Friday, July 16, 2010

Writing Strands -- Curriculum Review

This past school year was our first year using a formal writing composition curriculum. We chose Writing Strands based on suggestions in several articles I had read previously. We began using it in 4th grade for an average writer.

The Product:
Writing Strands is not a grade-specific curriculum. We began in Level 3, the first level recommended for my child's age. From the website: "It is designed to give beginning writers experience in organizing thoughts so that they can be understood easily by others. We have used it successfully even in tenth grade for students needing special help." This is a non consumable resource and can be reused.

My Thoughts
I really liked the conversational style in which this manual is written. You can almost hear the instructor chatting with the child about what the assignment will be and giving examples. Each exercise is broken down into manageable chunks. These were helpful and did not overwhelm the student. There was no feeling of burdening the child with unrealistic expectations. At the same time, I think the exercises were appropriate for a beginning writer with adequate challenge. I was very impressed with the pieces my child produced using this program. I emailed a few of her writings to various friends, family and acquaintances for input and received very good feedback. Most thought the writing was at least average. But many were highly impressed. We are using this program again for the upcoming school year.

While the manual is reusable, I am glad that I purchased the ebook because I can print out each exercise and my child can write on the pages if they so desire. I can just print more for other children later. Not all children do well transferring information from one source to another, so using the original copy is helpful.

Overall Rating: *****

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What do you think? I'd love to hear what you have to say!