17 April 2013 ~ Comments Off

Grading With a Purple Crayon Review

grading 231x300 Grading With a Purple Crayon ReviewLast year I received the book Grading With a Purple Crayon for review. The subtitle is “A Developmental Approach to High School Composition for Homeschooling Families” and the book was written by Dena M. Luchsinger. All I can say is “Wow” and “Oh, how I wish I had had this book sooner!”

The book is really well written (it better be, it’s a book about writing, right?) and yet is very easy to relate to and understand. The more I read, the more I could identify with the author and wanted to know how she solved this problem of helping her daughter learn how to write well. She has a couple of special needs children, so that made it even easier to listen to what she had to say.

My daughters are older now and have somehow learned to write fairly well, but I wonder how much further they would be in their writing if I had used this book with them. My son is only in 5th grade so I will be sure to hold onto this book and use it with him.

Dena (the author) lays everything out so well for the parent. She tells you how to grade if you choose to do that. Progress is the key. The goal is not to get your child to achieve high grades at first. The goal is to improve over time. She talks about how the five paragraph essay is still important and she gives you tons of help in knowing how to teach the concept to your students. Once the five paragraph essay is mastered, she gives you lots of ideas for other types of writing your children can pursue.

One of the concepts I liked the best about the book was how parents can combine the study of different subjects with writing. I have never been a fan of workbooks, but have never found a writing program that I liked either. This book helps to lay aside those workbooks and shows you how to let your student write short essays or even just a few paragraphs about what they learned in any subject. That way they are practicing their writing and also explaining what they learned in another subject.

For parents who want to design a semester or year long composition course, there are instructions on exactly how to do that. The book deals with grammar and tells parents how to help their children improve their grammar too. There are lots of Rubrics parents can use for grading essays along with plenty of checklists to help with clear content, coherency, eloquence, and more.

There is a whole section for college bound students. The author takes you beyond the five paragraph essay, helps with literary analysis, research papers, timed essays, college applications, applying for jobs, and writing resumes and cover letters. The appendices in the back of the book are very valuable and help improve the book even more.

If you are tired of all the writing programs out there and have a student in high school or headed there very soon, this book will be very valuable to you. I encourage you to check out both of Dena’s books – Grading With a Purple Crayon and  The Reader’s Odyssey.

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