I'll admit that I was slightly skeptical when I was asked to do a review for Create Better Writers. It is summertime and I didn't think the kids would be all gung-ho about doing some writing. But we dove in with an open mind and had a good time in the process.
We started with the How to Write a Paragraph ebook for our lessons. It is geared more toward a classroom so I was pleased that they also sent a Homeschool Action Plan to help us adapt it for home use. Score! I liked how the program broke everything down in simple steps. It's so simple, even a dog could teach it:
The first few days, we worked on learning what a good paragraph included. Once he got that down, we moved on to "the trick". After teaching this lesson, he wrote a paragraph. Success! Captain C even jumped in and he and Princess P wrote one too. Then they wrote another because it was so fun and easy. This method is so simple and yet keeps them on task (ie...the whole paragraph is about one main idea - woot). It is recommended for grades 3 and up but Princess P was having fun trying it too...with help. C has a strong writing background so was more in it to help the others, which was nice too. He was able to move on to learn how to write a 5 paragraph essay since he had the basic paragraph down.
Terrific T then spent time learning how to improve his paragraph. It took several days of doing these together before he could do it completely on his own. I found it helpful if I suggested ideas after he decided his topic. Otherwise, we were spending way too much time brainstorming and he would get bored before he got to the actual improvements to his writing. I think I should have broken it up into several days - one writing the paragraph and another couple improving it. But I pushed him through in one sitting...not my best idea.
Older kiddos, like C will move very quickly through the first book and be ready to move on. I like that they give you the basic paragraph book free if you purchase the How to Teach the 5 Paragraph Essay ebook for $17.95. It never hurts to review the basics, even if it is only for a day and then you move on. Since it is free, you have nothing to lose.
On its own, the How to Teach the Paragraph is $7.95, I think it was worth it to get the kids writing this summer. It was a good refresher for Captain C and Terrific T learned a lot about staying organized with his paragraphs. You wouldn't believe the rabbit trails a 9 year old boy can follow in a "paragraph" if not guided ;)
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Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.