Writing Works is a set of three games designed to give your student practice in story sequencing, grammar usage, punctuation, mechanics, and sentence formation. Each set includes Write Right, Select Right, and Think Right, and sets can be purchased for grades 3+, 4+, and 5+. I reviewed the 3+ set with my daughter who had just finished third grade. These games are very high quality, and the artistry is fun and quite appealing.
Write Right: In this game two players are given a game board and a set of color-coordinated cards. The cards are story strips, with each story divided into three to six parts. Players attempt to place the strips in the correct order on their boards. Once they are finished, they turn the cards over to determine if they were placed in the correct order. Twenty points are awarded for correct sequencing and ten for trying. (I like that!) The directions offer options for two players working together, using a timer, and explaining why they chose the order they did.
My daughter enjoyed this game, though I think it is something I would just ask her to do on her own or collaboratively rather than competitively with another child. While enjoyable, the game did have a couple of negatives. It only has cards for eight stories (two sets for each story) and some blank cards so that you can make your own. Once a child had completed the eight stories, he or she would need to write more. However, that's great practice, as well.
My second concern is with the stories themselves. While I didn't find any of them offensive, the majority of them revolved around a public school setting. One involved a girl turning into a mermaid, and another character mentioned being afraid of ghosts as she cleaned the attic (but it was not a scary story). I know some parents prefer to avoid these types of stories altogether.
Select Right: This game uses a typical game board with spaces, and the first player to reach the Finish wins. Each player chooses a Select Right card and reads the selection and the multiple choice questions that follow. After answering the question, the player checks the back of the card to see if the answer was correct. If so, he or she moves the number of spaces listed on the card. The more difficult the question, the more spaces you get to move.
The majority of the cards include a portion of writing, such as a poem or letter, and then ask a question about a specific aspect. For example:
Look at sentence (4). How should "we seen" be written?
The questions in this set range from fairly easy (above) to quite difficult.
- we was seeing
- we saw
- we did seen
- as it is
My daughter enjoyed working on these, though some cards covered aspects we haven't learned in our curriculum yet. I'm quite sure we will use this game regularly. The stories in this set were all appropriate.
Think Right: This game is very similar to Select Right. The only difference is that students are no longer offered multiple choice questions but are asked to explain WHY the examples are correct.
A sample card would be:
Explain why commas are used correctly in the following sentences:
If the child replies that commas are used to separate items in a series, he or she moves ahead one space. More difficult questions result in longer moves forward.
- I will have pizza, sodas, ice cream, and cake at my birthday party.
- I hope my presents will include a bicycle, a computer, and a video game."
In all honesty, my daughter did not like this game. When I asked why, she said, "I don't like games where they just ask you questions." I agree that this is really just a disguised quiz, but I like the idea of requiring students to explain why something is correct. Even though it may not be as fun as she would like, it sure beats a plain old quiz. I intend to use it on a fairly regular basis.
Writing Works is definitely a nice change of pace from the average writing assignment. A child who can answer all of the questions in each game will be well above grade level, as some are quite difficult. I don't see these games as something children will request to play in their free time, but they would certainly enjoy them as a change of pace during school time.