Wordsmith by Janie Cheaney is a creative writing course for 7-9th grades. Written to the child in a casual, humorous tone, it gives encouragement that writing isn’t something to hate and shouldn’t be considered too hard.
Broken into three parts, lessons in parts 1 and 2 are incremental and break writing into doable steps which focus on various writing techniques. Even though the author begins at the beginning with such things as lively nouns and powerful verbs, the lessons are not babyish and relate well to 12-15 year-olds. It’s through these basics that your child will get a good concept of building strong sentences and thorough paragraphs which will turn into beautiful writings by the time part 3 rolls around.
In part 3, your child is taught how to “paint pictures” through words. These lessons focus on integrating sensory experiences, figures of speech, clear settings, detailed descriptions, sequencing (and more) into writings. Your child will try his hand at writing narratives, dialogues, points of view, and finally creative stories as part 3 progresses.
Self-evaluation and revising are taught and encouraged both throughout the lessons and specifically in a section about revision.
The student gets his own book, in which some of the work can be completed on the workbook pages. Mom gets her own teacher’s guide. In it there are notes about how to use the program, some tips and hints about writing, and suggested plans of study.
The curriculum can take as little as 3 months or as long as 9 months to complete. The suggested plan of study is based on 36 weeks. For each day of the week in the teacher’s guide, you are given the lesson to assign, as well as some teaching tips.
I have been using this with a reluctant 6th grader and a happy-to-write 9th grader since receiving it for review several months ago. Both are progressing well on their own levels!