Tuesday, August 7, 2012

TOS Crew -- Create Better Writers

Writing does not come easily for my children and when I saw this writing program I had hope that maybe this would work for us and maybe George would enjoy it. He used to enjoy writing but lately, not so much. I chose to start him with something basic which was How to Write a Paragraph which is only part of a whole system.

Here is a little background information from the author, David S. Dye.

There are many wonderful and expensive, writing programs. Many of these programs require a great deal of time, and a certain level of expertise, for the home school teacher. The purpose of our system is to break writing down into its simplest form for both the teacher and the student.

The paragraph lesson plan will lead home school teachers into "How to Teach the Five Paragraph Essay" and finally into "How to Teach the Research Report". Along the way, students will learn to write more intelligent sentences and build strong vocabulary.

Sounds great to me! Lets give it a try.

From the Table of Contents --

Paragraph Writing – Overview
Part I – The BasicsStep 1 – Assessment: Students write a paragraph
Step 2 – Learning the five parts of a good paragraph 
Step 3 – Memorize the Five Parts of a Paragraph  
Step 4 – The Paper Set-Up 

Step 5 – Write a Paragraph Together: The Prewrite
Step 6 – Write a Paragraph Together: The Paragraph
Part II – Improving the Parts of a Paragraph
Step 7 – Topic Sentences
Step 8 – Closing Sentences
Step 9 – Paragraph Assessment
Step 10 – Practice, Practice, Practice
Step 11 – The Perfect Paragraph
Appendix A  / Appendix B 

This is for grades 3 and up and Mr. Dye recommends that you always start with learning to write a good paragraph because once you can do that you can write a good essay. The instructions were easy to follow, although also written for teachers so at times will talk about getting feedback from the group. Of course being summer it isn't quite as easy to get any child to sit and "do school". The emphasis is on taking your time and not rushing through this.

We learned that there are five parts to a good paragraph
  1. One Main Idea
  2. Topic Sentence
  3. 5-7 Sentences
  4. Closing Sentence
  5. Indent; Spelling and Punctuation
The emphasis is on one main idea and there are tricks to setting up your paper that help the writer remember the parts of a paragraph. And once you have all of those parts you have a paragraph. Of course it takes practice, practice, and more practice. This portion of the writing system can take anywhere from a day to a month to master. But by the end of this your child should know:
  1. How to setup their papers.
  2. Once given a topic they will write it down, narrow it down to one main idea, add 5 - 7 details that support it then number them in the correct order.
  3. Write a paragraph.
George did catch onto the five parts of a paragraph and was able to write one as well but we'll have to practice that more this fall and the first suggested theme is the classic "What I Did On My Summer Vacation". Being that we were not ready to move onto the next book How to Teach the Five Paragraph Essay my review is focusing only on this part of the system. I think it works well and offers games and suggestions for themes to keep it interesting and with no preparation on the part of the teacher which is what I like best.

The How to Write a Paragraph ebook is available for $7.99 but is free if you purchase the How to Teach the Five Paragraph Essay or with The Complete Writing System. Visit createbetterwriters.com for more information.


**Disclaimer: As a member of TOS Review Crew, I received a complimentary copy of this product along with How to Teach the Five Paragraph Essay and The Homeschool Writing Action Plan to review. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own.

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