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So what is out there for writing?


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We have used MCT, WWS 1, parts of WS, and now are currently using Essentials in Writing 9.  Nearly done.  That one is "ok". 

 

I don't know where to go next. 

 

DS doesn't want to do WWS 2.  I don't really want to use MCT upper levels.  We tried Lively Art of Writing and didn't care for it.  I've tried a few older things recommended here, but I didn't care for any of them.

 

I don't want IEW because of the price.

 

I need something secular.  So what else is out there?

 

 

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Welcome to my world! I've been obsessing about what to do for writing, too.  Shannon is working on Lively Art of Writing right now, with the workbook.  It's actually very helpful, she's getting over her essay-anxiety.  I let her pick her own topics to write about - drag racing, silverware, and folk music not really being her cuppa.

 

I think our next move will be to this book, I really, really like it so far, but this is just based on me reading it, not on using it with her yet:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Thesis-A-Rhetoric-Reader/dp/1133951430

 

It has great explanations, and great sample essays, and it covers all the main types of rhetorical contexts.  Yet it is totally approachable and very readable.  It begins with "the persuasive principle" - the idea that all writing, even narrative writing, is fundamentally persuasive - you are communicating an idea that you want your reader to accept, and in order to achieve this, you have to communicate effectively.

 

I suspect we'll do this, and then maybe They Say/I Say: Moves that Matter in Academic Writing

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Maxwell's books are very good.  You could look at School Composition for use in Higher Grammar Classes or Writing in English (a higher level than School Composition). Both are free online.  You can also get nice bound copies on Amazon.  School Composition covers mostly narrative and descriptive writing.  The other books goes into essay writing. 

 

I am currently working through A Workbook of Arguments with my 6th grader.  I am planning to work through it slowly over 6th, 7th, and 8th grades.  This is a fairly high level book, but discussing it together seems to be going okay so far.  The goal of this is to learn how to craft solid arguments (content).

 

After my son finishes IEW-SICC-B, I will start IEW's Elegant Essay with him.  Elegant Essay is not as expensive as their other courses.  These resources focus mostly on structure and style.

 

 

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Do you really need a curriculum at this point? How about just buying him a resource book and assigning essays and research papers? Is there really much left for him to learn, or is it time to start just using what he already knows?

 

Yeah that makes sense.  I keep hoping there is a magical assignment book out there and I can say do this one, then that one, then the next one.  LOL  My problem is coming up with topics.  That's one thing I find frustrating about older books.  The topics tend to be really out there.

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Welcome to my world! I've been obsessing about what to do for writing, too.  Shannon is working on Lively Art of Writing right now, with the workbook.  It's actually very helpful, she's getting over her essay-anxiety.  I let her pick her own topics to write about - drag racing, silverware, and folk music not really being her cuppa.

 

I think our next move will be to this book, I really, really like it so far, but this is just based on me reading it, not on using it with her yet:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Thesis-A-Rhetoric-Reader/dp/1133951430

 

It has great explanations, and great sample essays, and it covers all the main types of rhetorical contexts.  Yet it is totally approachable and very readable.  It begins with "the persuasive principle" - the idea that all writing, even narrative writing, is fundamentally persuasive - you are communicating an idea that you want your reader to accept, and in order to achieve this, you have to communicate effectively.

 

I suspect we'll do this, and then maybe They Say/I Say: Moves that Matter in Academic Writing

 

I have this book!  Writing With a Thesis.  Or a really old version of it.  It was used at a camp I went to about 30 years ago!  :-)

 

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We've just started persuasive writing.  We read an opinion piece from somewhere (NY times, Economist, etc) and then write a persuasive paper using the ideas from They Say; I Say.  It is a very effective book.

 

We have also been using Common Threads: Core Readings by Method and Theme by Repetto, which covers the different types of essays (like definition, cause and effect etc) and has example essays to read, including discussion questions and lots of writing prompts.  Very good book also.

