Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Can Writing Be Easy? - A New TOS Review!

Writing is a part of life.  You write to send an email, a letter, or even a note to one of your kids or your spouse.  It is one of those things that is a necessary evil ... at least for some.  Writing can at times be elusive to many, especially students who are just learning the basics of our crazy English language.  That's where Create Better comes in.
The Product:
Create Better was created for the purpose of helping both students and teachers by showing them how to teach writing so it makes sense to all.  They do this through books, eBooks, and even workshops!  As a Crew member I received three eBooks:

How to Write a Paragraph
How to Teach the Five Paragraph Essay
The Home School Writing Action Plan

The first two build up on each other to create a strong paragraph and then following up in the second book with taking your paragraphs to essays in any form - whether it be a persuasive argument, cause and effect, or any other style.

In  How to Write a Paragraph  your student (grade 3 and up) will learn the important writing building block of the paragraph.  They will learn a trick that once mastered will help them conquer writing a paragraph in any form from stories to summaries and reports to biographies.  So what is the one trick? Check out this video which shows you

You can also order the lesson plans which break down the teaching into step-by-step instructions and includes assessments as well as writing topics.  It also helps you be able to teach the trick over your entire curriculum, not to be used just in English, but in any subject that has a need for writing.  You can purchase How to Write a Paragraph for $7.99 (as an eBook only) and it can stand alone.  Or you can get it for free when you purchase either the How to Teach the Five Paragraph Essay or their Complete Writing Program
(which includes How to Teach the Five Paragraph Essay and How to Write a Paragraph in eBook format.)

As your Student becomes ready (written for grades 4-12) you can move on to  How to Teach the Five Paragraph Essay.  This book comes both as a Soft Cover ($19.95) or as an eBook ($17.95).  The content of this book is to teach your student how to organize all their ideas and then be able to produce a five paragraph essay that is formatted properly all within one hour. Impressed? I was.  Here's a video demonstration for teaching the Five Paragraph Essay:

As the teacher you will have a list of steps that will help you see how the process will go as well as showing the "big picture".  There's a pacing chart to let you know how long it should take a child of a certain age/grade to accomplish this important building block.  The plan is to teach mastery to all students, not just your quick learners.

Once they have the basics down, your students will then learn how to fill their essay with those interesting and captivating portions from their introduction to transitions to their conclusions. Once they have the basic steps down for essay writing they will be able to write them for any style - persuasive argument, problem-solution, and more.  You can see the Table of Contents, a sample of the Steps, and even a worksheet on transition words which are all a part of this 60+ page book.

And if that wasn't enough, The Home School Writing Action Plan was designed to help the homeschool teacher know where to start and how to progress from grade 3 through high school. And with the pacing guide, no matter what age you start you can help your students become outstanding writers.
So whether you are confident or not in your writing skills, this book will help lead you by telling you what to teach and when to teach it.  Although you can purchase this book separately ($19.95 soft cover and $15.95 eBook), they do recommend purchasing it with the whole system.

The Writing Action Plan is summarized for you over 6 pages.  Then the Pacing Chart shows how to use their fifteen steps in three different plans starting with an elementary, middle or high school student.  The last section is the Road Map, which isn't detailed instructions and lesson plans, but rather an overview letting you know what to look for in each step.

Our Experience:
So now for the nitty gritty ... how did it really work?  Being an English person I was eager to learn the trick for myself, not to mention to teach my children at the earliest age possible so that they could have a lifetime of great writing without the typical struggles that students have.

So since my girls are just beginning 2nd and 4th this fall I decided we would take the very slow route.  Also since it's summertime, my girls are in that "summer" mode, even though we school year round. ;)  I decided we would use this only with Arianna since Audrie really isn't ready for it.

I think this has been a great learning experience for Arianna.  She has been able to understand the 'trick', but sometimes she just forgets what to do.  With some prompts she is then able to go on sentence by sentence until her short paragraph has been created.

I think with time that this will be a great teaching tool and program for helping ALL my children become fabulous writers.  I can see where this will be a HUGE help for Audrie and her creative juices that are constantly running, but not yet able to become words on a paper.

My Thoughts:
I believe that these books and the program are what has been missing from the writing community.  Making writing easy will help students become more confident in every aspect of their life.  When you feel you can write and know that your writing will be accepted it boosts your overall confidence allowing that confidence to bloom and blossom in other areas of your life.

If you are hesitant to teach GREAT writing skills or have students who are struggling in these areas, I challenge you to take a peek at what Create Better Writers has to offer you and your students.  You can contact them by phone at (562) 627-5662 or by email.  You can also sign up for the FREE monthly newsletter which give you tips and worksheets that you can use in your lessons.  You can also check out some of their past newsletters.

As always please take some time and read other reviews from my Crew members by clicking the banner below.  Here's to great writing!


*** I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2011-2012 Crew and receive free products and services in exchange for a thorough and honest review. Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of money for any of my reviews. My reviews will always reflect my honest opinions, findings, beliefs and experiences with the products and services that I receive.***

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