Teaching writing has not been a major focus in our homeschool. While I did require my children to write about various topics, I felt ill equipped to give them much guidance. For the past several months we have had the opportunity to utilize resources from Institute for Excellence in Writing and it has been a wonderful learning experience for my children and myself.
For this review, we received Structure and Style Overview, Student Writing Intensive Level A and a Portable Wall. Structure and Style Overview is a wonderful resource for the parent/teacher. I knew to adequately teach writing to my children, I needed help. Structure and Style Overview was the resource I needed to understand how to help my children.
Mr. Pudewa introduces you to the structure and style method of writing used in IEW’s writing resources. The nine units of structure are covered as well as discussing several stylistic techniques. Mr. Pudewa also explains why this method works so well for students who hate to write or don’t feel that they can.
Student Writing Intensive Level A is a DVD writing course designed for grades 3-5. The DVD is a live recording of Mr. Pudewa teaching a writing class. Each session covers structural models and stylistic techniques. Student Writing Intensive includes student handouts, teacher’s notes, source text and checklist for 15 lessons. A binder with dividers is included as well. All depending on your child’s mastery of each lesson, this package can give 15-30 weeks of writing.
The final product for this review was the portable wall. This is a wonderful resource for quick reference for your writers. It is a single pocket folder that becomes a tri-fold wall that contains unit modules, word lists like prepositions and substitutions for “said” and more. When your writer gets stumped looking for the right word, the portable wall is right there!
Our Thoughts on IEW:
Previously, I had only skimmed over the IEW website not really interested. I have several friends who have utilized different products from IEW and love them. I had no desire to jump on the IEW bandwagon. How wrong I was!
Mr. Pudewa presents the writing instruction in a manner that engages the student and speaks to them. Concepts and ideas are presented in a way that is easily understood and applied. The lessons can take a week or two all depending on your student and her writing abilities. The lessons are laid out simply. The checklist and teacher notes makes it easy to check your child’s progress and access their understanding of the topic.
Student Writing Intensive A is designed for grades 3-5. Along with my 5th grader, I allowed my 6th grader to watch the videos as well. They both learned so much. They enjoyed Mr. Pudewa and found him quite funny. They were constantly asking to do the next lesson. They grasped the concepts quickly and I was amazed at how much their writing improved.
They both have always done well with verbally expressing themselves but to put it on paper was like running into a wall. SWI has really helped them to get the ideas from their heads to the paper.
Teaching Structure and Style was a huge help to me as the parent/teacher. I liked having the overview so I could be ahead of them on the lessons. It also helped me to work with my younger writers. It is a great quick course for teachers to become familiar with how IEW works.
I will definitely be using SWI A with my younger students when they are ready. I also plan to purchase more writing intensive for my older students when the budget allows. Using these products from IEW has made a huge difference for my girls. Now writing for other subjects such as history or science is not the challenge it was because they know steps to walk them through the process. I highly recommend IEW!
Please remember that if you purchase a Student Writing Intensive you can use it for multiple students by just purchasing student notebooks when needed. Make sure you look around at Institute for Excellence in Writing and see all the products they have to offer. They have much more than just writing instruction.
**Disclaimer – As a member of TOS Review Crew, I received a complimentary copy of this product. No compensation was made. The thoughts/opinions/experience shared in this post are my own.