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Writing Tales: Level One Teacherís Guide
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Writing Tales: Level One Teacherís Guide

Printer Friendly Version

Publisher: Olsen Books
Author: Amy Hastings Olsen

List Price: Softcover: $21.95

Ages: 9-11 Years

Reviewed By: Jean Hall

 
When I set out to review Writing Tales, Level One, I deliberately went through the Student Workbook first (see accompanying review), without more than a glance at the Teacherís Guide. This is a common practice among homeschoolers, after all. In an effort to save costs, weíll buy just the student text and muddle our way through, or weíll just buy a teacherís guide, and make up our own worksheets.

When I finally read through the Teacherís Guide I found a wealth of help and bonus material. Detailed lesson plans mean the planning has already been done for you. There are even notes that help you look ahead; for example, at the end of a lesson, you might find a note to seek out a library book for the next lesson. There are extra exercises, along with reproducible pages not found in the student book. There are instructions and materials for games. There are helpful notes for dealing with situations such as a young writer struggling with the mechanics of writing. Youíll find reminders and teaching suggestions to help you and your student keep on track and maximize learning.

The author of Writing Tales has, with thought and care, priced this excellent language arts program to make it affordable to buy both the Teacherís Guide and an individual copy of the Student Workbook for each student youíre teaching. The two are designed to work together, and work together, they do!

The full name of this curriculum is Writing Tales: Lessons in Composition and Language Arts in the Classical Style. In Level One youíll find thirty lessons suited to third and fourth grade students. These are packed with reading, oral and written narration (re-telling a story in the studentís own words), grammar instruction and practice, games, activities, and exercises.

The Teacherís Guide includes a comprehensive answer key to all student workbook pages. By this, I mean that the student workbook pages appear, full-sized, with answers filled in, but youíll also find guidance for the teacher as well, telling you what to check for in copywork assignments, for example.

The scope and sequence that follows the ďIntroductionĒ gives a clear idea of what grammatical concepts are introduced in each lesson. Level One covers types of sentences, capitalization and punctuation, direct and indirect quotes, and eight parts of speech.

The real gem in the book is the detailed lesson plans, one set for an individual homeschool, and one set for use in a co-op setting. There are five days of work for each week with a mix of teacher-guided work and individual work. For the co-op, activities, suitable for a group or needing a teacherís guidance, are grouped together into one dayís work, with the rest of the activities laid out as homework for the rest of the week.

Fifteen ďrealĒ stories are used for the thirty lessons; by ďrealĒ I mean taken from classic literature for children, such as Aesopís Fables or James Baldwinís Famous Stories. In each lesson plan in the Teacherís Guide youíll find instructions for introducing and using the story, both in the exercise pages in the Student Workbook, as well as additional reading and activities found in the Teacherís Guide to repeat and cement learning.

The Teacherís Guide contains three appendices: Teacherís Resources (reproducible pages for games and activities), a supplemental reading list (a handful of extra books used in the lessons; I was able to find these books in our libraryís catalog), and instructions for eight language arts oriented games.

In addition, on the publisherís website you can download a file of reproducible pages, ready to print, which is a nice convenience. Itíll save you a trip to make copies!

Copy permission for the reproducible pages is given in the Teacherís Guide for private, personal use only. If you have more than one student or are teaching a co-op class, itís actually more cost-effective to buy each student a Student Workbook than to make copies of all the student pages.

Writing Tales is thoughtfully put together, an excellent workhorse of a program that doesnít feel as much like work as some programs weíve done, probably in part because its foundation is built on stories we would have found interesting even if they werenít part of a language arts assignment.

Whether or not youíre following the classical method, youíll find this a solid language arts program, easy to use, methodical, and effective.
More Information
Available From: Olsen Books
Address: 52 Lincoln Avenue, Livingston, NJ
Phone: 973.670.3767
Website: www.writing-tales.com
Email: info@olsenbooks.com
Other Notes:
 

Add Your Own Review

 
Jean Hall
Jean Hall, a Christian home educator with three daughters, enjoys writing stories and music. Her family's interests include reading together, art, gardening, volkswalking and pets: two cats and a Giant Schnauzer.
Copyright © 2008 Eclectic Homeschool Association
 

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