As you finalize your curriculum choices for the 2011-2012 school year, I want to recommend a writing program called The Write Foundation that we had the privilege of trying out this past school year.
The Write Foundation offers a three level writing program for students ages 11-18. Each level has a recommended age range depending on the competency of your student. Each level is a course of 30 lessons that can be completed in one or more school years.
Level 1: Sentence to Paragraph Writing (ages 11-14)
Level 2: Paragraph Writing (ages 12-16)
Level 3: Essay Writing (ages 14-18)
We had the opportunity last fall to review the first half of the Level 2 course. The teacher manual comes in a spiral bound format (shown below):
The student pages are three-hole punched that they can just put in their own binder. The purchase of the program also comes with some electronic files for additional help; you can choose what you'd like to print off. Read my review of The Write Foundation Level 2: Paragraph Writing (Lessons 1-15) here.
The author of the course, Becky Celsor, also provided us with lessons 16-30 for the purpose of review. Lessons 1-15 focused on the writing of single paragraphs. Beginning in Lesson 13, students transition to writing two-paragraph projects on up through a five paragraph essay for their final project. This is carried over into the first few lessons of the second half. The remaining lessons continue with incremental instruction on writing as well as including supplemental activities on poetry and a suggested resource for critical thinking skills. The critical thinking was an optional activity that we personally did not use. The curriculum also includes a reading list (with point values) to expose students to good writing in literature.
Students spend several weeks covering two-paragraph papers on a variety of topics:
- Memory Description
- Before and After
During this process students are also learning specific writing skills such as using transitions in their writing and reviewing sentence structure of clauses, prepositional phrases, adverb and participles phrases. You can view samples from any of the levels at their website.
- Flexible and adaptable for a range of ages and ability
- Flexible time schedule
- Good balance of creative and essay writing
- Emphasis on reading good literature that models excellent writing
- Students learn and write poetry
- Incremental instruction
- Reviews concepts of grammar and mechanics
- Use of highlighting helps students identify key parts of paragraphs
- Yahoo group for additional support
I used this with two of my children--my 11 year old daughter and my 13 year old son. I really enjoyed having one curriculum I could use for both of them. I found the outlines provided for the kids to take notes on was very helpful. They both enjoyed highlighting their paragraphs which I think really helped cement their learning on the ingredients for a well-written paragraph. The poetry assignments were a refreshing bonus to the program. I also liked having some writing examples used from the Bible. We did not complete the whole program in one year, so we'll just continue on through the next school year.
I found Mrs. Celsor to be very helpful both in answering questions directly e-mailed to her or posted on The Write Foundation Yahoo Group. Having such great customer service is another great benefit of this program.
Each Level retails for $70 plus shipping (and applicable tax). Complete pricing information can be viewed here. For a considerable savings, you can also order all three levels at once for $180 (plus shipping and tax).
Read the introduction to the program here. You can also view this video that provides a thorough overview of the program:
[TWF How To Video from Elizabeth Celsor on Vimeo.]
E-mail: bcelsor (at) sbcglobal (dot) net
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Level 2: Paragraph Writing (Lessons 16-30) from The Write Foundation for the purpose of review. No additional compensation was received.
None of my kids will be at that level this year, but I appreciate the review and will try to remember to keep it in mind. I am a firm believer in giving kids a solid foundation in writing because it's a skill that can help in so many areas of life. Glad to hear that it worked well for you.
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