As a former English teacher, I am always on the lookout for a great writing program, especially for my youngest son, who tends to look at writing as his nemesis. It’s one of the subjects he has struggled with continuously, and one of the areas we seriously need to build on before he graduates high school. Therefore, I was really excited to give Writers in Residence, the new writing program from Apologia Educational Ministries, a try.
Aimed at students in grades 4-8, the program is based on the Six Traits of Writing principles, and includes a huge student worktext that includes all of the lessons and activities, as well as an answer key. The worktext spells out a daily 4-day schedule, and fully explains how each part of the lesson works. Written mainly to the students themselves, I think this would be an easy program for an older student to complete on their own (or a younger student who is a strong writer), while a parent could do the lessons with their younger child.
Pages are colorful and the text is broken into chunks, so it is not visually overwhelming for a child who is easily frustrated by a lot of words on one page. The text also features interviews with Christian authors that can help inspire future writers to pursue their dreams of writing a book one day!
The worktext itself contains six units, which cover all different styles of writing from narrative, to persuasive, to creative. The units are further broken down into modules, so your child creates their piece of writing in small increments, perfect for a reluctant writer like mine. Along the way, the authors gently guide the student through tasks like learning how to write clear, descriptive sentences, choosing a logical order for things, adding dialogue, and using smooth transitions. Regular grammar lessons are also included.
One thing I really liked about WIR is that they start the lessons by giving the students an example of the style of writing they are going to do using a great example from literature. Using high-quality examples is part of the Six Traits model and I believe it really helps students see what they are shooting for. The first unit used the book When I Was Young in the Mountains as an example, and I was able to find a video of a read-aloud of the story on YouTube that my son and I watched so he could hear the whole story and get an idea of what type of writing he was to aim for.
Also, as students move through the writing process, they are encouraged to assess themselves, and at the end, they use a rubric to grade their work and score their writing. Parents also use the same rubric to score the final draft. As kids get older, I think it is especially important for them to learn how to assess their written work with a critical eye, as they will need to do so before turning in assignments in college. For his first written piece in Writers in Residence, I had my son fill out his rubric and I filled out mine and we compared our scores. They were…a little different, however, when we really discussed the nuts and bolts of things, my son realized that the point wasn’t to give himself the highest grade possible, it was to take an honest look at his work so he can improve.
So, can you tell how much I love this program? Because I really, really do! And the good news is, they are planning a second volume in the future!! I would definitely recommend you check it out if you are looking for a thorough writing program, especially if you have a kid that isn’t fond of writing like mine! To learn more, connect with Apologia on social media here:
To see what other members of the crew had to say about this product, click here: