I'm looking into other approaches to supplement our writing classes, including possibly some textbook or other packaged material for mid to latter elementary school. Does anyone have any suggestions? My son has a very nice vocabulary and sometimes writes some very nice things, but it's not consistent at all. I'm also looking for some written materials to reinforce what's being taught orally about writing. Finally, I think he needs daily practice, and I'm running out of interesting ideas for daily practice. (Grammar and spelling aren't major problems at this point for us, but a little reinforcement on the grammar would be ok in a writing program.) He writes letters occasionally too and has recently started journaling.
I've heard mostly positive reviews about two comprehensive writing guides: 1. Writing Strands by Dave Marks 2. Any Child Can Write by Harvey Weiner
I've also read brief reviews about two other shorter volumes on paragraph writing: 3. Writing Paragraphs by Kathleen Knoblock 4. Paragraph Writing Made Easy
If anyone has experiences or suggestions, they would be most appreciated. Thanks!
Check out Brave Writer. They have an excellent support forum, too.
I use a combination of programs including IEW (Institute for Excellence in Writing) and Michael Clay Thompson's language arts program from Royal Fireworks Press. My daughter loves MCT, he combines vocabulary, grammar, literature, writing, and poetry in a fantastic way. We have gone through several levels of his work and I have found that they are very easy to go both wide and deep. We've actually completed some levels, and then gone back and done the writing elements again. For example, last year we completed his Town level program which is for 4/5 graders. This year we focused on the thought organization skills taught by IEW, then went back and did the writing exercises from MCT again. I varied the specifics of the assignments a little so she wouldn't feel like she was repeating, but it has been worth it.
I like the two together since IEW helps teach the students how to take notes and learn the details of structure, but MCT is wonderfully creative and really asks a lot of the student in a way that truly engages them. Both programs cover elementary and middle school.
A third program I have used with mixed success is Classical Writing. If you need a program that leaves little to chance and spells everything out very clearly for you as the teacher, this might be a good option. I like the philosophy behind this program, but my kids have found it somewhat boring and repetitive. It might be more useful used in concert with some of the other programs mentioned.
Thanks everyone! After getting input here and elsewhere, here's what we decided to use:
Use as reference: Wiener Any Child Can Write
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