Entries Tagged 'WriteShop' ↓

Kids can learn by teaching others!

Make writing lessons more effective by asking your kids to "teach" others what they're learning!

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I’ve been writing and blogging for a while now. Yet no matter how many times I’ve read the rules for using hyphens between adjectives, I never got the hang of it. Until last Thursday, that is. That was the day I explained hyphens to someone else.

“No matter what you’re studying, when you turn around and teach someone else, and the sooner the better, you deepen your understanding of the subject.” –Deb Peterson, learning and training consultant

Homeschooling moms are often just one step ahead of the kids as we learn new facts and concepts to teach them. Yet don’t you find that when you prepare a lesson and explain it them, the information becomes implanted in your own mind in deeper, more lasting ways?

Just think how much your kids could benefit from similar opportunities to teach someone else what they’ve been learning!

Older Students: Teach Younger Children

When homeschooling multiple ages, it often makes sense to ask your high schooler to tutor a younger sibling in one or two areas. If 16-year-old Greg is a math whiz, why wouldn’t you want him helping 8-year-old Krista? This teaching time can build brother-sister relationships if you as the parent are careful to foster a spirit of mutual kindness and respect.

But what if that math whiz still struggles with writing and grammar concepts (hyphens, for instance)? You can still ask him to teach a grammar concept to his little sister. It will probably benefit him more than it will Krista—but that’s okay! It’s a great way to cement a concept in his mind as he introduces something new to his younger sibling. While you might not assign this “teaching time” every day, you may find huge benefits in scheduling it once or twice a week.

Example:

Mom: Krista, as part of your grammar lesson, Greg’s going to explain something new about punctuation. I need you to be a good listener, okay?

Krista: Okay.

Greg: I’m learning how to use this little punctuation line called a hyphen. You use it between two adjectives sometimes. Adjectives are words that describe things.

Krista: I know about adjectives!

Greg: Good. Just making sure. So, sometimes you have a sentence with two adjectives in front of a noun, like this: “I wore a warm winter coat.” Do you think we need a hyphen between “warm” and “winter”?

Krista: I don’t know.

Greg: No, because nothing changes when those adjectives work alone. You can either say “warm coat” or “winter coat.”  They’re both right. But, if I changed it to “I wore a button-down shirt,” then you would need a hyphen. That’s because those words can’t work alone to describe my shirt. You wouldn’t say “button shirt” or “down shirt.” That doesn’t even make sense!

Krista: I still don’t get it.

Greg: Okay … the hyphen’s job is to make two words work together as one adjective. Pretend you have a blue striped dress. What are your two adjectives?

Krista: Blue and striped.

Greg: Right! Now, if you want to explain that the stripes—not the dress—are blue, you would use a hyphen and write “blue-striped dress.” The hyphen makes the “blue” and “striped” work together. They become one adjective that describes your dress.

Krista: Hyphens are confusing!

Greg: That’s okay. It just takes practice. How about if we practice with a few more examples? I’ll write down some phrases. I want you to read each phrase, but leave out one of the first two words. If the meaning of the whole phrase changes, we’ll know we need to add a hyphen. Try this one.

Krista: Chocolate covered marshmallow … chocolate marshmallow … wait! The marshmallow isn’t chocolate. It’s white!

Greg: Right! And “covered marshmallow” doesn’t make sense either! That means it needs a hyphen: chocolate-covered marshmallow.

Which of these examples need hyphens?

1. peanut butter cookies   2. three hour flight   3. windy autumn day   4. yellow cotton socks   5. funny looking clown   6. sunny Saturday morning   7. brown haired girl   8. forest green paint

(Answers: 1–yes; 2–yes; 3–no; 4–no; 5–yes; 6–no; 7–yes; 8–yes)

Younger Children: Meet Your Editing Buddy!

WriteShop Primary Book B introduces the idea of using “editing buddies” to encourage young children in the writing and editing process. Choose a small doll, stuffed animal, or action figure that only makes an appearance when it’s time for your first, second, or third-grade child to edit a writing project. Any kid can step into the role of teacher when an editing buddy is there to listen!

