Entries Tagged 'WriteShop Primary' ↓
January 23rd, 2012 — WriteShop Primary, Writing Games & Activities
“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.
May 25th, 2010 — Encouragement, Reviews, WriteShop, WriteShop Primary
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
“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
“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
“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.
. . . . .
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.
May 11th, 2010 — Grammar & Spelling, WriteShop Primary
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:
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.
The child will make a personal spelling dictionary in Book C. This is yet another tool we use to reinforce standard spelling.
. . . . .
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.
February 15th, 2010 — Brainstorming, Teaching Writing, WriteShop Primary, Writing Lessons
Don’t you just love watching your kids develop a sense of humor? I get such a kick out of the things my grandchildren find funny. I wish I could bottle up every silly story, giggle, and laugh and save them for a rainy day!
Once children reach age six or seven, they’re ready to start having fun with humor in their writing. Even if your child is a bit on the serious side, here’s a brainstorming activity designed to help kids think about ideas for writing a funny story.
Read some funny picture books together. Depending on your child’s age, you can find some great funny-bone ticklers out there!
Since your goal is simply to introduce humor in writing, use this time to read short books with simple yet humorous themes, even if your child’s reading level is more advanced. Here are a few suggestions:
Prepare a blank comic strip for your child to fill in by dividing a piece of computer paper into six equal blank squares to resemble a comic strip. Make the squares as large as possible, perhaps making two rows of three.
Draw a simple story web on a sheet of paper. Draw a circle in the middle and six lines extending out from the circle to resemble a web.
Brainstorm for a Humorous Story
If your child is not familiar with comic strips, show her some examples from the newspaper or www.comics.com.
1. Choose a main character. Ask your child to choose a main character for her funny story (animals, birds, or dinosaurs make good subjects).
2. Think of a story idea that features the main character. If your child can’t decide on an original funny story idea, encourage her to use an idea from a comic or humorous story she already knows.
3. Fill in the story web.
- Write the topic in the center circle of the story web.
- Write the details of the story on the story web. Gently prompt her to suggest the details by asking:
Who is the main character of this story?
What happened in the beginning of the story?
What happened next?
Tell me something really funny that happened.
How did the story end?
- Write down ideas for a title on the story web.
Draw the Comic Strip
Your child will not need to do any writing for this activity.
- Give her the blank comic strip you prepared. Ask her to draw one picture in each frame using the details from the story web.
- Since this is the brainstorming stage, discourage her from drawing the pictures in detail. Simple stick figures are best.
. . . . .
This is just one of the many fun and creative projects and activities WriteShop Primary uses to reinforce simple writing skills at the primary level. In Book B, children learn to write a funny story using the steps of the writing process, beginning with pre-writing and brainstorming and ending with a published final draft.
February 1st, 2010 — WriteShop Primary
No matter the curriculum, whether math, penmanship, or writing, picking the best starting level for your child can challenge the most seasoned homeschooler—especially when said child doesn’t exactly fit a grade-specific mold.
WriteShop Primary is no exception—you may need more help picking a starting level than the placement chart offers. The following lists identify specific skills within a range of ages, making it easier for you to choose the very best place to begin the program.
Start with Book A if your 5- to 7-year-old is not yet able to:
- Identify beginning, middle, and end in a story.
- Complete predictable sentence starters.
- Identify and use punctuation marks at the end of a sentence.
- Begin a sentence with a capital letter.
- Choose an appropriate title.
- Think of simple ways to improve a story.
- Read and write color words.
- Recognize words that rhyme.
NOTE: Reading and writing skills are NOT required for Book A students. All work may be done orally.
WriteShop Primary Book A (print version)
WriteShop Primary Book A (e-book version)
Start with Book B if your 6- to 8-year-old is not yet able to:
- Identify or use paragraph form and indentation.
- Use graphic organizers to plan a story.
- Include a beginning, middle, and end in his story.
- Figure out how to add more details to a story.
- Organize a story to include a problem and its solution.
- Choose story endings.
- Write or dictate a friendly letter.
- Write or dictate about something that has happened to him.
- Retell nursery rhymes and fairy tales in his own words.
- Identify the parts of a friendly letter.
- Identify words that rhyme.
- Use standard spelling tools such as a dictionary.
WriteShop Primary Book B (print version)
WriteShop Primary Book B (e-book version)
Start with Book C if your 7- to 9-year-old is not yet able to:
- Plan the main ingredients of a story before beginning to write.
- Ask who, what, when, where, and why? in order to add story details.
- Organize story details.
- Write entries in a personal journal.
- Use descriptive words in his writing.
- Write a short nonfiction article.
- Summarize the contents of familiar books.
- Collect research facts about a specific topic.
- Write a simple, short report with introduction, body, and closing.
- Use standard spelling.
- Check his own work for correct spelling and punctuation.
