You must do the things you think you cannot do.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

TOS Review EDUDPS- Write With the Best, Volume 1

We received two e-books from Educational Diagnostic Prescriptive Services or EDUDPS for short. ;) The author, Jill Dixon, has extensive experience in special education, serves has a consultant for the HSLDA and is a fellow homeschool mom (with two highschool graduates under her belt).

Write With The Best, Volume 1 is a descriptive writing program written for students in grades 3-12. The idea is to teach your child how to write descriptively by having him model great works of literature.

Nine different genres are covered:
* Describing an Object from Jules Verne
* Describing a clace from Charles Dickens
* Describing a character from Daniel Defoe
* Writing dialogue from Kenneth Grahame
* The Short Story from O. Henry
* Fables from Aesop
* Friendly Letters from Robert Louis Stevenson
* Poetry - Rhyming Verse from William Wordsworth
* The Ballad or Narrative Poem from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

In the event your student doesn't care for the suggested literature or finds it too difficult to read, alternate literary passages are provided.

Each daily lesson takes only 15-45 minutes, is addressed to the student and can be used with all children in a family at the same time. The program includes all needed excerpts from all of the literature that it models so that teachers are not required to purchase additional material. It comes complete with a helpful answer key, grading criteria, and an invaluable “How To Write Guide” to assist in teaching each genre.

Each unit is designed to take ten days or two weeks to complete; though your older student could easily do them in four or five days. Hank is too young for this curriculum, and Jake really is too old for many of the suggested activities so I had him complete them more quickly than suggested. We did the first three units.

He already knows the definitions of the parts of speech and can easily identify descriptive and specific adjectives, adverbs, verbs and nouns in literary passages. He is also pretty handy with a thesaurus so he was able to do the first five activities in about 30-45 minutes, or one class.

Jake dislikes writing almost as much as math so the remaining five activities took four days to complete. In the end, he was able to produce a decent descriptive paragraph.

The Proofreading Checklist and Grading Criteria were very helpful for grading his work. It also gave him specific criteria to look for before giving me his paper to grade. The author also provides suggestions for teaching the material geared towards different learning styles.

I think this is a great writing program though I think the grade spread is a bit skewed. Any 3rd grader attempting it would need to be a pretty advanced reader and writer. And it's not what I would call a high school writing curriculum. I would suggest it for students in 5th through 8th grade.

You can purchase this product three different ways:
$24.95 for hard copy with binder;
$22.45 for hard copy but no binder;
and for a limited time you can buy it as an e-book for 25% off the regular $19.95 price for only $14.95.

A word of caution about purchasing it as an e-book- The very nice folks at EDUDPS suffered copyright theft and have had to protect their work by very tightly securing their e-products. I am not technically savvy and personally found this to be difficult to work with. You are allowed only two printings -printing even a single page counts as one printing. So carefully read the fine print before purchasing this as an e-product.

You can go here to read the reviews of other TOS Crew members.

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