Wordsmith Craftsman

Wordsmith Craftsman

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Grades: 10-12

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Product Code: 045-379

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Typically counted as 1/4 credit for high school students.

Wordsmith Craftsman
The third and last of the Wordsmith series focuses on building, integrating, and polishing practical writing skills. This self-directed program allows students to take charge of their assignments and schedules. Strong in preparing the student for college, Part 1 addresses practical, everyday writing: notes, outlines, personal correspondence, summaries, business letters, and reports. Part 2 focuses on the power of language: paragraphs (principles, types, and organization), writing techniques, and developing a personal writing style. Part 3 concentrates on essay writing: descriptive, narrative, expository, and persuasive essays. Wordsmith equips young adults for a lifetime of excellence in communication skills.

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.

From the Publisher:
Confidence gained, the young writer tackles practical skills that will be needed throughout life. Again we start with experience: the simple task of taking notes—first on daily tasks, then on lectures and study materials. Outlining, summarizing, and writing business plans are all organizational skills. An extensive section on letter-writing, both personal and business, reinforces communication skills. Part Two builds upon techniques begun in Wordsmith, addressing such principles and problem areas as parallel constructions, making transitions, paragraph organization and selective detail.

Part Three of Wordsmith Craftsman is a master class on The Essay, pulling together thought, organization, logic, personal connection, and style.  A well-written essay is rightly considered the mark of an educated, thoughtful man or woman. A student will learn how to apply the TOWER process (Think, Organize, Write, Evaluate, and Rewrite) to a variety of essay types, namely descriptive, narrative, expository, critical, and persuasive. The expository section includes a primer on the all-important first step in writing research papers (which will save a lot of freshman-comp angst later!).

The Appendix includes a handy reproducible form for note-taking and summary-writing, a warning essay about plagiarism, a summary of all the steps for each type of essay (with writing and revision guidelines), and a three-page roundup of common logical fallacies to be avoided (especially when writing persuasive essays).

Letter writing (or any form of everyday written communication), note-taking and outlining, summarizing, and essay writing—whether or not one becomes a writer—are all essential skills to prepare a young adult not only for school but for life.

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 RewritingWordsmith 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.

Features


Author: Janie B. Cheaney
Publisher: Common Sense Press, 2003
Typical High School Credits Earned: 1 credit composition
Faith-Based: No

View a sample lesson of Wordsmith Craftsman
Lesson Plan

Awards and Endorsements:
2012 Cathy Duffy's 101 Top Picks

Wordsmith–Polishing Practical Writing Skills by Pebblekeeper blog

review by Pebblekeeper blog

"Nathan started working in Wordsmith Craftsman this year. I feel that this will be his go-to Language Arts Writing Course for the year – and possibly years to come as this book will guide him through the 12th grade...That was the surprise for me, that it wasn’t set out to be – Do this whole book in one year – but rather, do these parts each year... This is a thumbs up for Petra School!!"

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Wordsmith / Wordsmith Craftsman by Eclectic Montage

review by Eclectic Montage

"Wordsmith Craftsman is focused on the student alone. As a high school student, independence is key; however, I do wish there was an included parent guide for this book as well. The level and depth of material covered would benefit from parental guidance, especially for the weak writer...I could see this text being a good beginning in tenth or maybe eleventh grade; however, to really be prepared for college, your student needs to explore research in more depth in twelfth grade to be fully prepared for collegiate expectations."

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