WriteShop I & II Overview

Provide teens with a solid foundation in descriptive, informative, and narrative writing—and build self-editing skills—using the incremental WriteShop writing program. This overview of WriteShop I & II gives you the big picture.

Feel Insecure about Teaching and Grading Writing?

Parents love WriteShop! This flexible writing program helps new and veteran homeschoolers alike tackle junior high and high school-level writing with confidence. From brainstorming to final draft, the Teacher’s Manual clearly defines your role in the writing process. You’ll love the examples, detailed lesson plans, and step-by-step instructions.

WriteShop I and II set your teens on a course for success. Assignments give them a chance to practice various kinds of writing, such as creative, expository, narrative, and persuasive.

With each lesson, they’ll learn new skills, apply them to their current writing project, and edit and revise the composition several times. By the end of the lesson—after brainstorming, writing, editing, and revising—they’ll have a polished paper to be proud of!

Inspire Confident Writers

WriteShop’s step-by-step method encourages your teen’s success.

Confident writers are comfortable with the writing process.

1. Brainstorming

Topic suggestions, graphic organizers and brainstorming worksheets, and 17 practical word banks help unlock your student’s creative ideas.

2. Writing

WriteShop’s “learn-practice-do” approach helps new skills become habits. Each engaging lesson presents a new writing skill that is:

  • Introduced as a Skill Builder exercise.
  • Put into practice in the current composition.
  • Applied to future compositions.

Additionally, WriteShop focuses on clarity, conciseness, colorful vocabulary, and sentence variety that will add sparkle to dull, ordinary compositions.

3. Self-Editing and Revising

WriteShop tells students exactly what to look for when editing and refining their own work. There’s no guessing involved! Each lesson has its own customized Writing Skills Checklist. When finished with the editing process, students have a polished final draft.

No More Writer’s Block

Do your teens fear the dreaded blank page? Writing comes easier when they have clear instructions and topic guidelines. Because WriteShop’s concrete instructions tell them exactly what to do, they’ll never have to wonder how long their paper should be or what content they should include.

ZWriteShop I & II Features

  • Solid writing foundation for 6th-10th graders using WriteShop I
  • Advanced writing concepts for 8th-12th graders using WriteShop II
  • Incremental lessons with a strong emphasis on editing; lessons gradually increase in difficulty
  • Practical grammar application as students relate grammar to writing
  • Goal of mastery as lessons regularly review skills
  • Creative and varied lessons
  • Graphic organizers and step-by-step strategies that help students with learning difficulties such as dyslexia or dysgraphia
  • Flexible scheduling. Because the material is “ungraded,” students may begin WriteShop I any time between 6th and 10th grade and may take from one semester to two years to complete this first level. When finished, they can move up to WriteShop II.
  • Video course options. When you feel unsure about teaching writing on your own or don’t have time to add one more thing to your schedule, PlayWith.Education’s online Video Course may be the answer.

dWriteShop I & II Skills Chart

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WriteShop I & II

FAQs

We’ve consolidated our most frequent questions about WriteShop I & II to help you fill in making your best selection.  But we also have these helpful tools for you to use.

Where Do We Start?

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Should we begin with WriteShop I or WriteShop II?

We generally recommend that all students in 6th-10th grade begin with WriteShop I unless they have a solid foundation in paragraph writing and experience with descriptive, informative, and narrative writing. Even then, motivated and articulate older high schoolers often show dramatic improvement using WriteShop I. Juniors and seniors should jump right into WriteShop II, unless they need remediation. Click here for more detailed placement help.

Can this program be used all the way through 12th grade?

WriteShop is only a 2-3 year program. For example, you might teach WriteShop I in 9th grade and WriteShop II in 10th. Or, maybe you’ll take two years teaching WriteShop I (7th and 8th), followed by one year of WriteShop II in 9th.

Even if you start in 7th grade and take two years to finish each level, you’ll still have some high school years left. Continue to teach and practice writing. When focusing on more advanced writing skills, include literary analysis, longer essays, research papers, poetry, business letters, and résumés.

Is WriteShop a good fit for a reluctant writer?

Many kids, especially boys, struggle with writing. They’re totally intimidated by the blank page, groaning, “I don’t know what to say,” or “I don’t know how to start.” WriteShop helps reluctant writers overcome this very real frustration.

First, they learn to pick suitable writing topics. Second, with guided direction they develop their topic in an interesting manner. One step at a time, WriteShop leads teens through the steps of the writing process. In the end, even the most resistant writer feels accomplished to see an idea unfold and take shape on that once-terrifying blank page!

My junior higher already writes well. Can she start with WriteShop II?

Most middle-schoolers should begin with WriteShop I. Even if they “can” write, it doesn’t always mean they’re writing effectively. WriteShop I helps them refine their writing and pay better attention to content and grammar. Meanwhile, they’re learning important elements of writing style. WriteShop I teaches teens to write from observation and experience, with a few creative and expository assignments tossed in as well. Once students know how to write more concretely and concisely, they can move seamlessly into WriteShop II.

My high schooler can write 5-paragraph essays. Does he need WriteShop II?

WriteShop II teaches the basic 3- to 5-paragraph essay. When an older students’ essays already display clear and mature thought, great organization, wise use of sentence variation, and strong vocabulary, they’re probably beyond WriteShop II.

