My main focus for writing, during the early elementary years was to help my daughter become comfortable with the written word. We made time to write everyday. This was sometimes as simple as copywork or writing down what my daughter dictated to me, then reading it back. For example, with her artwork,we often added a sentence or two about her picture. At first, I would print it out for her. Later, as her writing skills developed, we did it as copywork. Sometimes we tried bookmaking, with a drawing on each page and a sentence or two written below.
Another year we bought a blank “Hello Kitty” book and used it for journaling. I asked my daughter for an entry most days, either a drawing or a few words. Then later she would write her own sentences. Through these simple everyday activities, my daughter built her confidence with writing. By second grade she was ready for something new. That’s when we started Spectrum Writing – 2nd grade. This became a helpful spine for writing for the next couple years.
Spectrum Writing was easy to use. I could pull out an activity that fit my daughter’s skill level and interest. The activity included a Writer’s Handbook, an Answer Key, and the following chapters:
- Chapter 1 – Writing Titles and Sentences – Such as “Give the picture title” or “What is happening in this picture?”
- Chapter 2 – Telling and Asking, such as “Draw a place or a room. Write something about it.”
- Chapter 3 – Telling How – and Writing a Friendly Letter
- Chapter 4 – Describing – and the Five Senses – Such as “Take a bite of pizza. I see __________. I taste ________. I smell ___________.”
- Chapter 5 – Writing Stories
Each of these Chapters included six to eight writing activities with colorful illustrations. The projects included easy to follow directions and any forms that were needed. Simple tests were also offered to check understanding, although we only used one or two.
- Writing sentences.
- Putting things in time order.
- Writing How-To’s such as how to plant flowers.
- Using describing words.
- Writing stories with a simple plot.
My favorite chapter was Chapter 5 – Writing Stories. This chapter introduced story writing in an easy and simple way. Through this, my daughter learned the basic concepts of plot, setting, and character. When we studied the concept of setting, it was introduced with a picture of a fair. “Where are these people? Write some words that describe where they are.”
What we love:
I found Spectrum Writing to be easy and straight forward. Plot was broken down into the beginning, middle, and the ending of the story. My daughter was given three rectangles to fill in for each of these. Sometimes we used the rectangles but often we just pulled out three pieces of construction paper. We made a book of it with the beginning, the middle and the end – with one sheet of paper for each. If my daughter had trouble, I would ask her “What happens next?” or “How does it end?” While writing these stories, my daughter learned to write sentences, paragraphs, and practice her spelling/early grammar skills. Many happy hours were spent creating stories, art, and don’t forget the illustrations! Every child’s story needs its pictures, and drawing them usually helps the child to decide what happens next.
Later, when my daughter needed to learn to write essays, she had the confidence and skill that she needed to put words onto the page. That made all the difference!
Spectrum Writing for 2nd Grade served as a helpful foundation for our writing activities in the early elementary years. If you are looking for some new ideas to help your children gain confidence in their writing skills, I recommend Spectrum Writing. It is available for grades 1 through 8. For more information, please go to: www.carsondellosa.com. Watch for other reviews of the Spectrum Writing series by this author. Remember, writing is fun!
~ Betsy is an eclectic homeschooler who lives near Puget Sound with her dear husband and her teenage daughter, who has always been homeschooled. They enjoy nature walks, country drives, and nature photography, as a family. Betsy is also a published fiction writer for children. She is currently offering consulting to families who would like to discuss a homeschooling or writing issue. To reach her, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Hearts and Trees: Art, Handicrafts and Nature Study for your Homeschool