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While being an avid reader and playing Mad Libs will definitely help build a writer, it does take more to equip your child to be a good writer.Apologia came to our rescue. Writers in Residence is what I am using this year to equip my son to be a better writer. I remember as a young girl, I wanted to grow up to be an author. I collected spiral notebooks for each book that I planned to write. I don’t think I ever got past a second chapter but I have fond memories of writing detailed descriptions of my characters and making little family trees for them. My kids, however, never caught that enthusiasm.
About Writers in Residence
Apologia provided me with the Volume 1 full set which includes the answer key and the student text/workbook. The answer key gives an overview of the program and explains how to use the rubric and how to evaluate your student’s writing. The student text is written conversationally to the student and can easily be worked with minimal parental assistance. In this first volume, the student builds a foundation to become a good writer. A great way to learn to become a great writer is to study other great writers. Christian writers (this is a Christian based curriculum but other than the introduction and interviews of the Christian authors, I haven’t noticed any heavy Christian references) are interviewed sporadically throughout the course. The six traits of a writing model are taught (ideas, sentence structure, organization, voice, conventions and word choice) and practiced. While going through the writing process, your student will learn to make better choices and revise, revise, revise until they are left with a polished writing piece which will be placed in their portfolio.
Using Writers in Residence
There’s a suggested daily schedule at the front of the book where each day’s work can be checked off as it is completed. Rubrics are used so there is no guessing as to what is expected and is a fair guideline to grading the work. My son and I go over the rubrics together to agree on his completed grades. The lessons are fairly short and my son can easily do them himself except that I usually do have to keep prodding him because he’s the type that would rather do everything orally. After we learned about “vigorous verbs”, I noticed him using more descriptive verbs not only in his writing but in his everyday speech so that makes for one happy mama. If he can apply what he is learning to his life, that means a lot to me.
Pros and Cons of Writers in Residence
I love that this program can be started right away. It’s really that simple. Since it’s written conversationally, I pretty much just handed the book to my son and he started while I quickly browsed the answer key. The student text is spiral bound and that is especially important since there’s quite a bit of writing in the book and my son doesn’t have to fight with the pages. I think it is building a very good foundation for writing. At the beginning, it covers parts of speech which we had already covered, but it goes beyond that and explains the importance of carefully choosing which words you use.
We haven’t ran into any problems with this curriculum and even skimming ahead, I don’t really foresee any problems in the future either. My son would rather do any subject than writing and that still hasn’t changed but he doesn’t put up a argument about it anymore.
Final Thoughts on Writing Curriculums
Be sure to check out of my review of Readers in Residence. Using both of these programs will offer a complete year of language arts. This is the first volume of Writers in Residence and the second volume is already available too.
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