Friday, May 15, 2009

WriteShop Primary A

I have often heard of incremental learning as it applies to the subject of math, but while reviewing WriteShop Primary Book A I have since learned the concept of applying it to writing. Basically, incremental learning simply means teaching a subject step by step with each new lesson building on the prior. In this way, old lessons will be reviewed and reinforced with each new lesson. WriteShop is a company that has developed an incremental writing program for homeschoolers.

Their newest line of curriculum is designed for your K-3rd grade student and is a series of 3 books called WriteShop Primary. Book A is the only book available just yet as Books B and C are still in the works. You can move your student at a pace of only 1 book a year, or move them through the books more quickly. Three suggested schedules are listed in the beginning of the book.

From the back of the book:

In Book A, children learn to plan, create, and publish simple stories with parent help. They will:
*Generate story ideas
*Experience planning a story before writing it
*Gather simple information about a topic
*Use a story web to organize information
*Identify beginning, middle, and end
*Choose appropriate titles
*Think of simple ways to improve a story
*"Publish" stories through projects and crafts

There are two things that I especially appreciate about this curriculum. One is that it is incredibly teacher-friendly. The book is laid out very simply with thorough instructions for the teacher including teaching scripts. If you have ever felt intimidated by the concept of teaching writing, WriteShop Primary will be a tremendous resource for you.

I also appreciate that the lesson times are kept quite short and simple at the Book A level. This book has 10 Themed Lessons and each lesson is divided into 8 Activity Sets. Depending on how quickly you want to move through the book will depend on how many Activity Sets you will do each day. Activity Sets usually only took us about 15-20 minutes and we never did more than one a day. Each set starts with a Guided Writing Practice prompting the student to create simple sentences on a provided subject and then ends with an activity/lesson. There are also suggested picture story books referenced in the back of the book for each lesson.

Since WriteShop Primary takes minimal time to prepare and use, it really makes teaching writing (a subject I wouldn't necessarily begin teaching at such a young age) much easier to slip into your K-3rd grade curriculum. I would especially suggest using it with a child who has already expressed interest in writing their own stories and enjoys that creative process. You can view samples of WriteShop Primary Book A online and order the curriculum in either the print version for $26.95 or a downloadable version for $24.25 on the WriteShop website.

Read more WriteShop reviews at the TOS Crew Blog.

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