Customer Review

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Directions/Expectations are not clear, not enough examples., February 1, 2012
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This review is from: Writing Strands, Level 3 (Paperback)
I really wanted to like this book, especially with all the positive reviews. However, my 4th grade son ends up crying with every assignment and I'm frustrated that neither of us have a clear and concise idea of what is to be done each day. He's a fantastic reader, very articulate, and is in 8th grade spelling this year. His grammar is on cue, his understanding is great. So where's the problem?

1) There are very few FULL examples of the assignment. If you are supposed to write about what you see outside, they may give an example of an apple tree, mailbox, and swing-set. When they show you how to expand the description of that object, they use a whole other object, describing how the chain has worn the grass of in front of the dog house. I don't know how to tell my son that, really, 'dog house' should have been on the list. It's just never 100% helpful and that leaves a lot of room for error. This is especially a problem if I have an appointment and someone else has to help him with his assignment (Nana and myself are both college graduates, but it doesn't seem to help!).

2)There are no clear-cut directions for assignments. It will say, "think about," "you'll write," "make a," or "try to." Not simply "Write xyz today." I agree it's more like a conversation, but sometimes black and white is helpful. Directions aren't highlighted, numbered or even set apart in a box. You get to Day 2 (or 4 or 7) and it tells you exactly what I mentioned. "Think of a....explain why...try to...don't..." You could assume that it's all to be written, but that approach doesn't work either. For a few weeks, I highlighted the directions so he knew what to do, but now that papers and stories are longer, the lack of examples leaves him more flustered than educated.

I don't hate this book and for the artistic child and parent, it may be perfect. I didn't buy the teacher's manual because I was told I didn't need one. That was my mistake. However, I feel like my son needs to be able to go back to the directions and the examples as a reference, which would still be an issue even if I had the teacher's manual.
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