Frequently Asked Questions
About WriteShop

WriteShop® Primary
WriteShop® Junior
 
 
WriteShop® I & II
Teaching WriteShop in Co-ops or Classes
 

WriteShop® Primary
What makes WriteShop Primary unique?
WriteShop Primary is able to teach even the youngest child how to plan and write (or dictate) a simple story.
Because the hands-on games and activities appeal to the way young children learn best, they’re able to grasp and apply simple writing concepts while having lots of fun along the way!   
WriteShop Primary

Back to the Top

Should we always start with Book A?

It’s important not to bore an older child by making her do kindergarten-level work to learn a concept that later books will revisit in a more age-appropriate way. This Placement Guide will help, but if you’re debating between two levels, base your decision on your student’s ability to think and reason, rather than her ability to write independently.

Back to the Top

What if I’m teaching more than one child?

You may be able to teach them together using either Book B or C, depending on their ages. Activities called “Smaller Steps” and “Flying Higher” allow you to quickly and easily tailor each lesson to children who are working at different levels.
If your young ones are too far apart in age or ability to work at the same level, WriteShop Primary makes it possible to teach two or more children using different books. For example, you might have a:

  • Kindergartener in Book A and a second grader in Book B.
  • First grader in Book B and a third grader in Book C.

Each Teacher’s Guide includes a scheduling plan for teaching two different levels in a way that neither you nor your children will feel overwhelmed.

Back to the Top

My child is behind in reading and writing skills. Should I wait a year or longer?

The beauty of WriteShop Primary is its adaptability to meet children where they are. Reading and writing skills aren’t necessary, even for Books B and C. Every level gives you the option of acting as your child’s “scribe,” writing down the words for him as you talk about ideas orally. As his skills develop, you can share the pencil, letting him write the words he knows.

Back to the Top

Will WriteShop Primary work for my reluctant 4th or 5th grader?

The gentle approach of Book C appeals to reluctant writers and children who learn with difficulty. It teaches many common elements of writing, such as planning a story, writing with description, writing a book summary, and creating short reports. Students of any age can apply the techniques and watch their writing improve!

On the other hand, because Book C is intended for younger children, an older student may be put off by the more childish artwork. Instead, consider using WriteShop Junior Book D for your 4th or 5th grader.

Back to the Top

My child already loves to write stories on her own. Does she need a writing program?

Not necessarily. However, if she has loads of ideas but has trouble staying on track, she may need the guidance and structure a writing program can bring.
Children who love to write often lack the organizational skills that keep their writing focused. WriteShop Primary introduces different kinds of graphic organizers to help them plan out their stories and articles. They also learn to use story ingredients; plan a beginning, middle, and end; and think of problems and solutions. Your child’s skills will steadily improve as she has fun learning new techniques for better writing.

Back to the Top

How long does it take to complete one level of WriteShop Primary?

Each book has 10 lessons. The Intro includes three scheduling plans, with the most popular option allowing three weeks per lesson. Following this plan—and working every other day—most families finish one book in a school year. Expect to spend 15-30 minutes per day on writing activities.

Back to the Top

How necessary is the Teacher’s Guide?

WriteShop Primary

Both the Teacher’s Guide and Activity Set Worksheet Pack are necessary components of WriteShop Primary.

The Teacher’s Guide contains everything you need to teach the lessons, including daily lesson plans and detailed instructions for each activity (pre-writing games, brainstorming, writing lessons, publishing ideas, editing tips, recommended picture books, and much more). The reproducible Activity Set Worksheet Pack rounds out the program with activity pages that support the skills taught in each of the 10 lessons.

Back to the Top

Does WriteShop Primary teach grammar and spelling?

The program does not teach grammar, though simple punctuation is introduced and practiced. WriteShop Primary uses a more natural approach to teaching spelling, so you won’t find prescribed lists of words. Instead, through a variety of games and activities, children work on learning to spell the words they most frequently misspell in their writing. Only Books B and C incorporate spelling instruction.

Back to the Top

Is WriteShop Primary compatible with the Classical or Charlotte Mason models?

Charlotte Mason enthusiasts will enjoy the relaxed approach, picture books, journaling, narration, and activities that allow the child to explore the world around him. And while WriteShop Primary doesn’t fit the Classical model in the traditional sense, parents will appreciate the orderly guided lessons, direct teaching involvement, the way writing is always modeled first, and the lack of pressure on the young child to do his own writing.