 

I'm starting to think that at this level, half of the good writing materials out there are books rather than curricula. 

 

Ruth in NZ

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Here are some possibilities. Write for College is the follow-up to Writer's Inc., which we used when I was in high school and which I recently gave to my dd12 to use as a resource. My dd is a college sophomore and is using the Langan book. The Only Grammar Book You'll Ever Need is subtitled A One-Stop Source for Every Writing Assignment.

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You could also just have your son work through the sections on OWL. Here is OWL's section for grades 7-12. And don't forget Master Lu, the virtual buddhist monk, from the SIATech Collection. Shmoop also has inexpensive writing classes.

 

Wow, Tara! Somehow I'd never seen that full list of 7-12th grade lessons on OWL.  That looks like an amazing resource and spine for teaching writing without a curriculum.  Thanks for sharing!

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I have temporarily given up trying to work on academic writing skills for DD, 12.  She's a very willing (and good) creative writer.  And no matter what I do, she will turn EVERY assignment into something humorous. But you know what? She's not leaving for Harvard next week, so I'm letting her just have fun.  We're using Cover Story this year and she's loving it. So if you're okay with something less academic, you may want to look into it.

 

Also, she's taken Bravewriter courses and loved them. I have every intention of enrolling DD in the high school classes when she's a bit older.

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Another huge thumbs-up for Writing Wirth a Thesis. This little book is rocking my and my daughter's world right now. We've got some great synergy going between Common Threads (thanks to llewelma for the word on this useful text), a few essay collections (esp. Short Takes and Brief Bedford Reader), and WWaT. But it's really WWaT that somehow spoke to me in just the right way, and I feel like we have a new sense of clarity in how to approach writing with my 7th grader....the girl who wants writing instruction broken down into comprehensible, work-on-able skills but who doesn't want to lose sight of the big picture either and hates personal writing and hates being told what/how to write. Sigh. She is suddenly writing with tons of enthusiam and success, after more dead ends than I can remember.

 

WWaT gives a very powerful overarching concept about thesis statements, very simply (but not simplistically) stated, has some sample essays including student essays (yay!), and then has lots of great suggestions for practice. This book, or at least the basic concepts in it, could be uses to great effect for middle school through college-level writers.

 

My very favorite part? You gotta love a book that demonstrates irrefutably that written driving instructions and a babysitter's bulletin-board ad become notably stronger when they have a thesis, either stated or implied. Huh?! Cool! Even an elementary-aged kid can see and appreciate that. And we loved the way he takes on the deadly "summer vacation" idea.

 

My only regret is that I didn't know about this book years ago. Thank you, I-don't-remember-who-on-WTM, for turning me on to this little gem.

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I have temporarily given up trying to work on academic writing skills for DD, 12.  She's a very willing (and good) creative writer.  And no matter what I do, she will turn EVERY assignment into something humorous. But you know what? She's not leaving for Harvard next week, so I'm letting her just have fun.  We're using Cover Story this year and she's loving it. So if you're okay with something less academic, you may want to look into it.

 

Also, she's taken Bravewriter courses and loved them. I have every intention of enrolling DD in the high school classes when she's a bit older.

 

My son is kind of the opposite.  He does not like creative writing so much.  Although he does like to slip some humor in (no clue where he got that from *cough*).  But yeah his writing is generally pretty decent.  Probably the biggest problem I have is coming up with topics.

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Another huge thumbs-up for Writing Wirth a Thesis. This little book is rocking my and my daughter's world right now. We've got some great synergy going between Common Threads (thanks to llewelma for the word on this useful text), a few essay collections (esp. Short Takes and Brief Bedford Reader), and WWaT. But it's really WWaT that somehow spoke to me in just the right way, and I feel like we have a new sense of clarity in how to approach writing with my 7th grader....the girl who wants writing instruction broken down into comprehensible, work-on-able skills but who doesn't want to lose sight of the big picture either and hates personal writing and hates being told what/how to write. Sigh. She is suddenly writing with tons of enthusiam and success, after more dead ends than I can remember.

