Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Writing Tales - A Review

Product:  Writing Tales Level One

               Writing Tales Level Two

Price:  Level One Student Workbook - $19.95
                           Teacher's Guide -       24.95

          Level Two Student Workbook - $24.95
                           Teacher's Guide -       32.95


Author:  Amy H. Olsen

Age Range:  Level One - 3rd and 4th grade
                   Level Two - 4th - 6th grade

Sample Pages:  For level one and two 

Brief Intro (from the website):

 Writing Tales was born out of the author's experience teaching a writing class to 3rd and 4th grade students in a classical co-operative.  A desire to teach writing from the classical approach led to a need to make the subject more accessible and enjoyable, and a curriculum was born.         

At the end of the 30 lessons, the student that finishes Writing Tales will have a treasure chest of fifteen well-written fables and fairy tales of their very own.

In-Depth Look: 

Well, I am just going to through it out there. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this program.  This is the way that I want to teach my children.  How I wish I had been exposed to the classical method years ago, when my oldest was just starting out.

Amy Olsen has done all of the leg work for you.    The teacher's guide spells everything out.  It tells about the story of the week.  Gives a daily lesson plan.  Shows the answers to the questions.  Includes ideas for games to review skills.  It even includes lesson plans for using the book in a co-op situation.
The teacher's guide is huge.  It has the lesson plans for a family situation.  Then it has the plans for a co-op situation.  Next are all the answers.  Then all the "extra" stuff like printables for the games.

It is very helpful, user friendly, and self-explanatory.  A wonderful resource.

The student guide is a winner before you even open it, because it is SPIRAL-BOUND.  I love spiral-bound books.  

Once you open the book, it only gets better.  Each lesson begins with a tale, a tale with great story-telling value and an important moral.  Some of the tales in Volume 2 are -
The King, the Falcon, and the Drinking-Cup
The Little Red Hen
Sir Walter Raleigh

Each lesson has a similar format.  Discussing the story, story ordering, copywork, vocabulary, types of sentences, oral narration.  Plus spelling practice, grammar, writing the tales with a rough draft and final draft, outlining, creative details in story telling. 

Each week, your child will get a familiar feel from the book.  They will have an idea what to expect.  I think this routine is a good thing.  But even within this routine, there is much variety and so many creative activities that your child won't have a chance to get bored.  

Two of my favorite aspects are the copy-work and the writing lessons.  

I like the copy-work because it causes your child to slow down and do their best.  To really concentrate on how their writing looks, and what their absolute best looks like.

The reason that the writing lessons are my other favorite thing is a little more in-depth.  Have you ever heard the philosophy that in order to learn how to be a great artist, you should practice by copying the works of great artists?  Well, it is the same with writing.  To be a great writer, you can read and write from great authors.  After reading a lesson's tale, your child will then write the story as accurately as he can from memory.  No peeking back at the original story.  Later, he will edit his work.  Then,  he will practice on any misspelled words.  Next, have him add some creative details, taking liberties with the story as long as the gist of the story doesn't change.  For example, in the Tortoise and the Hare, you can name the Tortoise, Sally and let the Hare pull out a sleeping bag while napping.  But, for goodness sake, don't mix up the story and let the Hare win. And then last thing, your child will do a final draft - all edits made and creative details added.

I LOVE these books.  I plan to continue using these books long after the review period is done.

Read more reviews here.

Disclaimer: I received this program free of charge to review, as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew. The above is just my opinion. Please remember that opinions may, and do, vary.

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