On the other hand, if they still write lifeless, disjointed essays that lack supporting details or contain weak vocabulary, there’s a good chance WriteShop II will save the day. For 9th graders, go with WriteShop I. But if they’re in 11th or 12th grade, choose WriteShop II. A 10th grader can go either way.

Can I use WriteShop I with an advanced 5th grader?

Although many WriteShop I topics are appropriate for bright 10- to 11-year-olds, they’re not necessarily AGE-appropriate.

First, younger kids rarely have the patience, experience, or thinking skills to apply these new concepts of style and structure to their writing. Second, they may not have the vocabulary to fully develop their compositions. And finally, WriteShop’s detailed checklists will overwhelm most elementary kids. For a better fit, choose WriteShop Junior.

Teaching WriteShop I & II

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How long does it take to complete a level?

WriteShop I and II offer different schedules. Each lesson can take 1-4 weeks to complete. The average 7th-10th grader completes one level per year, while younger or more reluctant 6th or 7th graders need two years. Older high schoolers can even finish a book in a semester.

How much time will we spend each day?

Plan to spend 5 minutes to 1 hour or more per day. This depends not only on the day’s activities, but on your teen’s maturity, motivation, and attitude, Most students complete one full writing assignment every two weeks (4-7 hours per lesson). With this flexible schedule, the average student works on WriteShop assignments six days out of ten.

What does the program require of parents?

You won’t have much prep time, and you’ll like the orderly, step-by-step lesson plans. Most of the time, lessons are open-and-go. Work with your student the first two days of each 2-week lesson cycle, spending about 30 minutes each day. During the second week, set aside two time slots when you’ll edit and evaluate your teen’s paper. The rest of the time, your student will work independently unless they need help.

I’m insecure about teaching and grading. Will WriteShop help?

Yes! The program was written with parents like you in mind. WriteShop’s lesson-specific, objective checklists and grading forms are among the most popular features of the program. That’s because they eliminate much of the guesswork. In addition, the Teacher’s Manual contains lots of examples, ideas, troubleshooting tips, and more to help you teach, edit, and grade with confidence.

Do you have videos? I really don’t think I can do this myself.

If you’re still not sure about teaching WriteShop I or II on your own, or you have limited teaching time available, try our supplemental Video Course. Clear instructions, colorful graphics, and practical examples make the videos interesting and motivating for junior high and high school students. Short and engaging, each video clip takes the pressure off of you!

Is there any religious content?

WriteShop encourages uplifting communication through discussions on appropriate word choice, character studies, and examples. While not overtly religious, some WriteShop I and II materials do contain occasional religious references. They are minimal and can easily be skipped or even changed to suit your own needs.

We now have a secular version of the WriteShop I Student Workbook (available in both print and digital versions) for public and charter schools and secular homeschoolers. At this time, you can only purchase this secular version through our office. We are also working on a secular WriteShop II Student Workbook and Teacher’s Manual.

What Products Do We Need?

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Does each student need a workbook?

Ideally, yes. Although we give permission to photocopy the consumable pages for your own children, this permission doesn’t extend to instruction sheets, word lists, or reference pages. With multiple students, sharing a book doesn’t always work. Sharing seems to work best when your teens aren’t on a strict schedule and can work on their writing at different times of the day.

Do I really need the Teacher’s Manual? Can’t I get by with just the student workbook?

Because much of WriteShop’s structure is built into the Teacher’s Manual, your student will miss many important benefits of the program without it. For instance, the TM contains pre-writing activities not mentioned at all in the student books. These important activities help introduce each writing lesson. In addition, the TM features lesson plans, guided writing, editing and grading tips, explanations, discussions, illustrations, and dialogue, each of which contributes to your teen’s understanding of the lesson.

Do we need the Copying and Dictation Exercises for WriteShop I?

If you have copywork resources at your disposal, or you enjoy gathering or providing your own materials, you won’t need this booklet. But if you appreciate the convenience of pre-selected passages, you might want to buy one. The Copying and Dictation booklet contains 16 carefully chosen literature selections offering examples of descriptive, informative, and narrative writing. Passages relate to and reinforce each WriteShop I assignment.

Can WriteShop serve as a complete grammar program?

WriteShop is not a complete grammar program. We don’t teach sentence structure, punctuation, or capitalization per se (though the checklists require careful attention to mechanics). On the other hand, there is a strong focus on introducing, practicing, and reinforcing parts of speech.

Students are encouraged to incorporate strong nouns, verbs, adverbs, and adjectives in their writing. They also learn to use appositives, prepositional phrases, participial phrases, and subordinate conjunctions. When Skill Builders introduce a grammar concept, practical application comes when students use the new skill in their writing.

A grammar supplement such as The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation should suffice, though you certainly may want to continue teaching grammar alongside the writing—especially if your teen is weak in this area.

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Samples

Sample Lessons

WriteShop I  Grades 6-10 | Download
WriteShop II  Grades 8-11 | Download
(Continuation of WriteShop I) 
WriteShop I Video Course | View Sample Video

Scope & Sequence

WriteShop I  Grades 6-10 | Download
WriteShop II  Grades 8-11 | Download
(Continuation of WriteShop I) 

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