Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew
I love teaching reading, history, science, and up until Algebra I don’t mind teaching math. Writing is another issue altogether and tends to be the most challenging subject for me to teach in our homeschool. I am always on the lookout for great resources to help me teach my children to be good writers and so I was happy to review the Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers by Everyday Education.
I know the high value of writing in a world where communicating your ideas is so important and I understand that no matter what career or life path my children choose, good writing skills will be beneficial. My middle and high school students know all of the basics of writing and can write an essay, but they tend to struggle with correct grammar.
The Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers is over 400 pages of writing resources and very comprehensive. It is broken down into two main sections. First, is an introduction to essays and arguments; this section helps students learn to write a quality essay. It helps them to understand different types of essays and research papers and breaks them down into key components. It also helps them learn to ‘argue’ their point of view in a productive way and how to structure different types of papers.
This section even goes so far as to teach about the functions of different types of paragraphs and how to use those paragraphs to form a good essay. There are descriptions and information as well as exercises that the student can do to practice those skills.
For example, there is a list of topic sentences and the student is asked to indicate the function of the paragraph for each topic sentence. Another section has a paragraph with blanks where there should be transition words. It is the students’ task to fill in the transition words to make the paragraph flow more logically.
In the second section of this book you get into more of the nuts and bolts of grammar. This section is titled, Introduction to Usage and Style. There are hundreds of different grammar rules and word usages explained in this section. The table of contents is amazing, it goes into great detail so that you can easily find exactly what you need.
For example, there are seventeen sections just for pronouns. One of the sections that we used was on commas, because that is a struggle for my teens. I was easily able to go in and find and print the sections on commas because of the detailed table of contents.
This book can be used in a number of ways. We chose to mostly use this as a reference book for helping my students with essays that they had already been assigned. As I looked over their rough drafts, I would find the areas that they seemed to be struggling with. Then I could print out the material on that particular error and allow them to use it to go back in and correct their essay.
They can also have access to look up information as they are writing when they are unsure of the convention. In addition to basic grammar, this book contains information to help with references, bibliographies, clarity, logic, and structure, and even essay formatting.
If you wanted to use it as a writing curriculum, you could choose the various sections and assign the exercises or other writing assignments based on the content of that section (especially in part one).
Moving forward, I plan to continue to use this as a resource and also to add some specific assignments from part one based on weaknesses I see in their writing. I appreciate that I do not have to use the book in it’s entirely or in any particular order, but can customize it based on their skills.
Overall, I recommend Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers for middle and high school aged students as a great resource for writing. I even plan to make sure my teens take a copy of this book with them to college because I feel like it will continue to be a great resource for their college level papers. Be sure to click on the graphic below to see how other families on the Review Crew utilized this resource.