Girls are often all too happy to “play school” with their dolls. With a child-sized chalkboard, your daughter will spend hours teaching Saige or Princess Anna how to write reports, poems, or friendly letters. She can also sit side-by-side with her doll as they “work together” to edit a story.

Your boys, however, might resist the idea of playing teacher. You’ll have to think outside the box to make “teaching time” fun! Perhaps your son loves playing army. Ask him to wear camouflage when it’s time for a writing assignment, and surprise him with a G.I. Joe action figure standing at attention on the school table or writing center. Explain that G.I. Joe has been slacking with his writing lately, and the country needs your son to hammer this soldier into shape!

Example:

Mom: Can you tell G.I. Joe why I underlined these three words in your writing assignment?

Child (in a tough, military voice): Because those words are BORING!

Mom: What should G.I. Joe do about that?

Child (yelling like a drill commander): Change them to words that aren’t BORING!

Mom: I’ll let you work on that for a few minutes while I’m on KP duty.

Child: Yes, Ma’am!

Have you ever used editing buddies in your writing lessons? Have you asked your kids to learn by teaching? Share your experience in the comments below!

Daniella DautrichDaniella Dautrich is a WriteShop alumna and a graduate of Hillsdale College. She and her husband fill their home with books on writing, literature, and computer science. Daniella also blogs at www.waterlilywriter.com.

Photo: Carissa Rogers, courtesy of Creative Commons

WriteShop Junior Book E – Coming soon!

Coming Soon! WriteShop Jr Book E: engaging, hands-on creative writing program to guide 4th-6th graders through the writing process

Quotation Marks“One of the best things about WriteShop is the confidence built through small steps, ‘line upon line, precept upon precept!’” –Tammy, Florida

WriteShop Junior Book E

Have you been eagerly awaiting the second level of the WriteShop Junior series? Though we’re not quite ready to start taking pre-orders, we did want to announce that Book E’s release is right around the corner!

Exciting news! But we need to be honest and say we don’t have a definite date yet. Originally, we thought Book E would be ready a year ago. Then we hoped to publish it in time for the current school year. With all its myriad pieces, the project has taken much longer than anticipated, and believe me, it’s nice to be nearing the finish line.

Details, Details

Where, exactly, are we in the publishing process? The Teacher’s Guide will be going to print in the next few weeks. The Student Activity Pack (over 130 pages) is still in various stages of final editing, but (hurrah!) it’s mostly finished. Our wonderful illustrator, Deborah Thomson, and graphic designer, Becky Thomson, have created top-notch worksheets you and your kids will just love. (Scroll down to download a FREE lesson!)

Quality is important to us. This means spending hours poring over details, proofreading and tweaking to make Book E a pleasure for moms to teach and a joy for children to use. If you can be patient for just a while longer, you’ll be rewarded for the wait with a stellar upper-elementary homeschool writing program. Author Nancy I. Sanders has done it again: WriteShop Junior Book E is absolutely incredible!

Parent Testimonials

Don’t just take it from us. The moms who test-drove WriteShop Junior Book E can say it way better:

Quotation Marks - gray

“My own feelings of inadequacy in the area of writing quickly faded away. Heartfelt thanks for creating WriteShop for moms like me!”
–Tammy, New Mexico

“My son says, ‘I love WriteShop! If you learn to do it right, writing’s not so scary.’ I don’t know what that says about my instruction in the past, but I know it says a lot about
WriteShop Junior!” –Jennifer, Illinois

“I am amazed at the progress my daughter has made
in her writing. Her confidence has increased, and it shows
in other areas, too.” –Hillary, Indiana

About WriteShop Junior

Appeals to Different Learning Styles

WriteShop Junior is a creative writing program that appeals to many learning styles. As with all WriteShop products, Book E helps you guide your kids through the steps of the writing process. To keep it fun for everyone, every lesson includes visual, auditory, and kinesthetic games and activities that teach and review key writing and self-editing skills. The best part? Your children will learn to love writing.

