The Writer’s Jungle

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Content: Writing
Grade(s): 5th – 8th
Perspective: Secular
Parent Prep Time: Moderate
Teacher Manual: Available
Teacher Involvement: Essential
Cost: $$$ || ?
Publication Date: 2005
Updated Review: 03/18/2014

From Brave Writer’s website:

The Writer’s Jungle is much more than daily lesson plans or writing ideas. It takes you inside the writer’s world. It aims to develop brave writers–kids who aren’t intimidated by the blank page and brave mothers–moms who feel that they have what it takes to teach writing.

The Writer’s Jungle takes mothers through a step-by-step investigation of the writing process using exercises and writing assignments. First, the chapter teaches a writing principle to the homeschooling parent and then the parent, in turn, teaches the principle to her children using games and exercises. These exercises build on each other until the student completes a satisfying writing project. Once mom and child have walked through the process together, this approach to writing will be used for any writing project they choose.

Chapter 1 focuses on language arts practices that create a language rich environment in your home. The processes of copywork and dictation are laid out in detail including new tactics for dictation not seen elsewhere. Additionally, The Writer’s Jungle explores literary elements that are readily found in quality literature but are often overlooked by parents who are not used to noticing them and pointing them out to their children.

Chapter 2 begins with the principles of communication. Rather than leading your child directly to the page, we begin with a white board, marker and conversation. Kids discover how important the selection of apt words are to the power of their communication in speaking, let alone in writing.

Chapter 3 explores the importance of keenly observing the subject or object for writing. Probing questions helps the student explore a concrete object using all five senses, yielding rich language, metaphor and insight that is not as easily discovered through those “descriptive paragraph” assignments. Students are free to directly interact with the object, using spoken language to access their observations before jotting them down.

Chapter 4 introduces a key practice in the Brave Writer lifestyle: freewriting. This is the chapter where parents learn how to set up their children for success in developing their writing voices.

Chapter 5 helps you discover tools to help them help their children overcome writer’s block. It’s not enough to ask them to write or to tell them how. We must also know how to identify and remove the barriers to writing. Chapter five gives parents more than information. It offers practical tips and tools for getting to the heart of the writing anxiety that your child experiences.

Chapter six introduces a method for narrowing the scope of those overwhelming writing assignments that expect kids to “write a paragraph on the Civil War.”

Chapters seven, eight and nine take you step-by step through the revision and editing phases of writing. They help you to know how to identify specific strengths, what to do with weaknesses, and how to create realistic expectations for your child’s writing. The power of delivering the final writing to an audience is also explored.

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