Back to the Top

WriteShop® Junior

Should my 3rd grader use WriteShop Junior Book D or WriteShop Primary Book C?

Either one is fine, though a reluctant 8-year-old might gain more confidence using WriteShop Primary Book C.

When teaching two children together, choose Book C if they’re 8 and younger, and choose Book D if they’re 8 and older. Either way, activities called “Smaller Steps” and “Flying Higher” let you quickly and easily tailor lessons to children who are functioning at different levels.

WriteShop Junior

Back to the Top

When will WriteShop Junior Books E and F be available?

WriteShop Junior Book E will be available before June 1, 2014. Book F should be available in 2016.

Back to the Top

My child loves to write stories on her own. Do we even need a writing program?

Not necessarily. However, many children who love to write often lack the organizational skills that keep their writing focused. WriteShop Junior teaches skills such as planning a beginning, middle, and end; adding details; using writers’ tools; and self-editing.
It also introduces them to genres, including adventure, humor, science fiction, historical fiction, and mystery. Your child’s skills will steadily improve as she learns new techniques for better writing.

Back to the Top

My child has some learning challenges. Would WriteShop Junior be a good fit?

WriteShop Junior lessons appeal to multiple modalities (visual, auditory, and kinesthetic), so hands-on learners and children with mild to moderate learning difficulties—including ADHD, dyslexia, and dysgraphia—can gain confidence and experience success. These students benefit from clear boundaries; short, specific assignments; tasks broken into bite-size chunks; frequent repetition and practice; and skill-building games that require no writing. Plus, each lesson may easily be tailored to meet your child’s needs.

Back to the Top

Is there a lot of parent/teacher prep involved?

You will need to gather basic materials or do some simple preparation for each lesson. Advance Prep text boxes are clearly marked, making it easy to do this days or even weeks ahead. To save time, you may purchase a Time-Saver Pack of sturdy, ready-made props instead of creating and assembling your own game cards, spinners, and other tools for many of the activities.

Back to the Top

How long does it take to complete one WriteShop Junior level?

Each book has 10 lessons. Following the Three-Week Plan, most families finish one book in a school year. Activities vary from day to day, but you can expect to spend 30-45 minutes per day working 3 days per week.

Back to the Top

Does WriteShop Junior teach grammar?

The 2-part Activity Pack includes a component called Fold-N-Go® Grammar. Printed on brightly colored paper, the pages get assembled into 10 lapbook-style grammar and writing guides, each devoted to a different skill such as parts of speech, punctuation, self-editing, and reference tools.

Simple rules, clever examples, and engaging practice exercises make learning or reviewing grammar fun. You may use Fold-N-Go® as an intro to grammar or to supplement your current grammar program.

Fold-n-Go

Back to the Top

I’m planning on teaching two children together. Are the workbook pages reproducible?

Each child needs an Activity Pack. You can either buy one per student, or you can buy one and make copies for the second child.

Activity Pack Inside Note that the Fold-N-Go® portion of the Activity Pack (see left) is printed on brightly colored paper and may not reproduce well. So even if you use only one Activity Pack for two children, you may still wish to buy an extra Fold-N-Go® Grammar Pack for the second child.

Back to the Top

Can I teach WriteShop Junior using just the student Activity Pack?

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to teach WriteShop Junior without a Teacher’s Guide because the Activity Pack has no writing instructions. It simply contains dozens of graphic organizers, journal pages, editing checklists, and other worksheets critical to supporting the lesson instructions. To explain each genre to your child and actually teach him how to plan, write, edit, and publish his story or report, both the Teacher’s Guide and Activity Pack are necessary.

Back to the Top

WriteShop® I & II

Should my student begin with WriteShop I or WriteShop II?

We generally recommend that all students in grades 6 to 10 begin with WriteShop I, unless they have a solid foundation in paragraph writing and have experience with descriptive, informative, and narrative writing. Even then, motivated and articulate older high schoolers often show dramatic improvement using WriteShop I.

Juniors and seniors should begin with WriteShop II, unless they need remediation.

WriteShop Books

Back to the Top

I would say that my junior higher already writes well. Can she start with WriteShop II?