“I am so pleased … This was a great program—better than anything we’ve tried. It kept her engaged and interested. I think WriteShop Junior
is amazing!” –Mary, Pennsylvania

“My 5th grader really gained confidence in editing her own work. She also exclaimed often how much she loves WriteShop. This is a girl who really has not enjoyed writing before now.”
– Heather, New York

Appeals to Different Ages and Skill Levels

Whether you have a more advanced child or one who is just beginning, the program is flexible so children can work at their own level. Book E is recommended for 4th and 5th grade, but many of our test families used it successfully with 6th and 7th graders as well. Parents also appreciated being able to use the program with children who learn with difficulty:

I just wanted to take a moment to thank you.
“My son is very challenging to homeschool so I
am very surprised by his response to this curriculum. He LOVES it! The creativity WriteShop adds to each lesson is a plus for our family. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!” –Michelle M., Florida

“Love, love WriteShop. I think it ‘fits’ every child … even my high-functioning special needs boys. Excellent product!”
–Deborah, Texas

What Kinds of Writing Does Book E Teach?

Book E has 10 lessons (chapters). Most parents choose the schedule that spreads each lesson over three weeks (so, 30 weeks to complete Book E). Lessons 7-10 introduce 5-paragraph writing.

  1. Fables (Character and Voice)
  2. Humor (Humor and Dialogue)
  3. Adventure (Scene and Setting)
  4. Science Fiction (Blending Fiction with Scientific Fact)
  5. Mystery (Elements of a Mystery)
  6. Concrete Poetry (Creating a Shape Poem)
  7. Personal Narrative (Intro to 5-Paragraph Writing)
  8. Descriptive Narrative (Describing Three Items or Events)
  9. Book Report (Responding to Literature)
  10. Nonfiction Report (Collecting Facts)

Want a sneak peek? Download a Sample Lesson from WriteShop Junior Book E. (If you would like to share this lesson with others, link to this post. Do not link directly to the PDF file. Feel free to print this PDF file for your own personal use. Please do not sell or host this file anywhere else.)

. . . . .

Are you looking forward to seeing Book E? We’d love to hear your thoughts! 

Choosing a writing program for teenagers

In choosing a writing program for teenagers, look for lessons that walk students through the writing process from brainstorming to final draft.

Recently, we peeked at WriteShop Primary and WriteShop Junior for elementary ages. But if you’re homeschooling for junior high or high school, you’ll want to consider WriteShop I and II, a writing program for teenagers.

WriteShop I and II – Middle and High School

The flagship WriteShop program sets teens on a course for success, guiding them through each step of the writing process.

I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful your program is. The improvement in my daughter’s writing is phenomenal.” —Sandy, North Carolina

Teacher’s Manual for WriteShop I & II

Award-winning WriteShop takes the guesswork out of teaching writing. The Teacher’s Manual helps you teach writing with confidence.

Containing daily lesson plans and schedules for both WriteShop I and II, the Teacher’s Manual offers tips for editing and grading, answer keys, student samples, and supplemental writing activities, as well as dozens of essay topics for WriteShop assignments.

I love WriteShop. I used to feel so inadequate teaching writing but now I am confident they are learning all the tools they will need for High School level writing.” —Heather, Montana

Student Workbooks

Assignments give students a chance to practice various kinds of writing, including creative, expository, and narrative.

  • WriteShop I gives your 6th-10th grader the basics of descriptive, informative, and narrative writing.
  • For grades 8-12, WriteShop II introduces descriptive narration, point of view, narrative voice, persuasion, and essay writing.

Lessons focus on clarity, conciseness, colorful vocabulary, and sentence variety, with a strong emphasis placed on the editing process. With each lesson, students learn and practice new skills, apply them to their current writing project, and edit and revise the composition several times.

The consumable workbooks contain Skill Builders, word banks, detailed lesson instructions, editing checklists, and grading forms. TM required.

First-timers should begin with the Basic Set or Starter Pack.

