Writing with Skill
The first thing you'll notice about Writing with Skill, perhaps besides its renowned author, is the massive size of this text. Don't let that alarm you, though. When you flip the workbook open you'll immediately notice a large-enough-to-be-friendly font size combined with detailed instruction to the student, large excerpts from famous works of literature, and even occasional illustrations that combine in manageable lessons.
What Is Covered?
Starting with basic narrative summaries, Writing with Skill proceeds to outlines, descriptions, narrative and description combined, metaphors, sequencing, writing about stories, research writing, and poems, culminating in a researched, well-written composition of your student's own choosing.
Uses Real Literature
Writing with Skill uses selections from such varied sources as A Christmas Carol, Big Red, and Tom Sawyer, and also includes authors such as Shakespeare and Edgar Allan Poe. This means that your child learns to write well while being trained by the very best authors. What an awesome concept!
Who Is Writing with Skill For?
Writing with Skill is for the student who needs a comprehensive writing course. Perhaps she loves writing and wants to understand it better. Or perhaps she has somehow missed out on even the basics and you want a program that takes her through them in a year.
How Long Will It Take?
Writing with Skill is conveniently broken into thirty-six weeks of lessons, each consisting of four days' worth of work. Your student will keep a writing notebook (a 3-ring binder is recommended) of her work and will add to it as she progresses. I would expect each day's lesson to take about half an hour--some days will be shorter, others will take longer--and of course all will vary widely depending on your student's reading and writing pace. As far as writing courses go, this one is rigorous, but without being too technical or tedious.
Do I Really Need the Instructor Text?
That is up to you. The workbook is designed to be as self-teaching as possible, so if you are adventurous and are happy to answer any questions that arise by interpreting the student text, then you'll do fine without it. However, if you prefer step-by-step teacher directions, answers, and even scripts to use for explaining trouble areas to your student, you'll find the instructor text well worth the investment.