Even if she “can” write, it doesn't always mean she’s writing effectively. WriteShop I helps students refine their writing and pay better attention to content and grammar while teaching them some important elements of writing style. WriteShop I focuses on writing from observation and experience, with a few creative and expository assignments tossed in as well. Once your child is able to write more concretely and concisely, she can move seamlessly into WriteShop II.

Back to the Top

My high schooler already writes five-paragraph essays. Does he need WriteShop II?

WriteShop II teaches the basic 3- to 5-paragraph essay. If your older high schooler’s essays already display clarity and maturity of thought, great organization, wise use of sentence variation, and strong vocabulary, he may be beyond WriteShop II. On the other hand, if his essays are still weak and disjointed, lack supporting details, and contain dull or overly repeated vocabulary, he will likely benefit from WriteShop. If he is in 9th grade, WriteShop I may be the better fit. If he’s in 11th or 12th grade, choose WriteShop II. A 10th grader can go either way.

Back to the Top

My younger child is really advanced. Is it okay use WriteShop I with a 4th or 5th grader?

Although many of WriteShop I’s topics are appropriate for bright students in the 8- to 11-year-old range, they are not necessarily AGE-appropriate. Such children cannot and should not be expected to have the patience, experience, or thinking skills to apply all the WriteShop concepts to their compositions. In addition, they may not have the vocabulary to fully develop their writing. Finally, they will be overwhelmed by the demands of the detailed checklists. It’s better to put them in WriteShop Junior.

Back to the Top

I’m not too comfortable with teaching or grading my child’s writing. Will WriteShop help?

Absolutely! The program was written with parents like you in mind. WriteShop’s lesson-specific, objective checklists and grading forms are among the most popular features of the program, as they eliminate much of the guesswork. Plus, the Teacher’s Manual is filled with examples, ideas, troubleshooting tips, and more so that you can teach, edit, and grade with confidence.

Back to the Top

Are there separate Teacher’s Manuals for WriteShop I and II?

No, WriteShop I and II share the same Teacher’s Manual. One purchase is sufficient.

Back to the Top

I’m not a “teacher’s manual” kind of parent. Can I get by with just the student workbook?

Since so much of WriteShop's structure is imbedded in the Teacher’s Manual, your student will miss many important benefits of the program without it. For one, it contains pre-writing activities that are not mentioned at all in the student books. These activities are an important part of introducing each writing lesson. In addition, the TM also contains lesson plans, guided writing, editing and grading tips, explanations, discussions, illustrations, analogies, and dialogue, each of which contributes to the student’s understanding of the lesson.

Back to the Top

How long does it take to complete one WriteShop book?

WriteShop I and II offer different schedules. Each lesson can take one to four weeks to complete. The average student in grades 7-10 completes one level per year, while the younger or more reluctant writer in grades 6-7 needs two years. Older high schoolers can even finish a book in a semester.

Back to the Top

How much time will we spend on WriteShop I or II each day?

Depending on each day’s activities and factors such as schedule choice, age, maturity, motivation, and attitude, plan to spend from five minutes to an hour or more per day. Most students finish one complete WriteShop lesson every two weeks (4-7 hours per lesson). With this flexible schedule, the average student works on WriteShop assignments six days out of ten.

Back to the Top

Does each student need his own WriteShop I book?

Ideally, yes. Although we give you permission to photocopy the consumable pages for your own children, you may not reproduce instruction sheets, word lists, or reference pages. This poses a problem for families with multiple students, since sharing a book doesn’t always work. If Student A needs the lesson instructions, then Student B has to wait till Student A is finished. If Student A is working on revisions and wants to refer to the Word Lists, but Student B is using the book, it can put Student A in a bind. Sharing a book seems to work best when students are not on a strict schedule and can work on their writing at different times of the day.

Back to the Top

Do we need the Copying and Dictation Exercises for WriteShop I?

If you have copywork resources at your disposal, or you enjoy gathering or providing your own materials, you will not need this booklet. But if you appreciate the convenience of pre-selected passages, you might want to purchase it. The booklet contains sixteen carefully chosen literature selections offering examples of descriptive, informative, and narrative writing. Passages relate to and reinforce each WriteShop I assignment. Copying and Dictation

Back to the Top

 
 

Copyright © 2007 WriteShop, Inc.  All rights reserved.
Content copyright protected by Copyscape website plagiarism search