Someone asked me what I didn’t like about the program, and I couldn’t think of anything.” —Lynée Ward, iCHED

WriteShop also makes a great writing program choice for homeschool classes, co-ops, and private schools. As you consider curriculum decisions for the upcoming year, let us know how we can help!

Photo credit: Karah Fredricks. Used by permission.

Choosing an elementary writing program


FOR MANY homeschoolers, summer is the time of year to scour websites and homeschooling catalogs in search of just the right curriculum products for your children’s varying needs. So many subjects, so many choices! What to pick for science, math, history, language arts?

As you consider your purchases for writing and composition, here’s a brief overview of WriteShop— products that can help you feel more equipped as a teacher while giving your kids a leg up in the success department!

WriteShop Primary – Grades K-3

An introduction to early writing skills, WriteShop Primary gives young children tools to experience success as they develop the ability to plan and write stories.

Whether you have a more advanced child or one who is just beginning, this program’s flexibility lets your young students work at their own level. Pre-writers can even do all the activities orally!

Taylor has already asked if we can buy the other two books in the series … This really just speaks volumes for this program.” –Chris, Armyof5

Teacher’s Guide

Gently introduce writing through guided writing practice, favorite picture books, hands-on activities, and crafty writing projects. Extra challenges appear throughout each lesson to keep the interest of a more advanced child.

It’s also fun! Most writing programs seem kind of boring to me, but Write Shop Primary includes fun games, visuals, activities, crafts and books that help to enhance the writing experience.” –Erica, Confessions of a Homeschooler

Activity Set Worksheet Pack

WriteShop Primary Book BIn addition to your Teacher’s Guide, you will need a reproducible Activity Set Worksheet Pack to round out the program. Illustrated activity pages introduce or reinforce writing skills taught in each lesson. The pack also contains Evaluation Charts for tracking your child’s progress.

Not all children need to begin with WriteShop Primary Book A! We can help you choose the best starting level

WriteShop Junior – Grades 3-5

WriteShop Junior eases your upper-elementary students into writing. Engaging games and activities teach and review important writing and self-editing skills while keeping it fun for everyone. (Note: Only WriteShop Junior Book D is available at this time.)

Book D was so easy to teach, I couldn’t possibly fail! The lessons were concise and fun, which made my reluctant writer start to come out of his shell. His writing skills have come a long way—and so have mine.” –Kelley, SD

Teacher’s Guide

Easy-to-use lesson plans and schedules help you lead and guide your children through the steps of the writing process. WriteShop Junior exposes them to genre, fiction and nonfiction writing, and journal writing and introduces exciting new brainstorming and editing tools that truly motivate young writers!

Activity Pack with Fold-N-Go™ Grammar

Each 2-pack contains BOTH the Student Worksheet Pack AND Fold-N-Go™ Grammar Pack.

Student Worksheet Pack: Activity pages your child will need to complete portions of each lesson. These worksheets introduce WriteShop Junior Activity Pack w/Fold-N-Go Grammar, Book D - Print Editionyour child to writing skills such as brainstorming and self-editing.

Fold-N-Go™ Grammar Pack: Fun reference tools with simple exercises that introduce or review grammar rules and essential writing skills. Printed on brightly colored paper, pages are assembled inside a file folder to form 10 large flipbooks, one for each lesson in each WriteShop Junior book. {The Level 1 Fold-N-Go Grammar Pack is also available to purchase separately.}

The Fold-N-Go packs are really what I loved the most about the student part of this curriculum. It was the ‘hook.’” –Christina, I Have Been Blessed

Time-Saver Pack

For parents and teachers who appreciate shortcuts, the {optional} Time-Saver Pack includes a number of sturdy, ready-made props for activities featured throughout Book D, such as game cards and spinners.

If you prefer to make your own, that’s okay too! You’ll find instructions for each activity in the Teacher’s Guide.

WriteShop Junior SUMMER SPECIAL!

Get a FREE Time-Saver Pack ($14 value) when you purchase both Book D Teacher and Student books! Visit our virtual booth at HomeschoolConvention.com and look for the Summer Special banner. Hurry–Summer Special ends soon (offer valid thru August 15, 2012).