 

WWaT gives a very powerful overarching concept about thesis statements, very simply (but not simplistically) stated, has some sample essays including student essays (yay!), and then has lots of great suggestions for practice. This book, or at least the basic concepts in it, could be uses to great effect for middle school through college-level writers.

 

My very favorite part? You gotta love a book that demonstrates irrefutably that written driving instructions and a babysitter's bulletin-board ad become notably stronger when they have a thesis, either stated or implied. Huh?! Cool! Even an elementary-aged kid can see and appreciate that. And we loved the way he takes on the deadly "summer vacation" idea.

 

My only regret is that I didn't know about this book years ago. Thank you, I-don't-remember-who-on-WTM, for turning me on to this little gem.

 

I agree with everything in this post. I got Common Threads before I got WWaT, and though I like it, I didn't think Shannon was quite ready for it.  WWaT is just perfect for now - speaks to me, and I think it will speak to her, too.  I expect we will use Common Threads, but we will do this first.

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Another huge thumbs-up for Writing Wirth a Thesis. This little book is rocking my and my daughter's world right now. We've got some great synergy going between Common Threads (thanks to llewelma for the word on this useful text), a few essay collections (esp. Short Takes and Brief Bedford Reader), and WWaT. But it's really WWaT that somehow spoke to me in just the right way, and I feel like we have a new sense of clarity in how to approach writing with my 7th grader....the girl who wants writing instruction broken down into comprehensible, work-on-able skills but who doesn't want to lose sight of the big picture either and hates personal writing and hates being told what/how to write. Sigh. She is suddenly writing with tons of enthusiam and success, after more dead ends than I can remember.

 

WWaT gives a very powerful overarching concept about thesis statements, very simply (but not simplistically) stated, has some sample essays including student essays (yay!), and then has lots of great suggestions for practice. This book, or at least the basic concepts in it, could be uses to great effect for middle school through college-level writers.

 

My very favorite part? You gotta love a book that demonstrates irrefutably that written driving instructions and a babysitter's bulletin-board ad become notably stronger when they have a thesis, either stated or implied. Huh?! Cool! Even an elementary-aged kid can see and appreciate that. And we loved the way he takes on the deadly "summer vacation" idea.

 

My only regret is that I didn't know about this book years ago. Thank you, I-don't-remember-who-on-WTM, for turning me on to this little gem.

 

WWaT looks quite similar to what Lost Tools of Writing is trying to cover, except WWaT is intelligible.  I don't own either, but this is my impression after reading through the sample pages online.

 

The WWaT preface mentions an online teacher's manual, or something of that sort.  Are you using a teacher's edition, or are you just reading through the book and discussing it with your child?

 

TIA

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WWaT looks quite similar to what Lost Tools of Writing is trying to cover, except WWaT is intelligible.  I don't own either, but this is my impression after reading through the sample pages online.

 

The WWaT preface mentions an online teacher's manual, or something of that sort.  Are you using a teacher's edition, or are you just reading through the book and discussing it with your child?

 

TIA

 

:lol:

 

 

I haven't seen any sign of a tm.  We are just using the book.

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WWaT looks quite similar to what Lost Tools of Writing is trying to cover, except WWaT is intelligible.  I don't own either, but this is my impression after reading through the sample pages online. Are you using a teacher's edition, or are you just reading through the book and discussing it with your child?

 

TIA

 

So what we've done so far is to snuggle up on the sofa together and read aloud/discuss the examples in the first chapter, where there are several different kinds of writing written both without a thesis and with one.  It was a lot of fun.  The examples really make the point that it makes sense to think about nearly any kind of writing as having a thesis, not just academic kinds of writing.  They're approachable and fun.

