I’ve been thinking about Writing with Ease lately and I started to wonder if I’d wasted my money on this book. It seems all about copywork and narration…which Esa’s already doing. So what are we missing? I picked it up and had another read-through and realised there’s more to it than just that. Much more.
I’ve been going about it all wrong. I should be having Esa do very small copy work exercises, with certain features (such as proper nouns, certain punctuation, etc) and narrating from small selections of one or two paragraphs, not whopping chapters. The point of these exercises is not to assess comprehension, but to gain skills (both in writing and grammar). I was going about it the wrong way.
Now, I mentioned a few posts ago about an article on the WTM website regarding narration, which fits well with this. Esa does need help with his narrations as they either too long or completely absent.
So I have decided to begin again with Writing with Ease, following it to the letter (not something I usually do with curricula). We’ll begin with very short copywork sentences which fit the specified criteria and narrating (one sentence) from brief selections after answering a few questions (I’ll re-read the section containing the answer if he can’t answer it).
I’m still going to have him narrate from other things, if he can, and I’ll let him do it how he wants. We may dissect it a little afterwards for further practice.
We’re going to begin reading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I’ve got a lovely copy illustrated by P.J. Lynch that I’m hoping will hold Esa’s attention. I’ve chosen 2 sentences for this week’s narration from the book:
- Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.
This is pretty short compared to what he has been copying. It’s also an attention-grabbing sentence.
- The firm was known as Scrooge and Marley.
Not much longer, and containing the all-important names of people. I’ll make sure to point these out. Although we’re on lesson 28 of First Language Lessons and he’s got a firm grasp of proper nouns, it’s quite another thing seeing it in a sentence and applying the capitalisation rule.
The practice in narration will probably come from history. I can choose a good paragraph from Story of the World, re-read it after we’ve read the whole chapter, ask a few questions, then get his one-sentence narration.
Note: the information I’ve provided about the Writing with Ease programme is all available in their sample here, so I’m not giving away anything the publishers don’t want shared.