Multi-sensory and incorporating FUN, this program will be a perfect fit for your hands-on learner, your struggling-with-language-arts learner, or your needs-things-crystal-clear-and-ordered learner. Yes, this is a writing (composition) program and yes, it does start "at the beginning" - functions of words, words to sentences; and then paragraphs, narratives, and finally essays. Some students are ready to learn those skills as elementary students, and in those cases you would probably start with Workbook One with your early elementary student and progress at whatever pace is comfortable adding lots of practice and reinforcement. However, if your whatever-age student is still in need of these basic skills, then it still might be the perfect program for you. The workbooks can be used with older students and the pacing can be whatever is needed for the child/student to learn effectively.
The well-organized Teacher's Manual "takes your hand" or rather puts the textual information you need to teach this course into your hand in an effective package. Starting with the course Rationale and Scope and Sequence and progressing through the detailed, five step "Plans," you'll be impressed with both the clean simplicity of the look and the surprising clarity of the lessons. To give you a sampling, Plan 3 from Unit II (Workbook 1, Lessons 7 & 8) provides a goal (to understand the difference between action and non-action verbs), an objective (student will be able to identify non-action verbs) and a list of Materials. Step 1 is Review (subject, verb, object and adjective). Step 2 is Introduce (action verb vs non-action verb concepts) using language, examples, and an activity. Step 3 is Sentence Construction - making simple sentences using cards and a reinforcement game. Step 4 is Break the Code (students diagram sample sentences using code cards). Step 5 Workbook (do first 2 or 3 items in Workbook Lesson and then assign the rest as homework). The Plan ends with a reinforcement game. Obviously, the Teacher's Manual coordinates with the Workbook, but also with the Game Pack (used for the reinforcement games) and utilizes materials from the Master Toolkit. Sometimes additional game cards are required and these are provided in the TM.
The consumable Workbook and Journal Books are where the student completes his written work. Although there's consistency here, there's also variety. Lessons include instruction, examples, practice exercises, and writing activities such as "write a sentence next to each picture using the verb written below the picture," or a graphic organizer for writing a paragraph. As the name implies, there is also space provided regularly for journal entries. The workbooks provide plenty of writing practice - but in nice, manageable pieces so the student isn't overwhelmed. Also, because there is an emphasis from the beginning on building a firm foundation of grammar and mechanics basics, students have a full toolbox when it comes to composition writing. Workbook 1 covers writing skills from basic sentences to paragraphs and creative writing. Workbook 2 builds complex sentences, progressing to expository paragraphs and essays. Systematic reviews are in Workbook 2 with some review exercises in Workbook 1. Both books include an answer key. There is a definite correlation between the Teacher's Manual and the Workbooks and yet, I think it might just be possible to use the Workbooks by themselves as long as you recognize what you'll be missing without the TM. The Workbooks do include all necessary instruction (and answers) for the activities and there is a natural progression through the books although the TM integrates them with other types of learning activities.
The Master Toolkit is a collection of 30+ reproducible (for classroom) graphic organizer masters for everything from adverbs to outlines and plot development.
The Graphic Organizer Pad provides 24 two-sided graphic organizer worksheets - one side for informative paragraphs and the other for expanded paragraphs.
The Graphic Organizer Poster is a classroom size (40" x 28") poster of the same two-sided graphic organizer - one side for informative paragraphs and one for expanded paragraphs. It's write-on, wipe-off and would allow the class or a small group of students to work collectively on a writing project.
Writing Adventures makes good use of the idea that one of the best ways to reinforce new concepts is to make a game out of it. The Game Pack includes a professional-quality 11" x 17" two-sided game board. One side is for the Sentence Builder game and the other for the Grammar Concepts game. Also included are 41 sheets of cards (cardstock to be cut out), six playing pieces, one die, and instructions for at least nine games. These games are often referenced in the Teacher's Manual, but since all instructions are included it could be used as a grammar reinforcement independent of the WA program.
It's refreshing to see a writing program that is as well integrated, organized, and multi-sensory as this one. I fully appreciate the emphasis on building a strong grammatical foundation as well as the step-by-step, layer upon layer approach to teaching basic composition skills along with the game and activity reinforcement. This program is perfect for introducing young students to grammar and composition concepts. However, due to the step-by-step organization and the hands-on nature coupled with game reinforcement, it is also an effective program to use with struggling students or older students needing remedial work. ~ Janice