on board with him, we could fairly hear him call, “Hang onto your hats, girls. Here we go!” And eight years later…well, here we are!

Just as we never intentionally set out to write a curriculum for secondary students, we decided we’d never produce any younger levels of the program either. After all, Debbie and I were empty nesters, far removed from the days of homeschooling our own young children. Continue reading →

StoryBuilders: Help for writer’s block


WriteShop StoryBuilders

The Perils of Writer’s Block

Writer’s block. We shudder at the very word.

It’s reduced many a child to tears because any creative thought that may once have lurked in his mind is now shrouded in fog.

Don’t laugh! I know you wince at the memory of wads of paper thrown in frustration to gather at your son’s feet like so many tumbleweeds.

Writer’s block. It makes the bravest of writers want to Continue reading →

Born to blog

I’ve dreamed of this day. Silly, I know. But I’m sure I was born to blog. My head swims with ideas: A beautifully crafted sentence to share, or a perfect quotation.  A tip to help a struggling writer. A bit of writing humor. A practical idea. A word game. So I sort, file away, remember some, forget others. Aughhh! I need an outlet! A place for tidbits. A place to write about writing.

I should start a blog. Continue reading →

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