Write with the Best
"Modeling Writing after Great Works of World Literature Vol. 1" . If you're learning to write, why not learn from the best? It's a great concept that's well-implemented in this new writing offering by Jill J. Dixon, B.S. Ed., M.Ed. Focusing on descriptive writing, Jill has chosen some of the best literary passages as models, including excerpts from: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Describing an Object) A Christmas Carol (Describing a Place) Robinson Crusoe (Describing a Character) Wind in the Willows (Writing a Dialogue) "Gift of the Magi" (Writing a Short Story) "Ants and the Grasshopper" and "Shepherd's Boy and the Wolf" (Writing a Fable) "Paul Revere's Ride (Writing Poetry - Ballad or Narrative) Each of these nine units is broken into ten 15-to-45-minute daily lessons - though Jill cautions not to progress too quickly if a child has not mastered a skill. Objectives for each day are asterisked and should be read by the teacher before beginning each unit. Since lessons are addressed directly to the student, the program will require minimal teacher time in actually completing each lesson. You will need to do some preparatory instruction, dictation (once per unit), and check work completed. Each unit begins with an excerpt from a "classic", includes a good amount of grammar (parts of speech) instruction, some mechanics, has the student find another good example of the genre being studied (and doing some comparative / grammatical analysis), and culminates with student writing and proofreading. Every unit also includes a dictation exercise from the included (or another) classic excerpt. The student is then to check his result against the written copy. Units are systematic, instruction is clear, and the whole course is well-organized and ready to pick up and go. Jill has included several helps and references also, in the back of the volume. The first is a sheet on "The Characteristics that Make the Best Writing The Best". This is used as the basis for discussion of supplied and found excerpts. A proofreading checklist is included to encourage and help with self-editing. For the parent is a helpful sheet on grading criteria. My only dispute with this is the point (out of five) given for having a "topic sentence at the beginning and a concluding sentence at the end of each paragraph". Just skimming the excerpts included confirm much "great" writing is not "formula" writing. I agree that a beginning writer may need to start out this way - but it makes for boring writing if you insist each paragraph be structured so. Additional Literary Passages for Modeling Writing are included and listed by genre so that you can continue or reuse these lessons again and again with different literature, if desired. For the teacher and student is a How to Write Guide that takes you through the steps for each type of writing. And, lastly, a key to the parts of speech exercises in included for you. All in all, there is a fair amount of grammar and mechanics instruction included in this volume in the context of writing and proofreading, though the author suggests supplementing with Easy Grammar, Daily Grams, Editor in Chief or Great Editing Adventures if you feel you need more specific or intensive instruction. Other recommended materials are a dictionary and thesaurus for each student. A writing or grammar handbook would also be helpful - especially if your skills are a little rusty. Permission to reproduce is given for the excerpts and the proofreading checklist. These are the only consumable components, and each student will need his own. All in all, this program looks like a well-organized, easy to use, effective writing program that I'm personally eager to try!