Wednesday, April 27, 2011

TOS Review: Writing Tales


Writing Tales is a language arts and writing curriculum that follows the Classical approach to education. It uses stories from Aesop’s fables for grammar and composition lessons. Each level includes a Teacher’s Guide with detailed daily lesson plans, and a Student Workbook with the stories and various worksheets. The basic premise is that students learn correct grammatical usage and become better writers when they are exposed to and mimic well written, classic pieces.

There are 30 lessons in each level that cover 15 different stories. Each lesson takes two weeks to complete. On the first day the student reads the story and a general discussion follows: Who are the main characters, what is the problem and resolution, etc. Next the student has a few lines of copywork from the story. Various grammar lessons and vocabulary words are taught using the story as well. At the end of the first week, the student writes a rough draft retelling the story. In the second week of the lesson the student works on editing and embellishing his story (the grammar concepts are also practiced more.) In the end the student will have written a unique take on the fable.

I used Writing Tales Level One with ds3, my 10yo 4th grader. In the past I have used separate language arts and writing resources with ds. He does okay with the grammar but hates writing. He did really well with Writing Tales’ gentle and inclusive approach to both subjects. Each daily assignment was just the right length for him to grasp the concept but not feel overwhelmed. There wasn’t an entire page of copywork, just a sentence or two, just three or so vocabulary words, etc. The Teacher’s Guide includes many simple but fun games to reinforce concepts for the week. Our favorite (so far) was placing index cards with the four sentence types on various walls in the living room, and having ds run to the correct card as I read sentences to him. Perfect kind of exercise for a young boy!

I am super impressed with Writing Tales. I think it really fits the bill for homeschooling families. The materials are well made and balanced…not too flashy but not boring either. The Teacher’s Guide is detailed but easy to follow and implement. The lessons are the ideal mix of fun and effective. This approach to teaching grammar and writing beats rote workbooks any day. While the basic concept follows the Classical approach, the author’s methods really help make the lessons more “user friendly” and less restrictive.


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You can find sample lessons here.  A full scope and sequence is available here.

Writing Tales Level One is designed for grades 3 and 4.  The Student Workbook is $19.95 and the Teacher’s Guide is $24.95.  Level Two is appropriate for grades 4 and 5.  The Student Workbook is $24.95 and the Teacher’s Guide is $32.95. 

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I received copies of Writing Tales Level One and Two Teacher Guides and Student Workbooks to facilitate this review.  I received no further compensation.  To see other TOS Crewmember reviews, click on the banner below.


1 comment:

  1. We loved the "type of sentence" game, too! My kids still ask to play it, lol! Writing Tales was our favorite product to review this year :-)


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