Helping Your Active Reader Become An Active Writer (Without Losing Their Joy of Words)

By freshlyplanted - 11:50 PM

Inside: A fun, hands-on writing curriculum to help your reader become a writer. WriteShop Junior addresses good writing fundamentals and is an ungraded, incremental approach- perfect for multi-age homeschool classrooms. Includes games, too! 

A fun, hands-on writing curriculum to help your active reader become a writer too

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There was a time before they began, but it's hard to remember. 

Tucked under coffee cups, on top of our planners, sometimes even under pillows: 

Can I make hot cocoa for us? 
Can you help me with my work?
I love you! 

The time before our oldest started writing is hard to recall. For years, our house has brimmed with notes: requests, dinner suggestions, advice on raising her siblings. 

Since she's a voracious reader- who's read & reread Harry Potter since she was seven- words are not a problem for her. 

But always having the right words?
Or having them always do what she wants

That's a problem for every writer. 

Unlocking creativity and guiding her writing in a positive direction- emphasizing strengths and building on weaknesses- was something her editors (us) could use guidance for, too. 

The Necessity of Good Writing

With writing programs, there was always a concern: Will she lose her joy for words? 

As teachers, we know the benefits of writing skills: 

  • Broadened vocabulary
  • Increased ability to communicate
  • Higher levels of thinking & cognitive skills
  • More school and professional opportunities
But none of the different elementary options looked fun enough for our hands-on, salamander-collecting kid. 

A fun, hands-on writing curriculum to help your active reader become a writer too
Fun writing curriculums are as elusive as salamanders!

We wanted to give her writing tools without losing the freedom of choice and interest-led learning that homeschooling offers. 

It needed to address fundamentals of good writing skills, include games, and be easy to use... especially since our preschooler recently gave up naps.

We've discovered something that fits the bill! Games and all. 

Open and Go Writing Skills With WriteShop

Disclosure: I received WriteShop Junior in exchange for a review, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. I only share resources we would use as a family and believe other families would also enjoy. 

When first introduced to WriteShop, we were excited about the possibilities. Each book can be used independently, so it's easy to begin right away without the hassle of reviewing previous levels first. 

WriteShop books are also ungraded, spanning multiple ages. 

Instead of grades, levels are based on a child's age and skills. WriteShop actually cautions against choosing a level that's too young- 

Start at the level that best fits your student's thinking skills, not his grammar, spelling, or writing skills. When a child struggles in one of these areas, you want to slow down, not dumb down. A child's ability to physically write things down often lags behind his intellect and vocabulary. 

Since our daughter loves reading we chose WriteShop Junior, which is a better fit for most upper-elementary students even if they haven't had much writing experience. 

While looking through our Book D set, she was excited about exploring ten different types of writing- including Humor, Mysteries and Historical Fiction (her current favorites).

I was excited to realize that it was all laid out & ready to go. 

Each lesson includes: 
  • A list of needed materials 
  • Pre-writing games to explore new concepts
  • Skill builders for particular writing skills
  • Suggested dialogue for modeling and teaching
  • Brainstorming activity
  • Writing project, including pre-writing and editing
  • Helpful tips from other parents & kids
  • Final draft publishing ideas
This final writing publication can be as simple or elaborate as your child likes- there's lots of ideas to choose from.

And with the optional time-saver pack? You don't have to make any copies. At all. 

A WriteShop Week 

Out of the many scheduling ideas included in WriteShop, we chose the three week rotation. With only three lessons a week, it was easy to include and didn't overwhelm her. 

Each half hour lesson had us model good writing, play a writing game or journey together through the process of planning, writing, and editing. 

A fun, hands-on writing curriculum to help your active reader become a writer too
Enjoying a writing game: Can you match all the pieces of the invitations?  

The small time frame was perfect- long enough to cover material, short enough to keep her engaged. 

Our first project was invitation writing. She enjoyed the modeling, loved the game (even asking to play it outside of writing sessions), but I kept wondering: 

How was she going to handle editing her work? 

That was my biggest concern. 

When the fateful day arrived, she chose a highlighter from our school supplies and embarked on a "Job Well Done" search with her rough draft. 

A fun, hands-on writing curriculum to help your active reader become a writer too
A fun, hands-on writing curriculum to help your active reader become a writer too

Focusing on what was right made it easier to talk about what could improve, and gave her confidence to implement the changes in her final draft. 

Her invitation writing lessons inspired some new notes around the house, too.

A fun, hands-on writing curriculum to help your active reader become a writer too

To see her final draft and more upcoming WriteShop projects, follow us on Instagram

WriteShop Freebie:

A fun, hands-on writing curriculum to help your active reader become a writer too

Benefits of WriteShop Levels

WriteShop books are divided into two groups, Primary and Junior. This wide range of levels include an incremental approach, so previously taught skills appear again in later levels. 

WriteShop Primary Book A,  5-7 year olds, includes: 
  • Constructing sentences
  • Basics of story writing 
WriteShop Primary Book B, 6-8 year olds, includes:  
  • Builds on Primary Book A skills 
  • Including problem/solution in story and writing a letter
  • Using indentation & paragraph form
WriteShop Primary Book C, 7-9 year olds, includes: 
  • Planning out a story
  • Who, what, when, where & why? to add story details
  • Summarizing short, familiar books & research information
WriteShop Junior Book D, 8-11 year olds, includes:
  • Proper grammar/punctuation 
  • Brainstorming, self-editing and revising
  • Composing a short, research-based article
WriteShop Junior Book E, 9-12 years, includes:
  • Develop voice & point of view
  • Writing summaries and book-based report
  • Drafting a 5 paragraph composition
WriteShop Junior Book F, 10-12 years, includes:
  • Describe characters, setting, plot with vivid language
  • Writing a persuasive letter
  • Composing an expository non-fiction report

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