 

Then I asked her to do the same thing: write about something with and without a thesis.  So she went and thought up a mundane thing to write about.  As we were brainstorming what she might write about, we came up with: feeding her pet, cooking something very simple, telling about her (unremarkable) day, walking to the neighborhood park, and a number of other ideas.  We wanted them to be kind of boring.  Then she wrote a dry, boring piece of writing about what she chose.  I encouraged her to keep it short, like the examples.  Next, she rewrote it with a thesis.  We were both surprised by how many good theses we could easily think up for her subject, and how each one would cause her to rewrite in a different way....which of course is an important lesson: a thesis not only improves your writing, but if it's well implemented it will control what details you add and how you write about them.

 

She had a lot of fun with this, and suddenly had a far stronger idea of the role a good thesis can play in writing.

 

I should say that we did not sit and read through the first chapter.  I did, but she didn't.  Just looking at and discussing the examples was perfect for her at this point, and really made most of the points that the chapter makes.

 

The next chapter of the book is on narrative.  We read the student essay, and then I chose another essay from a different essay collection to read together, snuggled on the sofa, out loud.  (She reads well independently, but writing is a touchy area right now and she likes this.  If she wanted to read the essays independently I'd have no problem with that.)  I chose from another collection because she hates doing personal writing, and it's hard to find narrative that is not intensely personal.  I found an essay that was mostly about someone else, to demonstrate that she doesn't have to do personal writing in practicing narrative writing.  (Personally, I don't think the kind of highly personal, confessional writing that is popular in schools lately is ever necessary for her to do--it's easily avoided in college and work, and if she can do other kinds of writing, of course she can always use those skills to do personal writing if she wants.)

 

After we read and discussed the student essay and the other one, we brainstormed what kind of narrative essay she might write and how she will have a guiding thesis (again, whether or not she actually states it).  Now she is working on that essay.

 

I expect we will continue to go through the book, using its structure and some of its ideas and essays, and also drawing from other essay collections.  (My favorites for her right now besides WWaT are Short Takes and Brief Bedord Reader). 

 

It's hard for me to say exactly why WWaT got us over this big hump and ST or BBR or Common Threads didn't.  It's something about how he presents the idea and role of the thesis--it's so simple, so common-sense, so everyday-usable, and in its very simplicity so profound.  Somehow having someone say that the thesis is everything, in nearly any kind of writing, actually demystified it and made it suddenly obvious and accesisble to her.  His point is so portable and usable.  It can go anywhere you write.  And his examples--comparing with and without a thesis--are so helpful.  Suddenly a thesis isn't some big scary abstract thing you have to somehow wrangle out of your subject; it's a fun, useful, everyday concept.

 

I don't know if I'm saying that all very well, and I think I'm repeating myself.  Sorry if that's not clear....I'm not sure how else to say it.  It may have been more of an inexplicable "lightbulb moment" than something I can put into reasonable words.  HTH!

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I gt the e-textbook rental of WWaT and so far, I'm impressed. It may be the first time I've picked up a writing text and was struck by the quality and clarity of the author's writing. (Hey, that's ow I want my kids to be able to write!) I started reading it out loud to dd13, then handed it over to her when I had to take a phone call. I came back 10 minutes later, and she was still reading. She was totally engaged by this book. I love that we could just read this together and apply the principles to other things that she's already writing.

 

 

Then I asked her to do the same thing: write about something with and without a thesis.  So she went and thought up a mundane thing to write about.  As we were brainstorming what she might write about, we came up with: feeding her pet, cooking something very simple, telling about her (unremarkable) day, walking to the neighborhood park, and a number of other ideas.  We wanted them to be kind of boring.  Then she wrote a dry, boring piece of writing about what she chose.  I encouraged her to keep it short, like the examples.  Next, she rewrote it with a thesis.  We were both surprised by how many good theses we could easily think up for her subject, and how each one would cause her to rewrite in a different way....which of course is an important lesson: a thesis not only improves your writing, but if it's well implemented it will control what details you add and how you write about them.