WriteShop Primary Book C (print version)
WriteShop Primary Book C (e-book version)
October 20th, 2009 — WriteShop Primary
At long last, we’re excited to announce the release of the final book of our WriteShop Primary series. Yes—WriteShop Primary Book C has arrived!
About WriteShop Primary
WriteShop Primary introduces young children to the steps of the writing process using engaging activities, crafts, and picture books. The program creates an environment that promotes a joy of learning in young students and helps them experience success as they develop the ability to write. Whether you have a more advanced child or one who is just beginning, this program is flexible so children can work at their own level.
Who can use Book C?
Book C is recommended for second and third grade, but many of our test families also used it successfully with reluctant fourth, fifth, and even sixth graders. Parents also appreciated being able to use the book with children who learn with difficulty.
In Book C, children learn to:
- Plan, create, and publish simple stories, articles, and reports with parent help.
- Choose the main ingredients of a story before beginning to write.
- Learn to ask who, what, when, where, why?
- Use different graphic organizers to plan a story.
- Write entries in a personal journal.
- Describe an object, a person, and a place.
- Write a nonfiction article.
- Write a book report.
- Learn to use research to write a short report.
- “Publish” stories through projects or crafts.
Other skills introduced in Book C
- Using standard spelling
- Identifying describing words
- Using a simple self-editing checklist
- Summarizing contents of familiar books
- Collecting research facts about a specific topic
- Using computer publishing software
Here’s what parents have been saying about Book C
“The lessons were simple enough to build my son’s confidence,
yet challenging enough that he was always learning something new.” –Tammy, Florida
“I appreciate that I could teach three of my children at the same time and see each one’s writing improve. It’s beneficial for students with a wide variety of writing skills—non-writers, reluctant writers, disorganized writers—even enthusiastically prolific writers!” –Beth, South Carolina
“I am amazed at the progress my son made in such a short time. His ability to put his thoughts together in an organized way has improved dramatically. WriteShop Primary was very easy to teach. I loved that the lessons were easy to adapt to different learning styles.” –Bonnie, TX
Exclusive Introductory Offer for Blog Readers Only
Between October 20-31, you can order Book C, purchasing either a physical copy or the e-book version—and get 10% off!
Just leave a comment below and we’ll send you a coupon code by email entitling you to a 10% discount on Book C and the accompanying Activity Pack for Book C! (Good only at WriteShop. Offer ends October 31. )
Buy the physical book (print version)
Buy the e-book (PDF download)
July 5th, 2009 — WriteShop Primary
Today is the last day to pre-order WriteShop Primary Book B and get a 10% discount. Offer ends at midnight Pacific time. Hurry!
Get your coupon code here.
February 26th, 2009 — WriteShop Primary, Writing Games & Activities
Reading and writing are intertwined—and reading picture books with simple story lines can contribute to helping your K-3rd grader become a better writer.
Every story has certain key elements:
Try tossing some pepperoni!
I’m not talking about a food fight, but a fun game you can play with two or more players. Here’s how.
Toss the Pepperoni
Prepare the Game
Make the game board: Decorate a large piece of poster board with paint or markers to look like a giant pizza. Cut out the round pizza.
Make the game pieces: Prepare “pepperoni slices” as game pieces to toss onto the pizza. For each player, cut out seven 4-inch circles from sturdy cardboard. To keep the pepperoni pieces separate, use a different color cardboard for each player. (Alternatively, each player can color one side of his game pieces or mark them with a sticker. )Label each set of pieces with the following words, one word per piece: character, setting, problem, solution, beginning, middle, end.
Read a Picture Book
Choose a picture book to read to your child. Make sure there’s a storyline, not merely words or phrases. When finished:
- See if your child can identify the main character of the story.
- Ask her to describe the story’s setting—when and where the events took place.
- Ask her to identify the problem and solution.
- Discuss the beginning, the middle, and the end of the story.
Play the Game
Play a game together with your child to help her remember the important parts of the picture book you just read: character, setting, problem, solution, beginning, middle, and end.
- Place the giant pizza game board on the floor. Use a jump rope or piece of yarn to mark a line where players must stand when attempting to toss their game pieces onto the pizza.
- Take turns tossing game pieces like Frisbees. Before tossing a ”pepperoni,” the player must read the word on the circle and give an example from the picture book that corresponds with the word. For instance, before your child tosses her game piece that is labeled “character,” she must name one of the characters in the story.
- The player with the most pepperoni slices on the pizza at the end wins the game.
. . . . .
“Toss the Pepperoni” is just one of the many fun and creative activities WriteShop Primary uses to reinforce simple writing skills at the primary level. This game appears in Book B.
