Writing Works is a language arts game for children in grades 4 and higher. (PJR Associates also produces Writing Works for Grades 3+ and 5+.) When you buy Writing Works, you have everything you need to play the three games included in the box. Topics covered in the three games are paragraph sequencing, grammar usage, mechanics, sentence formation, and English usage.
Writing Works comes with three sets of game cards, a reversible two-piece game board, game instructions, and playing pieces. Each game card contains the answer on the reverse side. The first game is called WRITE Right. Each game card has a sentence on it, and players arrange the sentences in order to make a paragraph. The back of each card contains the correct number of the sentence, so a child could play this alone. There are three levels of paragraphs: tan, yellow, and purple cards have five sentences; green, blue, and red cards have six sentences; and gray and orange cards have seven sentences. You get points for putting your cards in order, and the player with the highest point total wins. This game is for one or two players.
The second game is called SELECT Right, and it requires students to choose the correct multiple choice answer about a grammar usage, mechanics, or sentence formation question. There are 36 cards, and you need both pieces of the game board to play this game. Correct answers move you forward on the game board. Easy questions move you forward one space and difficult questions move you forward four spaces. This can be played by up to four players. First player to the finish circle wins this game.
The third game is THINK Right. It has 24 game cards and uses the game board and game pieces. Players move around the game board by answering English Usage questions. These are not multiple choice or fill-in-the-blank questions; they require the student to think about how the English language is used. This game is for two to four players. You move forward on the game board by answering questions correctly. The player who reaches the finish circle first is the winner.
Writing Works was developed by a reading specialist to assist students in reading and writing. I don't believe Writing Works was developed for homeschoolers, but it will not need any modifications to be used in a homeschool setting.
My friend Ann, an English teacher, and I played WRITE Right, SELECT Right, and THINK Right. We feel that WRITE Right does not have staying power because once you have sequenced each of the sets of cards you will know the answers and it won't be much fun a second time around. Ann's suggestion is to take a piece of the student's writing and make your own game cards. The game cards for SELECT Right are okay for fourth and fifth graders, but we would not recommend it for sixth grade and up unless the player was extremely weak in his or her grammar skills. Again, this game does not have much staying power because once you have played with the 36 cards you know the answers. THINK Right was our favorite part of the game. The 24 game cards contain questions that require the player to answer questions about English usage. The questions in THINK Right are thought provoking and reusable. This part of the game does have staying power and can be played repeatedly without players memorizing the answers.
I played WRITE Right with my fifth and eleventh grade daughters, and they both liked the game. It was not very challenging to the 16-year-old, but she did not think it was a lame game. My 10-year-old found all levels to be challenging but not frustrating. My husband and I played SELECT Right with our two daughters. It was challenging for the fifth grader and easy for the rest of us. I felt we had an unfair advantage over Abigail and would not recommend this game to a mixed ability group. THINK Right was the most difficult of the three games, but again, it was easy for someone of high school age or beyond.
Our opinion is that Writing Works is average. Two of the three games do not have long-term staying power for the average to above average student. The game is priced at $28 on the PJR website, and a $3.50 shipping charge is added to that. $31.50 is a lot of money to spend on a game that will probably not be played a lot in most families. I would not have paid $31.50 for it. If I had extra curriculum money, I would pay $10 and make my own cards once we had played the first two games because the concept of the game is good. I recommend that PJR Associates develop more cards and have them available online.
Product review by Tina Rice, Contributing Writer, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, September 2006