We have had the opportunity to use WriteShop resources in the past and have always counted them among our favorite homeschool products. We are huge fans of creative writing so were quite happy to review WriteShop Junior Book E set, the latest in the WriteShop Junior series by Nancy I. Sanders.
What is Included
- Book E Teacher’s Guide: Spiral-bound or e-book version (digital PDF)
- Activity Pack: Print version (1 per child) or e-book version (1 per family)
- Optional Time-Saver Pack: Print version or e-book version
- Optional Junior Writer’s Notebook 1: Available only in digital PDF format
Students will learn about the following genres:
- Science Fiction
- Poetry/Shape Poems
- Personal Narrative
- Descriptive Narrative
- Book Report/Responding to Literature
- Expository Writing: Nonfiction Report
Students will practice the following skills:
- Writing in different fiction genres
- Writing nonfiction and book reports
- Answering journal prompts
- Planning and organizing each writing project
- Choosing strong words and synonyms
- Developing voice and emotion
- Writing sentences of different lengths
- Learning to write using 5 paragraphs
- Creatively publishing final drafts
- Using references
- Using a variety of self-editing tools
WriteShop creates products for all ages from elementary through high school. Junior Book E is geared for the 4th-5th grade age range, but can be used through 7th grade for writing and grammar practice/review.
If you complete three days of activities per week, the course will last 30 weeks (one complete unit every 3 weeks).
How We Used It
We received the print version of the set, other than the optional Junior Writer’s Notebook which is only available as a PDF at this time.
Big Sis (12) was eager to start as soon as she saw the package from WriteShop. She was at the 6th grade level during this review period, so technically a little more advanced than the ideal range. Because she loves to write and I know the high quality of WriteShop resources, I felt that she would both benefit from and enjoy Level E. Other than previous WriteShop products (we reviewed Level D in the past), we haven’t focused on many writing formalities in our homeschool. Big Sis has a natural gift for words and has picked up skills just by virtue of being a voracious reader.
I knew that reviewing this level would give her some more formal practice and give her a good grounding in the “rules” and mechanics of writing. I think the level is rated for a younger age due to some of the games and activities included, but these can be easily adjusted for age/ability or skipped altogether if not appropriate for your child. You will not lose any of the meat and potatoes of the lessons if you don’t do all of the activities included.
Big Sis was particularly interested in studying the mystery genre since she has been working on a series of short stories involving mysteries. With Level E, she was able to learn more about the attributes of a good mystery, how to craft the story with planning and organization, and use some journal prompts to inspire her creativity.
Big Sis’ opinion of WriteShop Junior Level E:
I really loved the writing prompts because they made me think of things that I wouldn’t have on my own. They inspired me to write a little bit everyday and I think my writing has gotten better. The Writer’s Notebook is my favorite part. I learned some things about editing my stories, too, even though that isn’t as much fun as writing. It makes my stories better and that’s important.
I appreciated the thorough Teacher’s Guide, which made my job much easier. For those who are reluctant to teach writing or unsure about where to start, this is a great help.
The Activity Pack is really like a student workbook and is necessary to complete the course. It has tear-off sheets for each lesson in a folder-type format. It keeps everything in one place and handily organized. It also makes it portable for those times when we do school on the go or Big Sis just wants to have some quiet time in her room with her writing assignments so she can concentrate without interruptions from her little sisters.
Opposite the worksheets in the activity pack are the fold-n-go grammar components, which are printed on colored cardstock. These components are assembled like a lapbook, creating a reference tool that students can use over and over again.
The pre-printed Time-Saver Pack is aptly named because it’s really about saving prep time for the teacher with the games and activities. It is optional ($14.95), but does add depth and interest to the lessons. The Writer’s Notebook ($3.50) is also optional, but as a writer myself, I highly recommend the visual organization of planning out characters and settings this way. It is a skill that will come in handy for any future writing projects.
The Fine Print
The print version of the Book E Teacher’s Guide is $45.95. The print Activity Pack is also $45.95.