Create Better Writers {TOS review}

I love writing and apparently so does David Dye author of Create Better Writers. He has more than 20 years of experience teaching students in third through the eleventh grades. Through his personal experience as a teacher of being discouraged by unorganized writing curriculum, attending dozens of workshops, he decided to create his own writing program, Create Better Writers, that he shared with the TOS Crew to review.

The curriculum is written for students in the third through twelfth grades. We received The Homeschool Writing Action Plan, How to Write a Paragraph and How to Teach the Five-Paragraph Essay. We were able to work through the How to Write a Paragraph E-book and learned some “tricks” for writing a paragraph.

Dye has written his curriculum so that your students will have the “solid basics” of writing after going through the curriculum. He believes that you don’t need experience as a writer or be a competent writing yourself to teach your child how to write. Everything you need is in his curriculum.

Writing instruction does NOT need to be difficult. If your student can write a paragraph, your student can write anything from an essay, to a research report, to an in-depth story.” ~ David Dye

He states that if you want them to have the “solid basics” of writing, then he has the “trick” that will help your child (or anyone) succeed. So you don’t have to have experience or be a competent writer to teach your child how to write.

Dye believes the key to successful writing is the pre-write where the student gathers his ideas on paper before actually starting to write. If proper steps are followed when doing the pre-write, then everything (the writing of the paper, etc.) from that point is easy. The prep work always takes longer.

Dye starts with the magic words, “You are about to write a paragraph.” This is a prompt for the students to gather supplies (paper and writing utensil and begin to write. The “trick” as he calls it…I almost feel like I’m giving away the prize, but I guess that is what I am supposed to do.

The trick is setting up the paper for a successful pre-write. The pre-write is the key for writing a great paper.

Once the paper is pre-pared, they may begin going through the process of preparing information for the paragraph. A paragraph is about One Main Idea. Once the student understand that, then he is ready to begin writing following these steps:

What is the topic? Write about it using the following steps:

1. Collect facts from the book, worksheet and I will add from your subject if you are doing an interview.
2. Organize facts and determine which ones you will keep and the order in which to place them.
3. Write the “topic sentence”, supporting details and closing sentence.

Watch this video for a walk-through of writing a paragraph:

OUR EXPERIENCERiver and Lily enjoyed going through the lessons. They were easy for me to teach. We did spend some time concentrating on gathering information pertaining to the one main idea of the paragraph. They both had experience with this when we use to go through our history readings (something Dye suggests your students do for practice). I would have them write about one main idea and they would gather information to put together the paragraph. This was good reinforcement of what we have been working on, but also the paper set-up (I’m still trying to get a handle on that) helps for a more organized looking paper. That helps see all of the information that is gathered more clearly and orderly.

I like Dye’s approach in that it is straight-forward. I almost feel like there should be something in between, but he has to correct steps down (shown above), which is the same approach I take when writing a paper, or an article. I don’t set-up my paper the way he does, which would probably make going through my notes a little easier, but I follw the same process and usually get some pretty good results.

After we finish going through How to Write a Paragraph, we will continue through with the next E-book ‘How to Teach the Five-Paragraph Essay’ later. I want to be sure River and Lily have a good grasp on the paragraph portion.

One thing that I would rather say is that I am not teaching my children a “trick” I am teaching them the proper steps for writing. I guess calling it a trick sounds good for people who are looking for something quick and easy, which it is, but the steps are ones that are necessary for good writing.

You may find the other two E-books, The Home School Writing Action Plan and How to Teach the Five-Paragraph Essay, useful when using this curriculum.

The action plan is geared toward third through twelfth grade students and provides the teachers/parent with ideas about presenting writing to their students in various grades. How to Teach the Five-Paragraph Essay provides detailed information on how to write a complete essay. There are step-by-step instructions provided in this E-book. Take a look at the steps. You may also watch a video presentation of How to Teach the Five-Paragraph Essay.

How to Teach the Paragraph is available for only $7.99 as an E-book and FREE when you also purchase How to Teach the Five Paragraph Essay (retail $17.95 – E-book and $19.95 – soft cover) or the The Home School Writing Action Plan (retail $15.95 – E-book and $19.95 – soft cover).

You can read more reviews of this item by fellow crew members on The Homeschool Crew Blog.

Disclaimer: The product featured in this review was provided to me in exchange for an honest review by the manufacturer or representing PR agency as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew. The opinions expressed are my own.
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