Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Essentials in Writing

Essential in Writing logo photo EssentialsinWritinglogo_zps7affe1cf.jpg

Is there anyone out there who doesn't want their kids to be confident and enjoy the study of language?  Essentials in Writing is a company devoted to producing "confident writers who enjoy the study of language."  Theirs is a "complete language arts curriculum with emphasis on composition...Grades 7 and 8 weave grammar instruction into the lessons during the drafting and revising stage of the writing process."

Essentials in Writing Grade 7 photo EIW7thgrade_zps7e459c7d.jpg

We received the Seventh Grade Program which included 3 lesson DVDs and a CD-ROM with printable worksheets, assignments sheets, and an answer key in PDF format.  (Future orders will contain a link to downloadable PDF files and no CD-ROM.)  The instructor, Matthew Stephens, is shown on the DVD in front of a white board on which he writes things during the lesson, just as if he were in a classroom.

The topics covered in the seventh grade program are:
- Sentence structure
- Compound sentences
- Complex sentences
- Prepositional phrases
 - Appositive phrases
- Formal paragraph structure
- The Writing process
- Mechanics of Dialogue
- Figurative Language
- Using Imagery
- Narrative Writing
- A Business Letter
- Persuasive Writing
- Parts of a Five Paragraph Essay
- Expository Essay
- Writing a Summary
- Compare/contrast essay
- Descriptive Writing
- The Research Paper

It is certainly not the most exciting program for writing I've seen, but the segments are short enough to not be boring.  Nate, my 7th grader, never complained about watching it, although he did complain about doing the worksheets.

I am a worksheet person; Nate is not.  Perhaps he doesn't see any use in them; he'd rather just write.  I have the mindset of needing to have something to fill a portfolio for the school district.  Nate has been writing for a while now and simply needs further instruction which is what the videos offered.  He watched 6 or 7 segments about sentences.  Each new segment begins with the wording related to the segment at the bottom of the screen.  I think he watched 2 segments about paragraphs and 2 lessons related to essay writing.  I simply put the DVDs into my computer, and Nate sat on the couch and watched the lessons.

At the end of each lesson, I gave him a few worksheets to do.  There are plenty of worksheets to last a couple of days depending on how you use them.  A letter is included with the worksheets that explains the suggested process: look at the worksheets for the day's lesson, watch the video lesson, complete the assignment, and look at the next lesson.  A sample lesson plan is also included which is helpful to follow.

Each DVD set for each grade level sells for $40.  A pre-printed workbook is available for $20 for each grade as well if you don't want to use your own ink and paper to print out the worksheets.  

There are so many things we were unable to get through in the short review period, but we will continue to use it because of the wealth of information that there still is to learn.

If you are interested in reading other reviews about Essentials in Writing, please go to the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog.

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