For young people who want to improve their writing skills, step-by-step instructions are provided that will help any writer improve his techniques. The introduction provides a brief review of grammar followed by instruction on building stronger sentences, exercise in descriptive and narrative writing, creating dialogue, story writing, and writing from a particular point of view. Plus, practice the essential skills of every good writer, proofreading and revising.
About the Wordsmith Series
Have you ever felt overwhelmed with the slew of creative writing programs available for homeschoolers? As a curriculum provider, we have seen more writing programs than any sensible parent would ever want to see, and candidly, after a while they all look pretty much the same. So what stood out about the Wordsmith line?
No Slick Promises
To start with, the engaging exercises and doable assignments are pertinent for reinforcing the systematic process of thinking, organizing, writing, evaluating, and re-writing that is critical to any creative writing program. But ultimately, at the very core of the Wordsmith program is the honest reality presented by the author, Janie B. Cheaney, a regular columnist for World Magazine, that while her books will not always produce an enthusiastic and prolific writer, with the Wordsmith series, the actual skills of creative writing can be acquired by anyone. So if you need a language arts program that addresses creative writing in more depth, the Wordsmith series is the most effective, painless approach we have seen. A Teacher’s Guide for this course is available separately.
From the Publisher:
Confidence is what most young writers lack, and Wordsmith is designed to lead them to the place where they can read over their own work and think, “Hey—that’s pretty good!” Wordsmith is the core book in the series, the one that every student from age 12 and up should complete, especially if their writing skills lag behind the recommended level.
How to build confidence? Over many years of writing and teaching, I’ve developed a three-pronged approach:
1.Learn how to use the tools. That is, avail yourself of our incredibly rich English vocabulary and master the skill of manipulating sentences for greater effectiveness. What are the most important words of a sentence? How can you make those words pop? What are the sentence openers you should almost always avoid? How can you break out of the sentence-pattern rut? All these questions, and much more, are answered in Parts One and Two.
2.Learn how to tap your own experience for unlimited material. Have you ever heard the complaint, “I don’t have anything to write about?” Or have you ever stared at a blank page with a blank mind? You and your students will be happy to learn that everyone has unlimited subject matter to write about. And even better: one of the most important keys to effective writing, often overlooked, is personal connection. Through the seven core assignments in Wordsmith Part Three, students learn proven techniques for making personal connections with readers—and never running out of material.
3.Practice. No shortcuts here! Like any craftsman, a wordsmith hones her craft by learning the tools, becoming familiar with the medium, and practicing skills. Wordsmith provides plenty of opportunity by expanding on the core assignments with fun and imaginative variations.
But it doesn’t stop there. Writing is a TOWER process: Thinking, Organizing, Writing, Evaluating, and Rewriting. Wordsmith helps students begin to evaluate their own work to make it better. This is called revision, and reluctant writers hate it. Wordsmith details revision checklists for each assignment, allowing students to grow in proficiency and—here’s that word again—confidence!
A handy Appendix includes summaries of how to proofread and revise, a verb list, several examples of student writing, suggestions for blogging, and four review quizzes.
Author: Janie B. Cheaney
Publisher: Common Sense Press, 2003
View a sample lesson of Wordsmith Student Book
Awards and Endorsements:
2012 Cathy Duffy's 101 Top Picks
review by My Life on a Taffy Pull
"This program wasn’t a good fit for my budding authoress Strawberry. She loves to write, but felt that this book was too easy. I guess that’s not a bad problem to have. It didn’t hold her attention or challenge her enough. One good thing about all of the books that Timberdoodle sells in this same series is the cost. They are low-cost books! So the risk is minimal if you want to try them out."Read the Full Review
review by For One Another
"We have only used this book for 2 weeks now, but I've got to admit that I do like it. The biggest plus so far is that I don't get the rolled eyes and groans when it's time to pull out Wordsmith, like I did with last year's writing curriculum I chose. When I asked my 14 year old daughter what she thought of it, her response was: 'Way better than last year, for sure. AND I'm having fun with the thesaurus'."Read the Full Review
review by Eclectic Montage
"The approach is simple, but effective. As a short course, I think it does provide the foundation for getting a young writer on the path to understanding that writing is more than just putting words on paper. There is an approach, there are rules, and being able to apply those effectively are the key to success. If you have never had your child really sit down and walk through how to construct sentences, paragraphs, and finally a full essay, then I can easily recommend this program. Writing cannot be taken for granted – it must be taught."Read the Full Review
As a student, I enjoyed this book! It's very interesting and organized well.
I am loving that it is teaching better writing skills. It also gives a variety of learning options to choose from so you can make it as easy or as hard as you'd like.
This book just looks boring. It’s not appealing to my son. It looks like it was typed on a type writer. It needs some illustrations, just something to make my son want to pick this book up.
I have been looking for a writing curriculum that will foster my child's natural creative writing ability and this seems like it will be the perfect fit.
Wordsmith Student teaches important writing fundamentals, is well-organized, and comes at a great price. We did not use the teacher's guide, and I do not think it is necessary. Although we have been satisfied, we keep leaving it and forgetting to do it. Perhaps this is the nature of composition books? If you purchase it, I recommend scheduling it for use during a single school year, and altering some of the compositions so your student can write about things he is learning in other subject areas.