Saturday, May 19, 2012

Review: Write Shop Junior level D

Finding the perfect writing program has been a struggle around our house.  My daughter has a love/hate relationship with writing.  She likes to make up stories and such but loathes the act of actually putting it down on paper. And she doesn't even want to hear about the elements that should be included in good writing.  "Boring!"

Write Shop Junior is a program that I've seen around on various blogs but I'd never really considered it.  It  appeared to be heavy on crafty type activities which generally ups the teacher prep work. I'm really not the crafty mom and I certainly don't want any extra prep.

Then it showed up on our review list so I said "why not?"  It's not like it's a life time commitment.  Boy did the program surprise me.  In a good way.

About Write Shop Junior

WriteShop Junior is a creative writing program that appeals to many learning styles. As with all WriteShop products, WriteShop Junior helps you guide children through the steps of the writing process. To keep the experience fun for everyone, every lesson includes engaging games and activities that teach and review important writing and self-editing skills. And whether you have a more advanced child or one who is just beginning, this program is flexible so children can work at their own level. 

Book D is recommended for 3rd and 4th grade, but many of our test families also used it successfully with reluctant 5th graders (and even some 6th graders). Parents also appreciate being able to use the program with struggling learners.

Skills Covered:

Identify and use proper grammar and punctuation
Narrow a broad topic to a specific topic
Brainstorm before writing
Structure a sentence
Write a paragraph
Choose strong words instead of weak ones
Use emotion words to develop voice
Use the five senses to add descriptive detail
Self-edit and revise their work

Our Experience

We received Write Shop Junior and my fifth grader was a tad on the old side for the program and she doesn't have any learning struggles but I wanted to give it a go to see if would help her enjoy learning to write a bit more.

The program came with the teacher's guide, student activity guide, and my favorite, the TIME-SAVER pack in an e-book format.

Normally e-books are pretty simple to deal with, just open and go in Adobe.  However, the teacher guide is an Adobe portfolio file and that is a little different then a normal PDF.  I was a bit confused at first.  Then I clicked the "Files" button just left of center and life got a whole lot easier.  All the lessons were suddenly in a nice neat list and when I clicked on a particular lesson it worked just like a normal PDF. And it was really easy to use on my iPad.  I just opened the file in the free Adobe Reader app and clicked on the lesson I wanted.  Easy peasy.

Next up, choose a lesson plan schedule.  They offer three ways to schedule the program, ranging from lesson completion in two or three weeks.  Each lesson consists of the following activities:

*Activity Set 1: Fold-n-Go Grammar book (Yes, there is grammar instruction included. Score!) and Reading Log.  (We didn't do the reading log because we do enough reading that I don't need to keep track.)
*Activity Set 2: Pre-writing Activity and a Model & Teach session
*Activity Set 3: Review and Skill Builder & Journal Writing Practice
*Activity Set 4: Brainstorming
*Activity Set 5: Writing Project (sloppy copy)
*Activity Set 6: Edit and Revise (includes a handy check list)
*Activity Set 7: Publishing the Writing Project
*Activity Set 8: Evaluate the Work and an optional Do More activity

The student worksheet pack contains all of the pre-writing, skill building, brainstorming, fold-n-go, and check list sheets.  They are organized by lesson so you just have to click and print.  The time-saver pack contains all the little game elements that are needed for some of the games and activities.  Little things that the teacher would have to create and prepare in advance. But thanks to the Time-Saver pack I didn't have to create and prepare. All I had to do was print them on colored card stock and cut them out. Or have the student cut them out.  ;o) Love, love, love, LOVE the Time-Saver pack. We actually did all of the cutesy games thanks to this pack.

How'd Mackenzie like it? She loved it.  She called it fun and cool and she had a blast writing stories.  She enjoyed the fold-n-go grammar, the games, and even the writing assignments.  She didn't even cry when I had her write her "sloppy copy" by hand instead of typing.

Take a peek at what it looked like at our house.

Fold-n-Go Grammar


Pre-Writing, Model & Teach, Skill Building, and brainstorming fun


The best part for me is that it never took me more than 5-10 minutes to get any of the activities together.  And some of them look pretty involved, right?  And boy did she have fun writing the stories.  We completed 3 full lessons over the 6 weeks and she wrote 2 amazing stories.  And had fun doing it. She's so proud of them that she thinks they could be published.  =o)

So while she was a bit too advanced for it academically, she was enjoying writing!  That was a win for me and we are going to keep doing the lessons as long as she's enjoying them.  And I am definitely keeping their products in mind for my little one when the time comes.


Age Range: 3rd & 4th grade or reluctant 5th graders
Pricing: print version is $39.95, PDF version is $34.95
Click for Sample

And guess what?  They are offering 15% off Write Shop Primary and Junior products to our readers through June 15.  Just enter the code: CREW15   So pop by the WriteShop store!

Click the Crew banner below and read more reviews about various Write Shop products.

Disclaimer: I was given this product free for review purposes.  All opinions are my own or my daughter's.

1 comment:

Kelli Becton said...

Thanks for visiting my blog- I'm new to the TOS crew - nice to meet you! I've been eyeballing "The Write Shop" my boys are not big fans of writing (boy torture) so I'm thinking they might like this format a bit better - thanks - looks colorful and fun


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