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Review: Writing Strands: Beginning 2

A recommended Language Arts Curriculum for Advanced Elementary or Middle School learners you must consider!

Up to now, we used other Language Arts curriculum, because I studied samples of the previous version of Writing Strands and I didn’t feel it would fit our learning style. It was not until I did this in-depth review of the new version now published by Master Books that I have decided to use Writing Strands for our Middle School learner in the new school year. Being familiar with the well-coordinated Student Texts and Teacher Guides available from Master Books, I cannot wait for him to start his new year of Language Arts.

What will you achieve when using Writing Strands: Beginning 2?
Your student will learn to make use of sentences and paragraphs effectively, to be able to express his / her thoughts through the writing of a short story. They will be able to identify the mood and setting of a story, the use of symbolism and other aspects used in storytelling. They will apply their knowledge to create characters but also recognize how setting clues can tell more about a character. The writing exercises focus on four specific areas of skill development namely: basic, creative, organizational, and descriptive. Writing Strands: Beginning 2 therefor lay the foundational skills needed to give the student confidence in their writing as an extension of the expression of thought. By use of simple writing exercises rising in difficulty learners progress into young authors who find value in any mistakes made along the way.

The structure of the course:
The course alternate from week to week between writing and reading exercises. Through the study of the Literature of the Bible, Classical and Contemporary books learners focus on settings in all stories read. Students realize that not everyone has the same viewpoint and to communicate positively, one must learn the correct techniques.
The parent or educator will provide suitable literature for reading which the learner must discuss or write their own opinions about when completed. These discussions can lead to valuable life lessons when talking about a books’ viewpoint or a character. This type of narration helps to develop critical thinking patterns to be able to prove or disapprove a point.

What I loved, that changed my mind:
The fact that it is a Biblically based course including scripture along with the easy-to-follow schedule; which makes planning easier was the first reason we switched curriculum. Secondly, the gentle approach to teaching logic in language arts, without the demands of teaching grammar, composition, spelling, vocabulary, and literature as separate units. Take note that grammar is not part of teaching but with the use of the Writing Strands Teaching Companion you can address areas such as spelling and grammar in the writing exercises. Thirdly the ability to choose the books for reading makes it a flexible choice when your learner might have different levels of progress in writing and reading. The wide variety of literature one can include allows you to use books a learner will need to read for another course, may it be history or even science to be incorporated. It can be a lifesaver for learners who previously have not read much or a learner who has to read optional books in other courses and feels overwhelmed by the amount of reading to be done.

Who can use this level?
The recommended level is grade 4 but students between grade 3 and grade 7 can all benefit from this level. I do suggest using the placement guide to determine the level best suited to your student’s skill level. The basics should, however, be in place, like writing a short paragraph, basic understanding grammar and being able to understand, comprehend and analyze text at minimum grade 4 level.

What will you need to get going?
You will need the course text, a three-ring binder with dividers, extra notepaper and the books chosen on par with the learners reading level. The reading books can be e-books with no restriction to the physical book. A great feature to remember when purchasing Master Books curriculum is the availability of curriculum as Pdf’s. If you are traveling homeschoolers, or have limited space or for some reason, you just don’t love the feel of a physical book; you can buy the Pdf and fill the worksheets on the Pdf and save it to your device or cloud service.

Go ahead and see for yourself, find this resource and more from Master Books through this link https://www.masterbooks.com/r/11963/

I received a complimentary copy of this curriculum from Master Books for review purposes.

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