WriteShop Primary: How to choose a starting level
No matter the curriculum, whether math, penmanship, or writing, picking the best starting level for your child can challenge the most seasoned homeschooler—especially when said child doesn’t exactly fit a grade-specific mold.
Don’t Choose a Level That’s Too Young
Each WriteShop Primary level teaches specific skills within a range of ages, making it easier for you to choose the very best place to begin the program.
However, these are not the only factors. Your child’s reasoning skills, emotional maturity, and ability to express ideas orally are also important considerations. So before you decide on a level, make sure you look at the big picture!
- Start at the level that best fits your child’s thinking skills, not his writing skills. A child’s ability to physically write things down often lags behind his intellect and vocabulary.
- Key concepts are carried over into future books, so don’t worry about “missing” something.
- If you place older children in Book A, you run the risk of losing their interest. Even if they haven’t had any prior writing experience, Books B and C are a better fit for most 7- and 8-year-olds.
What Is Covered in Each Level?
Start with Book A if your 5- to 7-year-old is not yet able to:
- Identify beginning, middle, and end in a story.
- Complete predictable sentence starters.
- Identify and use punctuation marks at the end of a sentence.
- Begin a sentence with a capital letter.
- Choose an appropriate title.
- Think of simple ways to improve a story.
- Read and write color words.
- Recognize words that rhyme.
NOTE: Reading and writing skills are NOT required for Book A students. All work may be done orally.
Start with Book B if your 6- to 8-year-old is not yet able to:
- Identify or use paragraph form and indentation.
- Use graphic organizers to plan a story.
- Include a beginning, middle, and end in his story.
- Figure out how to add more details to a story.
- Organize a story to include a problem and its solution.
- Choose story endings.
- Write or dictate a friendly letter.
- Write or dictate about something that has happened to him.
- Retell nursery rhymes and fairy tales in his own words.
- Identify the parts of a friendly letter.
- Identify words that rhyme.
- Use standard spelling tools such as a dictionary.
NOTE: Children can dictate ideas and stories to you if their physical writing skills are still emerging. As long as they have ideas in their head and can share them orally, that’s all the skill they need to begin Book B.
Start with Book C if your 7- to 9-year-old is not yet able to:
- Plan the main ingredients of a story before beginning to write.
- Ask who, what, when, where, and why? in order to add story details.
- Organize story details.
- Write entries in a personal journal.
- Use descriptive words in his writing.
- Write a short nonfiction article.
- Summarize the contents of familiar books.
- Collect research facts about a specific topic.
- Write a simple, short report with introduction, body, and closing.
- Use standard spelling.
- Check his own work for correct spelling and punctuation.