Friday, January 23, 2015

Writing with Ease Level 3 Review

I just did a little review of Writing with Ease Level 1, so I figured I might as well review the other level of WWE happening at our house this year - Writing with Ease Level 3. James is using WWE 3 this year for fourth grade. I started him in Level 3 rather than Level 4 because he had never done dictation before. This level has been perfect for him - not too easy and not too hard- although he may not necessarily agree with me there! I will admit that I get a fair amount of complaining on dictation days, but we just keep up with it and his skills are definitely improving!


WWE 3 is set up basically the same as WWE 1.  The major difference is that the child does dictation instead of copywork. Like WWE 1, this level is broken up into 36 weeks of lessons, with four lessons each week. While WWE 1 focused on one book per week, WWE 3 focuses on either one book or one topic per week. There is a good mix of literature, poetry, history, and science passages. To give you an idea of the week focuses on The Moffats, with passages and dictation taken from that book. Another week is all about magic, and the dictation sentences and passages are pulled from both a book about magic tricks and a book about Houdini. Yet another week focuses on authors, with two days spent on Laura Ingalls Wilder and two on Dr. Seuss. This adds a lot of interest to what could otherwise be a pretty repetitive subject. It also means that if James finds one week boring, he may very well enjoy the next week. 

Just like in WWE 1, the WWE 3 workbook consists of scripted lessons followed by removable student pages. For this level, I am not removing the student pages like I am doing for Level 1. I bought the student pages PDF from Peace Hill Press and I print them as needed. This way I can preserve the whole book for Rose and save a little money. You could also preserve the book by having your student do their writing in a separate notebook, but I find the pre-made pages convenient.

Okay, so here is how the program is set up!

Day 1 is a narration day.  The student is assigned a one or two page passage to read.  James reads the assignment, then I ask him for a summary. Questions and/or prompts are provided and I almost always use these to help him collect his thoughts and pick out the important bits. Several example narrations are included to give you an idea of what to expect for a narration. I find these very helpful to get him going in the right direction and I often read the first few words of the example if he doesn't know how to start. The examples also give me a solid idea of what the passage is about, without actually reading it myself.

Day 2 is a dictation day. Dictation is not my child's favorite subject! But I feel the dictations in this book are very age appropriate and not overly challenging, unlike the longer dictations in Level 4. Background information is given to read to the child first. For example, on the day the child will take dictation from Humphrey's Bear, there is a very short summary of the book, and the scene is set for what went on just before the dictation sentences. Then we get on to the dictation! I read the sentence(s) three times, pausing slightly at commas and longer at periods. This can be a bit tricky and sometimes I have to read it a couple of extra times to get it just right. If there is unusual punctuation or spelling I let him look the sentences over first. Then I repeat the sentences or prompt him with single words as needed. I have yet to sit down and have him get it all on the first try, he usually needs another reading. You are asked to watch the child as they write, which is so important.  I admit I get bored watching him slowly write out each word and so will often take the opportunity to empty the dishwasher, help someone else, switch the laundry over, etc.. I am nearly always sorry when I do this, because I often come back to find a mistake. It is far better to catch mistakes right away than it is to have to erase and rewrite at the end. After the dictation there is sometimes a short assignment,  such as circling the prepositions in the sentences.

Day 3 is a narration and dictation day. Just like in day 1, the child reads a passage and you help him summarize it, recording his summary for him. Then you choose one or two of his sentences to dictate to him.

Day 4 is a dictation day again.

And then you move on to the next week! Right now, this is all that James does for writing, though I have been considering having him do a summary each week in history or science. I did not take pictures of any of the pages for this level, but they are not very different from Level 1, so just click here if you want to get an idea of what a completed student page looks like.

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