 

. . . . .

Now that you’ve had an overview of our younger-level writing programs, come back tomorrow for a look at WriteShop I and II for junior high and high school!

Photo credit: Karah Fredricks. Used by permission.

Friendly letter boogie

“The kids loved the Friendly Letter Boogie—that was a fun entertaining way to make the lesson stick. I still catch them doing it.” –Jennifer, NC

The early elementary years are the perfect time to introduce children to writing a friendly letter.

Part of writing a letter includes learning to format it properly. With all those headings and greetings and signatures, this can prove complicated for young children, who are still just learning about writing sentences and paragraphs.

That’s why mnemonics, songs, fingerplays, and motion activities are so valuable at this age—they reinforce trickier concepts, aid children in learning new skills, and help with recall.

Doin’ the “Friendly Letter Boogie”

Your children will enjoy this movement activity to help them remember the parts of a friendly letter.

Heading. At the very top of a friendly letter is the heading. The date goes here. Ask your child to pat her head to remember that the heading comes first.

Greeting. Second comes the greeting, such as “Dear Grandma.” Extend and shake hands to “greet” each other.

Body. Third is the body of the letter. Invite your child to wiggle her body to remember that the body of the letter comes next.

Closing. At the bottom of the letter is the closing, where she’ll write: “Love,” “Your friend,” or “Sincerely.” Tell your child to close her feet together for the closing.

Signature. To help your child remember to include her signature at the bottom of the letter, have her sign her name on the floor with her foot.

Isn’t this a fun way to practice and remember? Each day that you work on writing letters together, have your children do the Friendly Letter Boogie. In no time, they’ll have mastered the steps of formatting a basic letter!

. . . . .

WriteShop Primary, an early-elementary writing curriculum for homeschoolers, is filled with games and activities such as the Friendly Letter Boogie—fun ways to help you introduce important skills to your youngest writers.

Photo credits: Karah Fredricks. Used by permission.

WriteShop Junior Book D giveaway!

The long, long, L-O-N-G wait is almost over. Yes! WriteShop Junior Book D is at the printer, and we’ll begin taking preorders in just a few days. But before that happens, we want to do a fun giveaway and give you a chance to share the excitement.

A Peek at WriteShop Junior

Author Nancy I. Sanders has done it again! After creating the amazing WriteShop Primary series, Nancy has now written WriteShop Junior for upper-elementary students.

First in the series, Book D eases your 3rd-5th graders into writing. It exposes children to genre, fiction and nonfiction writing, and journal writing, and introduces exciting new brainstorming and editing tools that truly motivate young writers!

“To say that my sons were reluctant writers would be an understatement… [but] they progressed from ‘once upon a time, the end,’ to completing stories with a beginning, middle, and end.” –Rolayne, IN

“Book D was so easy to teach, I couldn’t possibly fail! The lessons were concise and fun, which made my reluctant writer start to come out of his shell. His writing skills have come a long way—and so have mine.” –Kelley, SD

Start with Book D if your child has not yet grasped punctuation or grammar skills and still needs help planning, organizing, and adding details to a story. (More reluctant 3rd graders should probably start with WriteShop Primary Book C.)

WriteShop Junior Components

1. Book D Teacher’s Guide (Required)

Easy-to-use lesson plans help you lead and guide your kiddos through the steps of the writing process.

2. Book D Activity Pack (Required)

This clever and convenient 2-pack* contains both the Student Worksheet Pack and the Level 1 Fold-N-Go™ Grammar Pack.

*Student Worksheet Pack: Activity pages your child will need to complete portions of each lesson. These worksheets introduce your child to writing skills such as brainstorming and self-editing.

“My son is enjoying the process, having fun, and looking forward to doing the activities each day. That’s a giant step for him!” – Teresa, WA

*Fold-N-Go™ Grammar Pack: Fun reference tools with simple exercises that introduce or review grammar rules and essential writing skills. Printed on brightly colored paper, pages are assembled inside a file folder to form 10 large flipbooks, one for each lesson in each WriteShop Junior book.

