Choose a Level | WriteShop Junior

WriteShop Junior is a parent-directed writing curriculum for children in grades 3-6. This placement guide will help you choose the best starting level for your child.

Caution: Don’t Choose a Level That’s Too Young

Each WriteShop Junior level teaches specific skills within a range of ages, making it easier to choose the very best place to begin the program. However, age and skill 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 to look at the big picture!

Slowing down vs. dumbing down

Writing freaks parents out! You’re terrified your kids have missed something—which guilts you into choosing a lower level out of sheer fear that they’re too far behind (whatever that means in the homeschool writing world).

We can’t stress enough the importance of placing the child in an age-appropriate level. So start at with the book that best fits your student’s thinking skills, not his grammar, spelling, or writing skills. When a child struggles in one of these areas, you want to slow down, not dumb down. A child’s ability to physically write things down often lags behind his intellect and vocabulary. Some 4th and 5th graders still have a hard time putting pencil to paper.

If you have a child like this, resist the temptation to start in WriteShop Primary. The artwork/illustrations (and most activities) in the Primary books are way too young for kids in 4th-6th grades. Placing him in a level that feels “beneath him” socially and emotionally can jeopardize his willingness to write.

WriteShop Junior is a better fit for most upper-elementary students—even if they haven’t had much writing experience. Here’s why:

  • Key concepts carry over into future books, so don’t worry about having “missed” something. WriteShop is cyclical; important skills—such as choosing strong words or using a beginning, middle, and end—are frequently revisited in future levels. So even if you’re certain your 10-year-old lacks every skill taught in WriteShop Primary, you’ll both be much better off if you stick with the age-appropriate (but still fun and incremental) WriteShop Junior books.
  • Smaller Steps and Flying Higher activities appear in all the Junior books, allowing you to adjust assignments to the child’s level of ability.

WriteShop Junior Book D

Target: 3rd & 4th grade (or reluctant 5th)

  • Most children this age who have completed WriteShop Primary Book B or Book C can move right into Book D.
  • Book D makes a good choice for first-time WriteShop students who have weak sentence or paragraph skills. (Reluctant writers are encouraged to do some or all of the work orally; however, extremely reluctant 3rd graders may gain more confidence starting with WriteShop Primary Book C.) 
  • 6th and 7th graders with special needs may also find success with Book D—as long as they are not put off by the more juvenile worksheet illustrations.

Start with Book D if your 8- to 11-year-old needs to learn how to:

  • WriteShop Junior targets grades 3-6. This placement guide will help you choose the best starting level for your child. Identify and use proper grammar and punctuation
  • Identify and correctly use parts of speech
  • Narrow a broad topic to a specific topic
  • Brainstorm before writing
  • Write an adequate sentence
  • Write a basic paragraph
  • Choose strong words instead of weak ones
  • Use editing tools to correct and revise compositions

If your child is already somewhat confident in most of these areas, consider choosing Book E instead.

See a comparison chart of skills taught in WriteShop Junior
See a Book D lesson sample
See WriteShop Junior Book D products

WriteShop Junior Book E 

Target: 4th & 5th grade (or reluctant 6th)

  • Use Book E with upper-elementary children who have already learned basic sentence and paragraph skills.
  • 5-paragraph writing is introduced about 2/3 of the way through the book. If you anticipate your child’s readiness to learn this skill by then, Book E should be a good fit. However, even when a child is not quite ready to write five paragraphs, “Smaller Steps” activities will always give simpler options.
  • 7th graders with special needs (or who haven’t had much formal writing instruction) may also find success with Book E—as long as they are not put off by the simplicity of the Activity Pack artwork.

Start with Book E if your 9- to 12-year-old needs to learn how to:

  • WriteShop Junior targets grades 3-6. This placement guide will help you choose the best starting level for your child. Choose a point of view
  • Develop the middle of the story to make it interesting
  • Develop voice and show emotion in his writing
  • Vary sentence length
  • Write a book summary
  • Write an expository nonfiction report
  • Write a 5-paragraph composition

If the younger artwork will bother a more mature 11- or 12-year-old, consider choosing Book F or WriteShop I instead.

See a comparison chart of skills taught in WriteShop Junior
See a Book E lesson sample
See WriteShop Junior Book E products

WriteShop Junior Book F

Target: 5th & 6th grade (or reluctant 7th)

  • Use Book F with upper-elementary children who have already learned basic paragraph skills.
  • 5-paragraph writing is introduced (or revisited) about 2/3 of the way through the book. If you anticipate your child’s readiness to learn this skill by then, Book F should be a good fit. 
  • 8th graders with special needs (or who haven’t had much formal writing instruction) may also find success with Book F.

Start with Book F if your 10- to 13-year-old needs to learn or review how to:

  • WriteShop Junior Book F Target: 5th & 6th grade (or reluctant 7th) Narrow a broad topic to a specific topic
  • Use graphic organizers to plan a story or report
  • Strengthen paragraph development
  • Improve sentence length
  • Describe characters, setting, and plot with vivid language
  • Use dialogue to show, not tell
  • Write a 5-paragraph composition
  • Write a research-based report

Most 12- or 13-year-olds can comfortably use WriteShop I instead. Book F can be a good fit for these older kids if they would still benefit from hands-on activities. Otherwise, choose WriteShop I.

See a comparison chart of skills taught in WriteShop Junior
See a Book F lesson sample
See WriteShop Junior Book F products

Learn More About WriteShop Junior

WriteShop Junior Overview
WriteShop Junior FAQs