4 Stars Out Of 5
November 12, 2015
This is a good book about teaching writing. It's not complete, though. It won't tell you exactly how to teach your child to write. I particularly appreciated the discussion about grammar, handwriting, and spelling. She has some good points. You may not agree with what she says completely, but it is good food for thought. I am using the first writing skills (book a) with my middle daughter, who is in 4th grade. I wouldn't use this book with anyone younger than 3rd grade. For those grades, I'd start with the EPS books, Write about Me and Write about My World. These provide frames for beginning first and second grade writers.
I have my masters in education and what was most interesting to me was how Ms. King breaks down expository writing. It is so different than most other writing books that it really made me think about how I could integrate some of her ideas into my writing curriculum. But, I strongly disagree with her about the importance of creative writing. Creative writing, which includes descriptive writing, narratives and poetry, allows students to find their voices and develop their descriptive skills, which are vitally important for good expository writing. Today, because of common core, creative writing is being largely pushed aside. It makes me very sad. One of my students who is very competent writer is weak in his expository writing because he lacks strong description. What he needs to learn is not a formula of how many adjectives to add (like IEW), but how to see what makes his nouns different and to consider how to paint a more vivid picture with words (as creative writing encourages).
There is one other thing that I disagreed with the author about. I've used and have studied many different writing programs, but one thing that has been helpful to my children from the Writing With Ease program is practicing replying in sentences to the questions about the stories. (I use the things I like from that program.) Ms. King says that writing and talking are different. I disagree. I believe that good writers speak better. Young children begin by dictating what they want to write and a parent writing it down. I believe there is a strong connection between the two.
One last note, you do not need this book in order to use the Writing Skills series. That was my question and the reason I ordered this book. It is a nice book to have, but if it's not in your budget, you can skip it.