Wednesday, July 9, 2014

WriteShop- TOS Crew Review

Do you teach writing in your house?  For us it is a subject that, in the past, I have pushed off until middle school and beyond.  Other subjects took precedence and quite frankly, I just did not enjoy teaching it.

Last year I was introduced to 
WriteShop and all of that changed.  Actually, I had the privilege to review WriteShop Junior Level D for my older son and liked it so much, I went back and bought Level A for my then 6 year-old.  We used it last year and loved it. 

For the past few months I have been reviewing  WriteShop Primary: Book B Set for 1st and 2nd graders, as well as reluctant 3rd graders and guess what?  Love it as well!  The set includes the Teacher's Guide as well as an Activity Set Worksheet Pack.
WriteShop Review

WriteShop is a unit style writing program for grades K-6th grade.  Beginning with Level A and continuing on through Level E, it teaches writing in a fun and non-threatening way.  Using a combination of parent-led writing and moving on to student-led writing, WriteShop engages kids with writing prompts, a fun worksheet per unit, and additional activities and game ideas.

Dividing each unit in to 8 "days," WriteShop provides lesson plans for a 3 day a week, covering one lesson every three weeks, or 4 day a week schedule, covering a lesson every two weeks.  There is a schedule that allows you to complete a lesson in one week, but it is recommended only for very fast paced or motivated 3rd or 4th graders.

Here's how the days break down -

Activity 1- Introduction of the unit theme and the worksheet
Activity 2- Reading of a picture book and pre-writing activities
Activity 3- Brainstorming and organizing ideas
Activity 4- Creating a story using the skills learned
Activity 5- Editing and Revising
Activity 6- Guided writing practice
Activity 7- Publishing your project
Activity 8- Evaluating your child's work and a "want to do more" day which provides additional ideas and projects

Themes for Level B include:

Writing a letter
Standard Spelling
Poems and Nursery Rhymes
Fairy Tales
In the News
Problem and Solution
Character and Setting
Story Organizers

How we used WriteShop Primary: Book B  We have been using WriteShop Level B for our newly turned 7 year old, who will be beginning 2nd grade in August.  We chose to do four lessons a week, covering a unit every two weeks.  This gives us Fridays off, or just provides a built-in extra few days in case we decide we need more time to write.  That has happened! 

What we think -  As I mentioned earlier, we really do love WriteShop.  I love the friendly approach that makes writing fun.  No extra fluff here! Writing is the goal, and you do a lot of it.  Each day begins with guided writing, where the teacher does most of the writing.  When we start off the week and I am doing the writing for CJ, he is relaxed and able to just concentrate on his work.  By me writing for him, his ideas flow! Sometimes extensively!  He also likes the brainstorming days, again because I am writing for him and he is free to be creative without being bound to what he can spell or how fast he can write.  We ease into him writing his story by the end of the first week and by the end of the second he is doing his stories all on his own.  

One of the other things I really like about WriteShop is that has a scripted example on several days of what should take place.  While our conversations never look quite like theirs, it is often a big help to me just to get us started.  In addition, within the teacher's guide there is information on creating a writing center and an extensive section on teaching the lessons.  If this is your first time teaching WriteShop, this is a MUST READ section.  It has many helpful hints that you will need to know.  Also tucked into the pages of the teacher's guide are "parents say..." sections - little quotes and ideas from other parents who have used the program and variations they have used with success.  If any advanced preparation is required on your part, that information is in a highlighted box at the beginning of each lesson.

Two of the things that CJ likes best is the worksheets, which says a lot, and the creative ideas.  Making word families on flowers is more fun that just making a list!  Another technique we have used a lot is making a word bank before he writes.

front of worksheets

back of worksheets

Writing his Acrostic on a pillowcase was just more fun!  He looks forward to project days the most.

When we used the program last year he enjoyed the publishing part of the week the best.  This year I have found that that is not as big of a deal, but if you have a kid that loves to share their work with other family members, ideas like making a holiday party favor with your child's poem or making a basket of "story loaves" will be sure to bring them joy.

Overall, I have no hesitancy in highly recommending WriteShop for your beginner writers.  It is a good, solid writing program that I think will give your student a head start with writing.  We will continue to use it through each level!

WriteShop Primary: Book B Set-$35.95

You can find WriteShop here-

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  1. Love the photos of CJ making his acrostic pillowcase. Super cute! I'm so glad to hear WriteShop has been a happy fit for your family, Michele. Thank you so much for your lovely review of WriteShop Primary B.

    1. You are welcome, This program works very well for us and we have a lot of fun using it!


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