Writing with Ease: Strong Fundamentals (Complete Writer)

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momof5babes

  • Reviewed on Friday, March 22, 2013
  • Grades Used: 1st-3rd
  • Dates used: 2011-2013
I have used this for the last 2 years... I started with level 2 when my oldest was in 2nd grade, and we now use levels 3 and 1 for my 2nd oldest. We have really loved this curriculum! It has been very gentle and non-intimidating for my squirrely boys who don't necessarily LOVE to write. I have seen HUGE improvement in my oldest child's retention and comprehension in reading and being able to form his thoughts and put them to paper in sentences that really make sense and contain good grammar. We are moving to a unit study next year, so rather than using the workbook with Susan W. Bauer's selections, we will be following the format using the text, but wrapping the assignments around the books our unit studies will center around. I actually have found the complete opposite to be true of what the previous reviewer said, that it is a very SIMPLe approach and has been very nicely laid out for the parent. My kids have loved it, and they are not avid writers by any means!

SwissMom

  • Reviewed on Monday, October 24, 2011
  • Grades Used: 1st
  • Dates used: 2009
I was very disappointed with this program. I ordered the hardcover book and the workbook for level one. I suggest looking at the hardcover book at the library, if available, before purchasing. It brought daily frustration. While the copywork passages were simple,the narration excerpts and exercises brought frustration and tears.

We ditched the program and used Aesop's Fables for narration and "the moral" as our own copywork. Simple, sweet, inexpensive, fantastic!

At Level 1, WWE was far too complicated for such a simple process (copywork and narration). I felt is was a waste of our money, when better programs (and less expensive) are available. We also do not need the grammar help or pointers, as we use a different grammar program (Rod and Staff in Grades 2+). It is keyed to use with First Language Lessons, written by the author's mother. (IMHO if you use First Language Lessons, you DO NOT need to add Writing With Ease. FLL was written to be a stand alone program, complete in itself.)

We continued with copywork in 1st grade, Delightful Dictation with Spelling in 2nd (which is copywork and dictation), and are now using the free Progressive Composition series written by Ida Brautigam (available on googlebooks). All three have been age appropriate and a huge success!

We also continued with narration, but with Aesop's Fables in 1st, select lessons from Primary Language Lessons in 2nd, and Progressive Composition Lessons in 3rd (copywork, dictation, narration, and more is all included in this vintage freebie!)


lizzybee

  • Reviewed on Tuesday, April 5, 2011
  • Grades Used: 3rd-4th
  • Dates used: 2010-2011
I am using Writing With Ease with my dyslexic daughter, and it's been a very gentle introduction to writing for her. She has finished the first level and we're currently using the second level. We're using it about 2 years below grade level, so we used the Level 1 book for 3rd grade and the Level 2 book for 4th grade. WWE has helped my daughter learn to process and remember what she hears, answer questions in grammatically correct sentences, learn the mechanics of writing, and improve her handwriting. She enjoys the literature selections, so we've borrowed many of them from the library on CD so that she can listen to the entire books.

really2k1

  • Reviewed on Friday, March 18, 2011
  • Grades Used: 2nd
  • Dates used: 2010-2011
This is our second year of homeschooling. This is our first year with a structured writing program. Last year was just a general language arts and reading program.

We use the Writing With Ease workbook, although we have the book and workbook. You don't NEED both, just one or the other - although the book is a good primer on the overall program. The book doesn't, however, have all the daily work laid out like the workbook does. It just has the background and philosophy, the structure, some samples and general ideas. We easily prefer the workbook over the book.

Our ds is using the Writing With Ease Level 2 workbook.

The program consists of four days per week. The same piece of literature is used all week. For example, you may use half of "The Pied Piper" during the first half of the week and the second half during the second half of the week.

Day one is narration. You read a chosen portion of a book, story or poem to the child and have them summarize it back to you in two or three sentences. You write down their summary sentences as they tell them to you. As the course progresses, the passages get increasingly longer and more complex.

Day two is copywork. They copy a sentence or more from the same piece of literature.

Day three is dictation. You dictate a sentence or two to the student, pausing appropriately for commas and periods or reading with excitement for exclamation points. The student has to use your reading of the passage to write the sentence out without being told what the actual punctuation is.

Day four is narration AND dictation. It is similar to day one. You read a different portion of the same piece of literature. The child summarizes the passage back to you in two or three sentences. You write down their summary. You then dictate one of their sentences back to them and have them write it out (with correct punctuation) after you read it to them.

Each day's work takes anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes.

I was very surprised at the success we've had with this program. We're in March now and we have found that our ds is falling in love with listening to the poems or stories. His summarization went from completely incompetent to oftentimes better than the examples given in the book. I'm amazed to be honest.

What spurred me to write this review was that yesterday, on a whim, my ds started writing his "own book." I read his first two little chapters today and I was shocked at how good it was. It sounded like some of the writers we've been copying, narrating and dictating from. He actually summarized his book to my wife and then started to write it out, just like we've been doing. There were a few misspellings but the writing itself was very impressive for his age.

As a comparison, we also have Ruth Beechick's Three R's. Her recommended writing method is similar to this method, which is one of the reasons we went this route. We're the type of parents that like things laid out for us rather than coming up with our own daily program. The Writing With Ease workbook is very well laid for each week, with no real questions. The main thing that parents need to do is put out the effort to teach the child to summarize their thoughts so they can put them on paper. Summarizing thoughts clearly and putting them onto paper in good language is what good writers do. Writing With Ease teaches the child to copy, read, hear and summarize good writing so they know what good writing looks like on paper.

I've read how people like Ben Franklin and Jack London learned to write by copying great writers. They literally copied page after page verbatim to teach themselves how to write well. It worked for them. Quite frankly I'm amazed at how far my ds has come in the span of four or five months. He absolutely looks forward to Writing With Ease. He often wants to do two days in one just so he can hear the second part of the passage that comes during the second half of the week. I can't wait to see how his writing looks a few years from now. We'll be sticking with this writing program for the foreseeable future.
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