My son started using this new writing curriculum called Wordsmith Apprentice from Timberdoodle Company about two months ago. We have been struggling to find a good fit in writing curriculums for a while, and I really wanted something he could do on his own with me checking his work and providing input as necessary. Wordsmith Apprentice has been working wonderfully in this way.
Wordsmith Apprentice helps students in the intermediate grades (4th, 5th, and 6th) get really familiar with words, sentences, and paragraphs through lots and lots of practice. The book is set up so that the student “joins” an unnamed newspaper staff. He is taught by the “editor” through comic strips. Each writing exercise is based on the student’s own real life experiences.
Here is what my son Jonathan (age 11) has to say: “I like Wordsmith. It is a fun and interactive way to learn writing. I like how they make it fun by adding a story to it and I like how they let you write about whatever you want.
Although we were sent the next level of this curriculum (simply called Wordsmith) we started with Wordsmith Apprentice because my son had very little experience with writing paragraphs up to this point. I think the comic strip instruction appeals especially to boys, as does the idea of doing a job with a purpose for writing. By having the student write as though he is on a newspaper staff, the writing curriculum allows for a purpose and a streak of creativity.
The assignments start with the basics of using words. Exercises include filling in a job application, making lists, using a Thesaurus to find synonyms and spice up your writing, and move towards writing full sentences and full paragraphs according to different scenarios and assignments for the newspaper staff.
My Bottom Line: I love how engaged my son is with Wordsmith Apprentice and I anticipate continuing with the series next year. He is enjoying writing and I am enjoying reading what he writes.