“Fold-N-Gos have been a wonderful opportunity to review and learn grammar concepts. If that weren’t enough, they’re fun and something my daughter looks forward to. I love that!” –Heidi, NY

3. Time-Saver Pack (Optional)

For parents and teachers who appreciate shortcuts, the Time-Saver Pack includes a number of sturdy, ready-made props for activities featured throughout Book D, such as game cards and spinners. If you prefer to make your own, you’ll find instructions for each activity in the Teacher’s Guide.

“Thank you so much for designing the cards and spinners. The less time I have to spend in prep, the more time we have for learning!” –Sandy, Texas

Enter the Giveaway!

We want to give one lucky winner a complete WriteShop Junior Book D curriculum package. Simply leave a comment below telling why you (or your children!) need Book D.

Details

  • The giveaway will be open until midnight EST Thursday October 27, 2011. Winner will be announced Friday October 28.
  • Share the love! You can get up to 3 extra entries by posting on Facebook, blogging, or tweeting a link to the giveaway. You must leave a separate comment for EACH entry (4 entries max per person). Winner will be chosen at random using random.org.
  • This giveaway is offered to US & Canada residents only.
  • This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
  • IMPORTANT: In order to enter the drawing, you must leave a comment on THIS post. To leave a comment, scroll to the bottom of the post. (If you are reading this via RSS, you will need to visit the actual blog to post a comment.)

Pre-order Book D and Get a FREE Gift!

Later this week, we will send a newsletter announcing pre-orders for Book D. WriteShop News subscribers who pre-order through the link in the email will receive a valuable BONUS item: the Book D Time-Saver Pack ($13.95 value)! Not a subscriber yet? Sign up for our newsletter here.

Learn more about Book D

WriteShop Junior book covers: Everything’s a process!

The children who are beta testing the upcoming WriteShop Junior series have been learning about the writing process:

  • Brainstorming
  • Rough draft
  • Editing and revising
  • Final draft

They’ve enjoyed watching our book covers go through this process too, and it’s helped them realize that everything worth doing takes time.

So let’s follow our talented artist, Deborah Thomson, as she designs a book cover for us!

Brainstorming

At the initial concept stage, we toss around ideas and settle on a “woodland animals” theme. Deborah throws together some sketches.

The characters are cute! But they’re also a little young for our target age. So we talk about tweaking the drawings so that they’re more suitable for older elementary ages.

Mixed Reviews

The reviews are mixed. Some of our test families love the sketches, others think they’re still too young-looking. We talk with Deborah about creating characters that reflect some of the genres we’re teaching, and she goes back to the drawing board.

Rough Draft

The excitement is starting to build! The animals have taken on an older look. There’s detective rabbit for our mystery theme. And a mad-scientist goose for our science fiction theme. We’re ready for more feedback, so we run these by the families who are beta testing WriteShop Junior.

The verdict? We’re getting warmer! It’s time for a concept cover!

Editing and Revising

Final Draft

Bingo! We have a winner! We give Deborah the go-ahead and she creates the full-color final cover for WriteShop Junior Book F (the third book in our series).

And here’s a peek at the cover for Book D.

And Book E!

I’m wild about our new book covers! Aren’t you?

We would love to publish the first book, WriteShop Junior Book D, within the next couple of months. Praying every detail falls into place!

WriteShop and the 6 Traits of Effective Writing

From time to time, parents ask us whether WriteShop aligns with the Six Traits of Effective Writing.

6 + 1® Trait Writing is a model for teaching and assessing writing. Originally, it was intended less as a teaching tool and more as an evaluation tool to help teachers identify student strengths and weaknesses.

Although WriteShop wasn’t developed according to the Six Traits model, our products do offer comparable tools to teach, edit, and evaluate your children’s writing. After all, our goal is to help you become a more effective teacher, and these skills and tools just make sense—no matter what name they go by!

