Frequently Asked Questions

    Q.  For what ages do you recommend Writing Tales?

    A.  Level One works best for third or fourth graders.  Level Two works best for fourth or fifth graders, and possibly sixth graders needing to catch up on their writing experience.

    Q.  Would one need to complete Level One before going on to Level Two?

    A.  No, not at all.  A student could easily start Level Two without having done Level One.

    Q:  Is it necessary to purchase both Student Workbook and Teacher’s Guide, or could the program be completed with just the Student Workbook alone?

    A:  If you attempt the program without the Teacher’s Guide, you’ll be missing about 50% of the entire program.  In addition to answers for the Workbook, the Teacher’s Guide also contains two sets of specific day-to-day lesson plans for both one-on-one homeschools and co-op classes, both of which include discussion questions for the stories that are studied, biographical information about the stories’ authors, additional writing exercises and instruction, specific lesson ideas and materials for teaching the grammatical concepts, and grammar games to reinforce the grammar concepts that are taught.

    Q.  Do I need to supplement grammar or spelling if I am doing Writing Tales?

    A.  You will probably want to supplement your spelling curriculum if your child is not a natural speller.  As for supplementing grammar, this is purely an individual decision.  When I (the author) did Level One with my own third grader, I found that the grammar in the program was enough and did not supplement.  When I did Level Two with her as a fourth grader, I supplemented, first with “Easy Grammar”, and then later we switched to “Growing with Grammar.”  Now, Level Two contains a lot more grammar than Level One!  It is just my own personal opinion that fourth graders need to be learning more grammar than third graders do.  Others will disagree and want to supplement their third graders.  Still others will not feel their children need any additional grammar until they reach fifth grade. 

    Q:  The games your curriculum include sound fun! Can they be played if you only have one student?

    A:  The games that are listed are adapted in the Homeschooling Lesson Plans for one-on-one play between teacher and student, or for group play in the Co-operative Lesson Plans. 

    Q: In your sample Lesson #8 for Level One, it says to read "Punctuation Takes a Vacation" by Robin Pulver. When there are extra reading assignments, is the text included in the TM or Student Workbook or is it something I need to locate on my own?

    A:   There are few extra reading assignments in Level One, and they are not included in the teacher's manual.  "Punctuation Takes a Vacation" by Robin Pulver and “Fantastic! Wow! and Unreal!” by Ruth Heller should be readily available at your library.  These two books are only used once, so it is not necessary to purchase them.  The other readings are taken from "Squids will be Squids" by Scieszka, “Where the Sidewalk Ends” - poetry by Shel Silverstein, and Arnold Lobel's "Fables."  These three should also be available at your local library, but because they are used throughout the course, you may decide to purchase them.  They are also easily substituted - really just my own recommendations.  If you already own a book of Aesop's fables and would prefer to read those instead of Lobel's, for example, that would work fine.  The curriculum doesn't depend on those specific books being read aloud.   I just really like these particular ones!  And the students generally do too.  They are nice examples of what can be done with the fable genre.  I think it’s valuable for the students to be exposed to poetry as well, and I am a big fan of using humor to make learning enjoyable, which is why I chose Shel Silverstein’s poetry book for frequent read-alouds.

    Q:  Will there be more levels of Writing Tales?

    A:  Yes, I hope to publish three more levels of the curriculum.  Unfortunately, circumstances beyond my control have delayed the start of Writing Tales - Level 3 at this time.  I certainly hope to be able to start work on it in the near future, but am unable to say when it will be available at this time. 

    Q:  What writing curriculum do you recommend students use after finishing Writing Tales - Level 2?

    A:  There are many wonderful curricula on the market right now!  Many students will transition very smoothly into Classical Writing - Homer after finishing Writing Tales - Level 2.

    Q:  My child really resists writing the Final Draft.  He doesn’t see the point of adding creative details to his story.  Is this part really necessary, or could we skip the Final Draft altogether?

    A:  Adding creative touches to every Final Draft is the "fun" part of writing in Writing Tales (WT) for most of the students that go through the program.But I find that a small percentage of the students using WT really don't enjoy this part of the process.These students tend to be concrete, factual, and really don't see the "point" in adding all that extra "stuff" to their story.Well, quite honestly, the "point" is simply to make the whole writing process more enjoyable for them!  I ask them to do this to give them an end product (their story) of which they can feel ownership, and to make writing a gratifying experience for them.  I can't stress this next point enough - adding these creative touches is not a part of the original process in this level of the progymnasmata!

    If this step of the process is adding stress for your son, then it is not achieving the goal of making writing a joyful and gratifying experience for him. By all means, leave it out! Now, please realize:  I'm not saying leave the Final Draft out, just the addition of the creative touches.Use this time instead to take his Rough Draft and improve upon it. Isolate some of his sentences and ask him to make them better.Ask him how he could make his story more interesting to his reader. Work on the details, in other words. Use the time to make him a better writer. Teach him to slow down and think about his choice of words, and his arrangement of those words into beautiful, well-flowing sentences, and those sentences in a well thought-out, exciting story.

    Q:  I’m having trouble deciding which Level of Writing Tales to place my child in.  Have you got any advice for me?

    A.  This can be difficult, especially if you are not able to actually get your hands on the books to look at them before you order them. First of all, please visit the Samples page to look at the sample pages of each Level there. Next, you should also know that the sample pages posted at my printer’s website are different, so if you visit there, you can see even more pages of the books. Go to: 

    Moving on, here are some good “rules-of-thumb” to help with Level placement.

    Level 1 introduces the progymnasmata-approach to fictional writing at a basic level.  With that said, this book can look simpler than it actually is.  Your student will be writing a story that is, on the average, one page long every week.  For that reason, I almost always do not recommend Level 1 for second graders.  Level 1 usually fits third graders extremely well, or fourth graders that have not had much previous writing instruction.

    Level 2 continues work in fictional writing with stories of a slightly longer length.  If your child would be comfortable writing stories that are, on average, two to three pages in length every week, then this Level will work.   The grammar instruction and analysis required for each story is also more intense, requiring more perseverance and concentration on the part of the student.  Level 2 usually fits fourth and fifth graders the best, but it can also work just fine for sixth graders who have not had any previous writing instruction.





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Education Through Imagination!



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