 

 

I love this idea! Thanks!

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:(

 

What about someone buying it for a penny and shipping it to you?

There is a way to use our postal services forwarding address. I am not ready for it yet so I will just bookmark it for future reference. I do have a couple of workmates who make trips that way.

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There is a way to use our postal services forwarding address. I am not ready for it yet so I will just bookmark it for future reference. I do have a couple of workmates who make trips that way.

 

Betterworldbooks ships second hand books internationally for $10.  I've done well with them occasionally.  They just don't have a huge selection.

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I agree with everything in this post. I got Common Threads before I got WWaT, and though I like it, I didn't think Shannon was quite ready for it. WWaT is just perfect for now - speaks to me, and I think it will speak to her, too. I expect we will use Common Threads, but we will do this first.

Rose, can you compare Lively Art of Writing and WWaT? Which one do you prefer? I already bought LAoW. It is a very small book. Right now, ds is doing Week 11 of WWS 2. He finished WWS 1 and IEW SWI B in the past two years.

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I like them both, but they are completely different.  Laow has two main foci: the first part focuses on the fundamentals of the essay - thesis & structure - and the rest of it focuses on style.  We are using it with the workbook, and it is great.  It fleshes it out and makes it take a bit longer, but it's still basically a semester.  WWaT is an excellent followup: it has tons of examples, illustrating each type of essay and each major point, which Shannon really appreciates - it is showing her what she should be doing, not just telling her.  It also goes into detail about all the different kinds of essays - narrative, descriptive, process/explanatory, compare & contrast, definition, argumentative.  But each type is presented within the framework of the persuasive principle - the idea that all writing has a rhetorical purpose, and that no matter what kind of essay you are writing, your goal is to change your reader's mind in some way, to make them think differently than they did before they read the piece.  I love it more and more the more I delve into it.

 

We'll finish Laow this year and we'll get through the Narrative and Descriptive parts of WWaT also.  We'll complete WWaT next year in 8th.

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Betterworldbooks ships second hand books internationally for $10. I've done well with them occasionally. They just don't have a huge selection.

Thanks. They gave me free postage. I didn't buy the book under discussion though because I got confused. Is it writing with a thesis by david skwires or writing with a thesis a rhetoric and reader buy sarah and david skwires?

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Thanks. They gave me free postage. I didn't buy the book under discussion though because I got confused. Is it writing with a thesis by david skwires or writing with a thesis a rhetoric and reader buy sarah and david skwires?

 

Aw, shoot. I wasn't paying attention and ordered the latter. I hope it is the right thing. It was only $3.63 for me; I hope you get an answer since it sounds like you will need to pay a lot more.

 

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The one I have is Writing With a Thesis: a Rhetoric and Reader, 10th edition, by Sarah Skwire & David Skwire.  It's not the most recent, but it was the one I could get for 1 cent.  Given how many writing books I've bought lately, that was all I was willing to spend!  But it looks like you can get an 11th ed for less than $5.

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Aw, shoot. I wasn't paying attention and ordered the latter. I hope it is the right thing. It was only $3.63 for me; I hope you get an answer since it sounds like you will need to pay a lot more.

 

If you keep going though there are cheaper ones of the first one I listed (under $20).

 

I am trying to build up my own confidence in teaching but I have a while.

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Thanks. They gave me free postage. I didn't buy the book under discussion though because I got confused. Is it writing with a thesis by david skwires or writing with a thesis a rhetoric and reader buy sarah and david skwires?

 

I think they are different editions of the same book, and he added his wife as an author on the later editions. the only one I see titled  "writing with a thesis by david skwires"   on Amazon is a 5th edition, and they are now up to the 12th edition.

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I think they are different editions of the same book, and he added his wife as an author on the later editions. the only one I see titled "writing with a thesis by david skwires" on Amazon is a 5th edition, and they are now up to the 12th edition.

Thanks. That is really helpful.

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