I have been excited to share a new to me writing program that the boys have been using – Writing Tales!
We like Writing Tales because:
- It fits with my desire to use literature for learning – reading – copy work – narration – vocabulary and as a mold of learning good grammar.
- It is self contained – there is no product to buy after purchase. All of the literature is in the workbooks, and the practice questions are in the workbook. The Teacher’s manual, depending on your level of expertise, may be optional, but a great help.
- It has helped with vocabulary and dictionary skills.
We have tried using Narration – but I am not disciplined enough to pick the stories, read the stories, and then “make up” questions. I have read Ruth Beechicks – You Can Teach type books, and I love the IDEA of it, but really, when Monday rolls around . . . .nothing happens. We have also tried various curriculum that had links or ideas of books to read – and then links or workbooks of questions, but everything had to be done in separate notebooks. Again – Monday rolls around – and it rests on the shelf.
Think of this “workbook” as a Notebooking for Grammar and Literature. Your children read the story in the Notebook – then each day there is an assignment. You stay on the same Literature Story for two weeks, looking up vocabulary words, narrating, copy writing, learning parts of grammar.
If you are working on Capitals, like Jon is above, the text is re-printed, and he circles which words should be caps. He gets to read the literature several times, in chunks, throughout the two weeks. (2 lessons). There are also games to play to help the grammar settle in more firmly.
In Nate’s photo above, he was to find the pronouns, and then figure out the Antecedent – the hardest one to spot for him was Whose. We had a conversation about possessive pronouns, and made up several funny sentences – starting with the one above, Once there was a feeble old woman, and the feeble old woman had a husband, and the husband of that woman died, etc. It was fun to see how long a sentence could get that DIDN’T use pronouns.
I like that the Notebook was simple to follow, and that the boys could “do the next page”. Part of the two part lesson, is to narrate the story directly, then narrate the story with creative spin. We have been wondering about Jon’s reading comprehension and it showed up using this activity. I posted about the reading comprehension in this post about the The Pitcher When Jon wrote out his narration – he was having a hard time keeping it reflective of the actual story. So I had him draw a picture of what he saw happening, and we found the differences were from not understanding the vocabulary.
Since then, we have had them Verbally narrate the story back to us, they have performed plays, used stick puppet theaters, –
And of course, Legos. The NXT below is delivering Grandma to the house.
So as you can see – we were able to almost make a Unit Study out of this workbook! The Stories are listed on the website – and the Scope and Sequence – The Stories and Grammatical Concepts are also listed to keep you on track.
We received Writing Tales for free as part of our This Old Schoolhouse Crew – Jon, age 10, 4th grade, used Book1, and just for fun, and for the sake of the review, Nate, age 13, 7th grade, used book 2. Nate has had some super intense writing curriculum this year – and we are going to have him continue through book 2 as a daily practice activity throughout the summer. For Jon, Book One was challenging for the narration, but simple for the grammar. He might have done better starting with Book 2.
You will get what you want out of this curriculum. Is it a complete intense Writing Program? No. Is it a complete intense Grammar Program? Nope. It takes a classical relaxed start at Enjoying Writing. Enjoying Creativity. Observing Grammar in Good Works. Maybe, if my boys were younger, or if we had started this at the beginning of the year – I might have a witness to how much the Learned about Grammar – That is why it is fun to read the Crew Reviews to see all of the ages and family types using it.
Even though I say it isn’t intense – do not confuse that for saying it is simple and just another filler for the day. In high school – I took an AP English Class – all we did – for the entire year – was to re-write great works into our own modern language with our own creative flair. Milton, Shakespeare, etc. I still remember the great conversations that were sparked when a student wrote the story off course – and we are having those same conversations with our 10 and 13 year old boys at lunch time as they perform or read their re-writes for dad.
And what is literature – if it doesn’t spark us to think and discuss?
From Writing Tales :
Writing Tales Level One – Student Workbook -Price: $19.95
Writing Tales Level One – Teacher’s Guide -Price: $24.95
Writing Tales Level Two – Student Workbook Spiral Bound -Price: $24.95
Writing Tales Level Two – Teacher’s Guide -Price: $32.95
Level 1 is written to be used for 3rd or 4th grade;
Level 2 may be used with 4th, 5th or 6th grade.
From This Old Schoolhouse Review Crew:
Visit our The Old Schoolhouse Blog to see how 25 other members of the Crew used and reviewed this program. We received this product for free in exchange of using it – and giving an honest review of Writing Tales.
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looks good! when Connor was in about 5th grade I noticed his reading ability was ahead of his comprehension. a lot.- he had next to NO reading comprehension. I found a story/textbook (used in public schools) and it’s workbook- at a thrift store (a very timely find!) it had short stories, with simple questions, then the workbook had grammar type pages- based on the story (like the re-written text to find pronouns or whatnot)- then I’d have him do different projects- puppet show, dioramas, re-tellings, comic book, drawing a ‘book cover’— so he’d spend 1-2 weeks on each story w/ activities. it REALLY helped his reading comprehension!
Hmmmm … I’m intrigued. “We have tried using Narration – but I am not disciplined enough to pick the stories, read the stories, and then “make up” questions.” … this is so me!!!