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LLATL users in upper grades Tan or Green?

Blessed with seven

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Okay...what book would I start with if I have a great reader, 7th grade, but no formal composition/grammar at this point.  I was told at Common Sense press that I could start her in the Green book as they provide a lot of review in that book.  But..I really don't want to jump in to something new and have it be too hard.



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None of them!  Sorry.  I bought the GREY for my 7th grader (That's their 8th grade book) and it was so abysmally lacking in content. It was about at a 6th grade level in terms of writing/composition.  The book study was about a 5th grade level.  The dictation was very challenging *if* you use the dictation for all its meant to be used for.  The grammar was about a 6th grade level.  On top of the very very low level of the content was the total and complete lack of review and reinforcement.  Even if you believe that copywork and dictation is 85% of all that anyone needs up until high school, there is STILL not enough of it to give your child a solid understanding of English.  And, the book studies were extremely short. I expected pages and pages of dialogue, discussion, comprehension questions, and vocabulary, as well as the usual what-happened-when type questions, but there was litererally ONE page of questions, and then 15 suggestions of activities from which the student must choose, to draw out the book or topics related to the book.  And, if the mom and student weren't very very conversant with the book and the types of activities, they would turn up being just busywork...unless you chose essays...but then again the program doesn't teach or review a lot of writing either, so I don't know how they expect a child to churn out well-written essays.  


Sorry to dump on it, but people always just said to me, "It was not enough" and I never really understood what they meant.  :)


If you have a 7th grader with no previous writing, she or he can definitely be caught up in one year.  You just need something very systematic and very solid.  I think you should take a look at:


Jump IN! by Apologia.  THis is very very very very fun and user friendly.  Super super well done.  Every single step is walked through in itty bitty chunks.  It is fun, funny, and engaging.  THe paper quality is excellent and there is even room for kids to write all their planning and lists, and answers in the book.  We really love this book and find it much more fun and approachable than many other methods we have used.  The program says two years but I think you could do it in one.  :)


If for some reason that does not appeal (if you really need something secular), try looking at EIW (NOT IEW) It's Excellence in Writing.  There is video instruction accompanied by a clear step by step workbook.  I haven't ever heard anyone say a bad thing about this program.  I'm sure it's not perfect, but it seems to be accessible, solid and people say his teaching style is clear and likable.  


Avoid:  Institute for Excellence in Writing...and avoid anything that has an unusual flavor (such as Classical or CM) because this late in the game, you just need nuts and bolts, systematically laid out, in a hurry.


If you have an extremely bright, intense child but who needs very small details, in order, all building on previous details, and you are an extremely, detailed teacher, you can look at Writing with Skill by Susan Wise Bauer.  This takes ALL The guesswork out.  But it also can be very tedious.  So you have to be very committed to it.

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We are long term users of LLATL. My dd has just started the green book. 


I would also recommend starting with the green book. There seems to be quite a bit of review at the start. 


I agree with the pp that  LLATL's book studies have been disappointing although we haven't got up to any so far in the green book. We supplement with CLE reading. At this level (7th grade) there are only 5 light units per year level so it is very easy to fit in during the school-year. CLE is more advanced than LLATL. In fact it has an entirely different approach in that CLE gets into the nitty gritty of analysis with stories from its own reader whereas LLATL uses real books and leaves the student to enjoy and reflect on the book as a whole. I think they complement each other very well.  


LLATL isn't enough for our writing instruction for us so we also use "Jump In".


I think LLATL is a good program but unfortunately it has been marketed as a "complete" language arts program and I don't think it is. 

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Does it teach composition and grammar in a "review" fashion, like from beginning?

Yes, it does teach grammar and composition including diagramming.


I really like the book studies in Green - much better than in the earlier books. Some of the writing is tied in with the book studies. There is also a short story unit and a resesrch unit which steps the student through on how to write a resesrch paper. The book does contain instruction on how to go about these different writing genres. I think your 7th grader would be fine.

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