Thursday, April 12, 2012
Write with World Review
Write with World is a brand new writing curriculum from the folks at World Magazine and God's World News. And when I say "brand new", I mean I received a pilot version. Right now, you can pre-order it, and it will ship some time this summer. So the question you may be asking is...is it worth the wait?
Well, before I answer that, let me tell you a little more about Write with World.
It is designed to be a 2 year writing program for middle schoolers. I received the teacher's manual and student book for year one. Part of the cost of the curriculum ($95 for each year or $165 for both) will include a website that will offer real-time lessons that tie in to current events and offers more writing prompts, a teachers' forum, and the opportunity for student work to be published. (That is not currently available, so I can't comment more on that at all.) Write with World year one has four units, and each unit has four lessons. Within each lesson, there are five capsules, each of which is about one day's assignment. According to their website, Write with World covers comparative and critical reading, writing fundamentals, reporting, reviewing, critique and opinion. But on a practical level, I'd say it offers much more. Students learn about "voice" and how to know which one to write in. They learn vocabulary. They cover frequent grammar mistakes. They develop critical thinking skills about the written word and then how to express what they feel about different pieces of writing. Oh, and they learn to write :-). Click to read a sample lesson. The Intro to the Teacher's Edition gives even more information. And you can even view the Table of Contents for the complete list of topics covered.
The pros: I think Write with World teaches writing in a novel way that makes it different than anything else out there. I like the bite sized lesson pieces, the "capsules", that are easy to follow. While parents are encouraged to be part of the process, students can read and do the work themselves. Parents are also strongly encouraged to "go easy" on the red pen. But what I really like is that Write with World seems to cover a multitude of things I always want to cover, but never get to. Like asking student to look at ads and see what works and WHY. And it uses several techniques that our high school writing team used "back in the day" to get students to look at things from multiple perspectives. And I feel like they really nailed their approach for their target age group. Finally, I love that the books are not consumable, so you can use them with multiple students.
The cons: This is going to sound trivial, but I HATE the teacher's manual. no, not what's inside it, but the actual book itself. It's printed on slightly larger than legal sized paper, and so it's just unwieldy. It's big, and floppy, and it bugs me. And it doesn't fit well on my bookshelf with all my other materials because it's shorter and sticks out too far. But if that's the biggest con I have, I can get over it.
The bottom line: Remember that question I asked at the beginning about whether it was worth the wait? In my humble opinion, the short answer is a resounding, "Yes!" And from me, that's huge, because I already have a writing program that I love and am fiercely loyal to. But to me, Write with World offers a different take on writing instruction than any other writing program I've seen. It was developed by educators and writers with the goal of training children to become proficient communicators with an understanding of the media and worldviews prevalent today. They want to train Christians to be able to put forward high quality content that is every bit as engaging as the content the world has to offer but with a Christian worldview. I want my children to be good communicators. And I want them to be great communicators for Christ. I hate Christian drivel and frequently lament the fact that Christian and quality are sometimes seen as mutually exclusive. I look forward to Write-ing with World some more!
To pre-order Write with World, go HERE. To see what other members of the TOS Crew had to say, go HERE.
Legal Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received the Student and Teacher books for free in exchange for my honest review. Those books are the only compensation I received.