November 4th, 2008 — Brainstorming, WriteShop Primary
Brain freeze, blank paper syndrome, and fear of writing often have their roots in the early elementary grades. Unless a child is taught from a young age that writing is the process—and her story is, in fact, merely the end product of that process—she is well on her way to a lifetime of writing paralysis.
Brainstorming unlocks ideas
A key ingredient of the creative writing process, brainstorming is fundamental to preparing the child to write. With primary students, this is usually a shared experience, guided by mom or teacher. Make this a fun, low-key time for chatting about ideas for writing. And to take the pressure off, let the child talk while you jot down her thoughts.
Before beginning a writing project, brainstorm with your child for ideas related to that day’s topic. You and your child should use brainstorming to:
- Generate possible topic ideas for writing.
- Determine things to write about her chosen topic.
Whether your child wants to write about a favorite toy, yesterday’s visit to the fire station, or a make-believe flying car, brainstorm with her to help her unlock ideas. Even within her small world, she can talk about what she observes around her, what she knows in her head, or what her budding imagination can dream up. You’ll both appreciate this time of brainstorming and jotting down words and thoughts before actually beginning to write.
At the early elementary level, brainstorming:
- Helps your child focus her attention on the topic.
- Generates a number of different ideas.
- Encourages your child to share her ideas and opinions without fear of criticism.
- Shows your child that she will have more to say during writing time if she has already given her topic some thought.
Ways to brainstorm with primary children
List of Ideas. The most basic form of brainstorming is to make a list, writing ideas on a tablet or whiteboard. Keep this list handy throughout the rest of the lesson to help spark ideas during the writing stage and extended activities. Brainstorm to create a list of topic ideas, or brainstorm to make a list of things your child can write about her chosen topic.
Story Web. Draw a simple story web with a circle in the middle and five or six lines extending out from the circle to resemble a spider web. In the center of the circle, write the topic. On each of the lines, list the information that supports the topic. Click here to see an example of a story web variation.
Story Idea Card File. This tool helps you and your child brainstorm for topics. Using index cards, glue a small magazine or catalog picture to one side and write the topic on the opposite side. Store cards in a small file box labeled “Story Ideas.” Start by making about 10 cards.
During the brainstorming session, take out the index cards. Look at the cards together and read their labels. Ask your student to choose four cards (topics) she might like to write about. If she wants to write about a topic that isn’t in the box, help her make a new index card by gluing a picture on the front and writing the label on the back. Finally, encourage your child to choose one card as the topic for her next story.
Graphic Organizer. Graphic organizers come in many varieties. When your child is writing a story, it will help her to stay on task if you create a simple graphic organizer to list ideas for the introduction, body, and closing of her story. Label the graphic organizer as follows, leaving spaces for writing as you brainstorm together:
Ask your child to think of story ideas about her topic. Ask questions to help her come up with a beginning, middle, and end. Talk about possible titles and write these ideas on your graphic organizer.
. . . . .
Sound like fun? If so, you’ll find these and many, many more ideas in WriteShop Primary, our newest series targeting primary-aged children. The first book, WriteShop Primary Book A, is currently available for early learners in K-2nd grades. Visit www.writeshop.com to learn more!
September 25th, 2008 — Publishing Project Ideas, WriteShop Primary, Writing Games & Activities
Publish Your Child’s Stories
ONE OF the most encouraging and rewarding experiences for a young author is to see her work published. As a second and third grader, I remember how much I loved to find my own little stories and poems published in our school’s newsletter.
WriteShop Primary gives your student the opportunity to publish her writing project as a book or other art form that she can share with others.
She might make a story kite to fly around the house as she “reads” it to Daddy; create a paper-plate face book; or turn her story into an accordian-folded train. (Visit our website for more info about WriteShop Primary, our delightful parent-guided writing program for K-3rd graders. It’s filled with fun, engaging activities to promote a love for writing!)
Make a Story Pocket
Featured in Book A, story pockets make wonderful publishing tools, and they’re perfect for storing and displaying a child’s early stories and drawings. Here’s how to make one.
Short Pocket: Use one paper plate. Cut it in half. Place both pieces face to face and staple together around the curved edges. The top straight edges remain open to form a pocket.
Tall Pocket: Use two paper plates. Leave one plate whole. Cut the second plate in two, discarding one of the halves. Staple the half plate to the full-size plate to create a tall pocket with a high back.
- Allow time for the child to use crayons, markers, paint, or stickers to decorate the paper plate so it matches the theme of the story.
- Fold the story and store it inside the pocket.
- (Optional) Have your child draw a picture of each object in the story on cardboard, poster board, or tagboard. Cut out the tagboard pieces and store them in the pocket along with the story.
- Encourage your child to read her story to family members or a friend, pulling out the corresponding pieces from the pocket and placing them on the table as she shares.
- These pockets also make great holders for holiday greeting cards!
. . . . .
Copyright © 2008 Kim Kautzer. All rights reserved.