Last school year, I volunteered to teach a writing class at my homeschool co-op. I had to undergo a DVD training in order to do it. Although it took some time, I was pleasantly surprised with the training and this method of teaching writing. I instantly knew that my children would be taught to write in this way.
The program I taught was called Student Writing Intensive (SWI) by The Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) [www.excellenceinwriting.com]. The best thing about this program is that it can help children who like to write, as well as those who are more reluctant to write. I enjoyed teaching this class and it seemed the students did also! Each week, at least one student told me what a good time he or she had in class. Even my own daughter took time to compliment the lessons. They learned so much so quickly! The program helps children have ideas to write about, while teaching them stylistic techniques. These techniques, called “dress-ups,” help children spruce up their writing to make it more interesting and appealing to the reader. Did I mention how much fun it can be? We had many moments of giggling as we edited and revised our writing, adding in those dress-ups.
SWI comes with a DVD, which is utilized for each lesson. Andrew Pudewa, who is the presenter on the DVD’s, teaches with a sense of humor and a genuine love for writing. The curriculum addresses fictional and non-fictional writing, taking idea inventories (so that children may write using their own thoughts), and when the children are ready, report writing. Especially interesting is that the report writing teaches them how to write reports from multiple sources. This way of teaching writing can help writers of any grade or ability level. I have even shown it to my husband when he was working on papers for his Master’s Program classes and his writing improved!
What makes this writing program even more appealing is that it can be applied to any subject area that you may be working on. You can use writing samples from anywhere – favorite children’s stories, plays, television shows, movies, magazines, pictures – and even textbooks! The children will learn two methods of outlining that can help them summarize anything they have read or heard or seen. This is especially helpful for those children that have reading comprehension problems or need to strengthen their listening skills. Even if you are not teaching them to write compositions, they can still summarize things they are reading to deepen their comprehension and hopefully encourage their love of reading as well.
After I taught SWI at co-op, we continued the instruction here at home this school year. My two oldest children currently use it and the sighing and complaining that I used to hear when we had writing lessons have been replaced with smiles and anticipation! When adding their dress-ups, rather than getting stuck and looking to me for help, they are instead trying to use their dress-ups in unique ways… ways that I do not anticipate … because they love to see the look on my face when they come up with a rally neat way to dress up their papers! Writing is no longer a chore for us; it is instead a time of creative fun!
If you feel like you are pulling teeth to get your kids to write anything or that you or your children are dreading their next writing lesson, I encourage you to check out this writing curriculum. I know that no one curriculum is right for every family or even every student, but if there were one perfect writing program that could do that, this might be it! I hope you will check into it and maybe even give it a try, but I especially hope that your budding little writers will blossom and bloom into the wordsmiths that they are destined to be.
About the Author: Alicia H. Tucker is a fifth year homeschool mom of three, holds a BA in Elementary Education and a MA in Education (Curriculum and Technology), and is a freelance writer working on her first book. www.ahtucker.com/blog