The very idea of teaching writing strikes fear in the hearts of many homeschoolers. How do I teach it? When do I teach it? How do I know if my child is writing well enough? These are the concerns that plague conscientious home teachers. Enter WriteShop
Primary, a new gentle beginning writing program from the makers of WriteShop: An Incremental Approach to Writing.
The WriteShop Primary series teaches beginning writing through picture
books, crafts, and activities. Ultimately the series will include three books
for grades K-3. Currently only Book A is available. You will need both the scripted
Teacher's Guide and the corresponding set of reproducible Activity Pages--available
as worksheets or as an e-book. For a few dollars less, a digital version of the Teacher's Guide is available as well.
Book A assumes no previous reading or writing experience and is appropriate for pre-writers as well as beginning and developing writers. The makers of the program recommend kindergarteners, first graders, and second graders with no prior writing experience all start in Book A. A student in kindergarten or first grade would complete one lesson every three weeks, working three days a week. Older children will go through the program more quickly. Several alternate schedules are provided in the teacher text.
According to the Scope and Sequence provided on the website, children will:
* Be introduced to the writing process.
* Generate ideas for a story.
* 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 an appropriate title.
* Think of simple ways to improve a story.
* Publish stories through projects or crafts.
Other Key Writing
* Completing predictable sentence starters.
* Dictating a story.
* Using simple graphic organizers.
* Reading and writing color words.
* Recognizing words that rhyme.
* Identifying and using punctuation marks at the end of a sentence.
* Beginning a sentence with a capital letter.
Following is the
breakdown of a typical three-week lesson:
Day One: Guided Writing Practice. The teacher uses
prompts to encourage the child to suggest simple sentences
that are then written together by student and teacher on
Day Two: More Guided Writing Practice. The teacher reads
a picture book to the child.
Day Three: Guided Writing Practice and brainstorming
Day One: Guided Writing Practice. Begin
the Writing Project, which is the central focus on each lesson.
The child applies his newly learned skills by writing
sentences and then stories. Beginning writers may
dictate their sentences. The Writing Project also
includes suggestions for adapting the project for
younger students (Smaller Steps) and for more advanced
students (Flying Higher).
Day Two: Guided Writing Practice and Editing and
Day Three: Guided Writing Practice and complete a
worksheet that ties together and reinforces the skills
taught in the lesson.
Day One: Guided Writing Practice
and Publishing the Project, which involves making some craft
in which to display the Writing Project.
The pre-writing activities
are the primary focus of Book A and do require some advanced
preparation and gathering of craft materials.
On the whole, WriteShop Primary lives up to its promise
to be a fun and gentle introduction to writing. Charlotte
Mason and Classical homeschoolers who teach writing
in the early grades through the use of copywork and
high quality literature will find nothing fundamentally
different here. But WriteShop
Primary will be an
especially good fit for hands-on learners and teachers
who love crafts.