The premise of Write By Number is that children must learn to write in a logical order, combining physical readiness with intellectual development. First, they must be able to physically read (not just decode) and write. Then, as they begin reading and are exposed for the first time to written language, they can begin creating the most basic structure of writing – a sentence – which is taught in Stage 1.
The typical setup is one book per person. Our basic set includes one Teacher Book and one Student Book.
“Money’s tight. Can my kids share the Student Book?” It depends on your circumstances. The books are non-consumable. If your kids share well and keep track of their belongings, you can order one Student Book for the early Stages. However, as you progress through the upper Stages of the program, your students will be referring to explanations and reference lists on a regular basis. So, you might start out with one Student Book and decide later to buy additional copies.
This is a mastery-based program. Students cannot go to the next stage until they have mastered the first. This is an absolute necessity.
I know it to be necessary because the students I’ve worked with who have not had the time to really master each Stage don’t do well in the long run. Just like we would never expect a child to be able to dribble a basketball down the court without first teaching him to hold the ball and dribble the ball, we can’t expect a student to write a paragraph before he can write a sentence. If the sentence is flawed, the paragraph is flawed.
Unfortunately, in a fear-based dash to meet legislated state standards, most writing curriculum throws common sense to the wind and pushes students onward before they are actually ready.
So, be committed to mastery. This process works. You’ll have to trust me on this because you won’t see the results right away; the results take time.
Writing and grading writing can be one of the most time-consuming aspects of education. This program removes this frustration, which means that this curriculum will actually GET DONE.
You can even make your life easier and combine subjects! If your students are practicing their handwriting and need to write sentences, have them write the sentences for WBN in their handwriting curriculum book/pages. If your students have learned two things in history, encourage them to write things like “I learned two things in history today,” or “I ran two laps during P.E.” These summary paragraphs can be submitted for grading in both subjects, cutting your grading time in half and their writing time in half.
Students will also be learning that proper writing skills are necessary in all subjects. One doesn’t just throw writing rules out the window when one switches to a different subject! However, if your students find it frustrating to be limited to writing about school subjects, and prefer to write about their personal interests, allow them to. Remember, one of the goals of teaching writing is to remove the frustration of writing.
This writing program can be used:
If the school requires completion of certain writing assignments, you can alter the assignments to standards that fit where the student is in the WBN curriculum. For example, if a second grade assignment reads, “Write a descriptive essay of the main character in the story,” and your student is in Stage 5, you could change the assignment to, “Write a 12323 paragraph describing the main character in the story, using no to be linking verbs.”
One of the advantages of WBN is that because it is modular, it is not tied to a school year. You can do whatever else you want in the language arts curriculum and just carry on with WBN from year to year until the student reaches Stage 12.
If you are in a brick-and-mortar classroom, you may have only one year with your students. Can you use this program? Absolutely.
Start at the beginning and get as far as you can with each student. You might only get your students to the point of writing five-sentence paragraphs. That’s something! Do you know how many adults can’t write a good five-sentence paragraph?
Giving your students just the framework of thinking of concepts in terms of “powers” will shape their thinking, speaking, and writing, and might very well carry over beyond your classroom.
Absolutely! WBN teaches a student to write in a way that will earn competent to exemplary scores on any essay portion of a standardized test. If a student has also mastered the creative art of writing, has a large vocabulary, and has the gift of clear communication, he or she will score off the charts. In addition, students who complete WBN will have learned all the grammar and usage rules while learning to write, and therefore will be able to do well on the usage testing portion of the standardized exams.