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Teaching Writing: Structure and Style in Writing Seminar

Publisher: Institute for Excellence in Writing
Author: Andrew Pudewa
Review last updated: November 2014

This is one of my 102 Top Picks!

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Structure and Style in Writing Seminar

See the complete review in 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum.

A few homeschoolers were so impressed with Andrew Pudewa’s Teaching Writing: Structure and Style (TWSS) writing seminar that they went out of their way to make sure I reviewed it. I believe that their enthusiasm was well founded.

Two things seem to be stumbling blocks for homeschooling parents when it comes to teaching composition skills: the difficulty of finding the right resources and lack of confidence in their own abilities to teach and evaluate. Andrew Pudewa presents writing seminars for parents and students that overcome the confidence barrier better than anything else I have yet seen. And his Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW®) resources give parents easy-to-use tools that work for a wide range of students.
Since attending Pudewa’s seminars is not practical for many parents and teachers, he offers those same seminars in the Teaching Writing: Structure and Style course on DVDs. (An online streaming option will soon be available as well.) The video course consists of a seminar workbook plus ten DVDs: six DVDs with ten hours of seminar presentation, a two-hour DVD titled Tips & Tricks for Teaching Through the Nine Units, and three Student Workshop DVDs
Parents and teachers learn how to teach both creative and expository writing. The course teaches both structure and style in such a clear manner that parents and teachers learn how to easily teach students a repertoire of techniques. In addition, selected grammar skills are taught and applied periodically through the course so students better understand the relationship between grammar and good writing. Students continue to develop and apply techniques through actual writing activities taught throughout the course....
Pudewa does not try to cover all types of creative and expository writing but focuses on basic structures and approaches. Regardless, this foundational development should be excellent preparation for students to build upon as they explore other forms of writing....
The course as presented to students consists of nine units: 1. Note Making and Outlines, 2. Summarizing from Notes, 3. Summarizing from Narrative Stories, 4. Summarizing References, 5. Writing from Pictures, 6. Library Reports, 7. Creative or Inventive Writing, 8. Essay Writing, and 9. Critiques (book reports or basic literary analysis)....
As mentioned above, the seminar set includes three Student Workshop presentations. Student Workshops are recordings of hour-long classes conducted with different age groups: elementary, intermediate, and high school. These serve as demonstration classes. You might have students work alongside a “video” class to introduce them to some of the methods of this course.
Even more help is available through Student Writing Intensive DVDs (SWI). There are three levels (A, B, and C), each consisting of four-discs of actual classes, running about 7½ hours total. Each SWI also includes a Structure and Style Overview DVD which is a brief introduction to the various units so parents and teachers can get a quick overview of the Structure and Style course outline. However, this is not intended to replace TWSS. Level A is for grades 3-5, Level B is for grades 6-8, and Level C is for high school....
Once you have worked through the basic seminar and SID, the Student Writing Intensive Continuation Course picks up where SID ends....
For all of their courses, IEW allows parents to make copies of the printed material for their own children. However, each family in a co-op setting is expected to purchase their own set of student materials.
Older high school students (as well as college students) should benefit from the IEW Advanced Communication Series. The set consists of three DVDs of classes....The three titles are Persuasive Writing and Speaking, Advanced Note Taking: A Dynamic Key Word Approach, and Power Tips for Planning and Writing a College Level Paper.
IEW also offers other related resources in their catalog or through their website. Among them are some actual lesson books that will help you implement what is taught in the original seminar such as Rockets, Radar, & Robotics; Following Narnia; a series of History-Based Writing Lessons in Structure and Style courses; and more. These can be used in conjunction with the Structure and Style program or afterward. Bible-Based Writing Lessons in Structure and Style has lessons that you can begin using from the very beginning of the Structure and Style program while most of the other books need to wait until a little later. Many of IEW’s materials, including the core courses discussed here (except for Bible-Based Writing Lessons and history-based writing lessons) are written from a secular, but "Christian friendly" viewpoint. Materials with distinctly Christian content are designated on their website as such.
IEW is continually expanding its line of products, so please check their website or catalog for more information on the above items and others.


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  • Advanced Communication Series

    Advanced Communication Series

    Andrew Pudewa

    Teaching Writing: Structure and Style DVD Seminar Plus Seminar Workbook

    Teaching Writing: Structure and Style DVD Seminar Plus Seminar Workbook

    Andrew Pudewa

    Instant Key

    • Learning Styles: all
      Suitable for: group or one-on-one instruction plus independent work
      Audience: grades 3-12
      Need for parent/teacher instruction:  minimal to moderate
      Prep time needed: minimal to high depending how you use the program
      Need for teacher manual:  DVDs and seminar workbook are essential for the teacher
      Religious perspective:secular but "Christian friendly"; offers optional Bible-based lessons

    Publisher's Info

    Institute for Excellence in Writing