Creating Good Writers

Students become good writers through modeling, discussion, and plenty of practice. But most parents—even those who are intuitive writers—need specific guidelines and rubrics to help them teach writing systematically and effectively, including:

  • Explicit instruction for how to teach the writing process (along with specific writing skills).
  • Guided writing (modeling) and discussion. 
  • Step-by-step student directions.
  • Practical application of grammar and spelling to writing.
  • Checklists, rubrics, and other tools to help edit and evaluate writing.

WriteShop and the Six Traits

Though our products may not fully align with the Six Traits model, both WriteShop I & II and WriteShop Primary give you the instruction and guidance you need to teach writing with confidence!

However, two favorite WriteShop tools—the Writing Skills Checklists and the Composition Evaluation forms—do meet many criteria of the Six Traits model.

The elements of the Writing Skills Checklist allow you to give your junior high or high school student valuable suggestions and a chance to improve his or her paper. And the Composition Evaluation form provides a rubric for effective, accurate grading.

Each of the Six Traits (listed below) is followed by specific elements WriteShop I and II look for in a composition.

Ideas

The main focus or purpose for writing

  • Did the student follow directions for the assignment?
  • Did he include lesson-specific content?
  • Did he support his ideas with details?

Organization

The internal structure of the writing

  • Did the student use appropriate topic and closing sentences?
  • Did he use transition words when necessary?
  • Did he communicate clearly?

Voice

The sense that the writer is speaking directly to the reader

  • Did he write in the correct narrative voice for the assignment?

Word Choice

The use of concrete, colorful, precise vocabulary to communicate meaning

  • Did the student use vivid, active, colorful words?
  • Did he avoid vague, repeated, or overused words?
  • Did the student limit use of passive voice (“to be” words)?

Sentence Fluency

The flow and readability of the text; effective use of sentence variations

  • Did the student communicate clearly and avoid awkwardness?
  • Did he use a number of interesting sentence variations?
  • Did he use his tenses properly?

Conventions

The mechanical correctness, including spelling, punctuation, and grammar

  • Did the student adhere to conventions of form?
  • Did he correctly use punctuation, capitalization, and grammar?
  • Did he spell correctly?
  • Did he use correct sentence structure?

WriteShop Primary materials for kindergarten to third grade also align well with the Six Traits model, both for teaching and evaluating. For more information about WriteShop products, visit www.writeshop.com.

We’ve got (more) mail!

It’s always so encouraging to open up my inbox each day and find a glowing review or happy testimonial from a homeschooling mom who’s been using WriteShop with her children. It’s been nearly ten years since we first published WriteShop I and II, and believe me, I never dreamed the results would be so far-reaching.

I’d love to share some of these comments with you. Be blessed!

WriteShop I and II

“Thank you so much for a fabulous two years!” ~Mindy

“Kudos to WriteShop! I have found your program to be the most clearly laid out program that I have ever used. My son and his friends went from whining about a writing project to being capable of producing a great essay in a short period of time. Best of all, they now see themselves as writers. I simply cannot believe the difference.” ~Kristel

Write Shop has been a wonderful program for us. I don’t think my dyslexic daughter would have ever learned to write without it!” ~Dena

“I’m using this program with my 13-year old son. I used it with my freshman-in-college son also. I believe WriteShop gave my oldest son amazing writing skills; in fact, he aspires to be a writer. Thanks for putting out an amazing curriculum!” ~Roseann

“We have used your products for three years and love them!” ~Lisa

“Let me tell you what a wonderful writing program you’ve created in WriteShop I & II. I used it with my son, who received a journalism scholarship to Samford University in Birmingham, AL … Your material covered every reasonable thing he needed to know about sound, solid writing and enabled me to objectively assess his work. I recommend WriteShop to everyone who talks to me about writing skills.” ~Mary

“WriteShop is a Godsend to us…Thank you so much!” ~Linda

“I love your program! I have taught in the public schools, and I have also homeschooled, so I have seen my fair share of writing curriculum, but this is the best. It’s not hard to teach from the teacher’s point of view, it’s not hard to learn from the student’s point of view, and—it’s fun! Plus, thank you for the twenty-two pages of word lists—they’re fabulous! …Your program has answered many prayers.” ~Sharon

