Review of IEW's Teaching Writing Structure and Style AND StudentWriting Intensive Level A

     The Institute for Excellence in Writing is not a new company in our homeschool plans. When you sign up at their website, they offer numerous downloads which you can access whenever you log in, so be sure to sign up! Along with the reading list, tips for teaching boys, and audio files shared there, we have used other physical products from IEW as well including their Phonetic Zoo, and US History Based Writing Lessons. You can see extensive samples from each of their products including the ones shared about this review on their website as well. 

     Teaching Writing with Structure and Style Set (TWSS $169.00) and Student Writing Intensive Level A Set (SWI $109.00) are available individually or as a set  for $249.00 which is how I received it for this review TWSS/SWI Level A.

     The class on DVD which makes up the SWI program is a recording of a four day intensive writing class with 4th and 5th graders. The scope and sequence shows how to cover the 15 lessons over a 30 week period. Lessons are designed to be completed once a week for about an hour at a time, however for the purpose of this review we worked a bit more quickly than recommended. All necessary handouts are included, and they even provide a binder, dividers, and instructions on how to organize all of the pages. Though a lot of DVDs are included, this program is not designed just to leave your children watching the TV. Instead, they watch a short lesson to learn each new concept and then practice it with you the parent/teacher. A sample lesson plan helps you break down the components into manageable units. 

     For this review, my 7th grade daughter and 3th grade son both participated in these lessons. Although it is designed for 3rd through 5th graders, it can easily be used with older students. My son laughed out loud several times as he watched the DVD of Mr. Pudewa teaching. He was engaged in the lessons, actively answering questions with enjoyment! The humor mixed into each lesson keeps it from being boring. Grammar lessons are sprinkled liberally throughout the lectures such as a lesson on adverbs as he teaches what he calls "dress-ups." Students were encouraged to learn the list of adverbs to use adverbial clauses more easily in their writing. Their vocabulary will be expanded as they participate with the DVDs. 

     Mr. Pudewa shares tools for structure and style to help increase your child's confidence with writing. Nonfiction as well as fiction topics were used in the assignments. One of his examples involved Asiatic elephants which has been of particular interest to since my return from Asia. Tools include style charts, sentence openers, dress ups, and more. 

     The main component to this program is the 6 DVD TWSS class for the parent/teacher. You learn the reason behind as well as the how to teach writing. The TWSS set includes six DVDs and a binder filled with helpful information that is referred to throughout the DVD lessons. The ideas shared can be applied to any lecture or reading assignment that your children are learning; many examples are included in the program. Folded many booklets provide topics use in the DVD lessons. 

     This IEW review reminded me of how much my writing is filled with banned words. (That may not be what you think it means.) Mr. Pudewa uses the concept of banned words to add more interest to your student's writing. Some examples of banned words that I frequently use are like, said, big, and pretty. Lessons include using a list and a thesaurus for more interesting word choices. A side effect of the lessons is your own writing improving as well.

     At times hand motions are demonstrated with writing rules to help students recall them later. Improved comprehension is another side effect of this program as your students will also learn to become better note takers. Reports are easier with this resource. Are you ready to try IEW? Maybe like my 7th grader, your child will also say "I Enjoy Writing!"


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