“You should call this program Writing for Children Who Have Mothers Who Didn’t Pay Attention in High School. It’s just so easy to teach!” ~Becky

WriteShop Primary

Book A

“My son and I have already dived right into Book A—he’ll be starting Gr. 1 in the fall. I have been very impressed so far at the fun we’re having and how well this has been put together.” ~Dianne

“I am working through your WriteShop Primary Book A with my 2nd grader. He loves this program. He told me that it is his favorite subject. He loves the creative part of dictating the story and illustrating it each day.” ~Tami,

“This is the best writing experience my kids and I have ever had. They are writing!!! My little one (Kindergarten) is writing as well as my 2nd grader and both are doing so much better than I ever expected.” ~Mia

Book B

“A special thanks to the dedicated staff at WriteShop for a wonderful curriculum! We really enjoyed using WriteShop [Primary] together. It was challenging and rewarding, and also held his interest because of the subject matter and creative way that it was presented.” ~Julia

“My son progressed in his ability to organize his thoughts before starting to write, and he learned the importance of choosing the right words to express his thoughts…. I love the way the curriculum guided him through the writing process in small steps, and the way it offered me lots of options to tailor it to him.” ~Debbie

Book C

“My daughter, who has always loved to write, feels like she has gotten much better at writing paragraphs. I would agree with her! She’s never lacked confidence, but just needed some guidance and this program has helped her tremendously…. She loved this program so much that she has been writing paragraphs on her own during her free time!” ~Beth

“I am thrilled with my 10 yo’s progress…. This last project was so encouraging!! It was a ‘Yes! This is why I am homeschooling’ moment…. Now he is much more OK with writing on blank page—once we stop and do the brainstorming! Since I’ve used your other products I must say—you do such a great job of breaking it all down—making the end project attainable. It’s fun to see kids even at this level able to make so much progress!” ~Sharie

Read more testimonials here.

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Visit our website at writeshop.com to learn more about WriteShop I, WriteShop II, and WriteShop Primary.

Photo of boy © 2009 Kim Kautzer. All rights reserved. 

FAQ: Teaching spelling

Another question from the WriteShop mailbag . . . 

Q:  I am very interested in WriteShop Primary. I love the layout of the lessons and the help you offer the parent. I see that it has a spelling component, but would I need to supplement that?

A:  Spelling is taught in both WriteShop Primary Book B and Book C. WriteShop Primary encourages individualized spelling. Instead of focusing on a prescribed list of words from a spelling book, your child will learn to spell the words he tends to use in his own writing. This is a more natural, practical approach to spelling. You don’t need a separate spelling curriculum when using Books B and C.

Young children often spell “by ear” as they try to write phonetically. Books B and C introduce them to simple reference tools and spelling games they can use to check and practice spelling.

Here are a few examples:

Super Speller!

The Super Speller! helps your child become more aware of familiar sight words and other words he uses frequently. You can think of it as his own personal spelling reference. As you work closely with him, you’ll spot the words he can and can’t spell correctly. When you note a misspelled word, you can add it to the Super Speller! To reinforce the importance of using standard spelling, your child will be directed to use his Super Speller! throughout Books B and C.

Can of Words

This is a fun Book B activity that helps the child practice his spelling words.

Labeling Household Objects

In Book B, you’re encouraged to write common words on index cards and tape them around the house: door, lamp, floor, rug, desk, book, etc. This helps your child become familiar with the spelling of these everyday objects.

Spinner Spelling Game

Introduced in Book C, this is an engaging game with variations that gives children spelling practice.  

Spelling Dictionary

The child will make a personal spelling dictionary in Book C. This is yet another tool we use to reinforce standard spelling.

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Spelling tools and games are among the many fun and creative activities WriteShop Primary uses to reinforce simple writing skills at the primary level. Learn more by visiting www.writeshop.com.

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