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Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
Hands-On Essays
Format: Paperback|Change
Price:$13.95+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on April 19, 2016
I have used this book both for tutoring writing and for my 5th grade English class. Some of the accompanying videos on the website are a little silly/corny,which students complained about, but they remembered them, which I guess was the point :) I really appreciated the sample essays in the book, which were actually written by students. Overall this was a great basic program for introducing different kinds of essays and giving students an easily remembered tool (using their hand) to approach any kind of writing.
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on September 5, 2013
On the first day of school my son thumbed through the entire book with interest. He has had a class with Bonita so he knew this was going to be an awesome book. It is written in an easy format with lots of "hands-on" experiences. I love the videos that accompany it. Thanks for such a great resource!
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on January 2, 2017
The best curriculum out there IMHO and I have been homeschooling a long time: A no fuss way to really learn English Series: A must own for homeschoolers
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on April 23, 2015
This book looks really good. I'm going to buy the other two as well. This author is fantastic and covered all bases in writing!
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on October 1, 2015
Clear instructions, step by step.
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on March 15, 2015
It is a good starting point for anyone who is completely clueless on how to teach simple writing.
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on October 16, 2014
Thank you Mrs. Lillie for writing an essay book that is easy to follow but yet not intimidating and keeping the price at an affordable cost! In this 89 page book, Mrs. Lillie show step-by-step how to write an essay directly to students. Her videos are very engaging and (as a bonus!) are on her website to view for free. She eliminates you having to buy a dvd of the videos. I found a reference to this essay book quite by accident on an online forum. I looked to the internet for info and didn't quite find out all I needed to until I got this book in in my hands so I thought I'd write a detailed review. All I had read online in that forum was how it helped other students and had overwhelmingly positive reviews.

She clearly in the student section lists how to use the curriculum and she has 16 lessons that cover: hands-on-essays demonstration, Know your audience, choosing a topic, outlining the essay, hooking the reader, creating a thesis statement, developing the body of the essay, writing the conclusion, descriptive essays, comparing/contrasting essays, persuasive essays, developing your writing style, understanding prompts, timed writing, the wrap up. Also she has writing ideas, resources for research topics and a proofreading checklist.

In the parent/evaluator section she has: How to evaluate writing, lesson by lesson evaluations, suggested essay assignments

Just today I was at a college planning conference and heard from 3 different college recruiters/admissions officer state how important writing was and also timed writing at the high school level. One admissions director for a highly regarded private college's dual enrollment office said that they went by ACT score and writing alone for admission for high schoolers and dual enrollment. That was it. If you are not comfortable teaching writing, a book like this can help especially for the ACT or SAT writing portions.

I have tried many writing programs and this one has short, concise lessons and we are using it in our 11th grade year just for our essay writing portion. I can see how a younger student can use this and get a wonderful foundation and how an older student can use it for a quick essay class. Of course, we use other English resources for 11th grade, but this one is a keeper and a delightful course. The book is not "too thick" for the student to dread and the videos are great. Hopefully this review will help others who are looking for info on it.
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on July 29, 2013
The mere mention of writing an essay can send most students into a state of apoplexy. Having to take the time to think through, organize and pen your thoughts in a cohesive manner is honestly hard work. I would dare say that the homework assignment most procrastinated is that which involves composition. And to sit through boring lectures on the necessity and drill of writing can make the project just that much more intimidating. But not with Hands on Essays by Bonita Lillie.

Using the fingers and thumb (hence the title of the book), Ms. Lillie helps students remember the basic structure of the standard five-paragraph essay: the opening paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a closing paragraph. This material will walk the student through putting together a thesis statement, which then basically forms the outline for the three body paragraphs. Learning how to "hook" your reader, "knowing your audience," and the importance of revision are just a few more of the important lessons addressed in this book. A worthy treatment, this book will cover almost any essay type the student may encounter such as expository, descriptive, compare/contrast, persuasive, and narrative. Offering sixteen lessons, this material could be used easily in a semester or spread out over an entire school year.

A self-paced program (although this could easily be used with a class), this curriculum has much more to offer than just dry reading material. The lessons start off with a short video that can easily be accessed online. The video content is concise, informative, and even entertaining. Using costumes, props, and changes of scenery for each lesson, Ms. Lillie is able to make her point and make it stick. This interactive feature would be a wonderful change of pace for students who struggle with staying motivated or paying attention, as it helps keep the material from becoming dry. Like the lessons presented in the book, the material is not in any way cumbersome or overwhelming. Ms. Lillie keeps it short, sweet and to-the-point without sacrificing any information the student will need to be a successful writer. Her enthusiasm is evident in the videos as well as in the book, and I think this enthusiasm could be catching. Not many composition books can achieve that combination well, but it is here that Ms. Lillie succeeds.

The age groups that will benefit most from this material, of course, is middle school and high school. Using it for middle school will give a very good foundation for high school essay writing. If taking that approach, then after that I would recommend Frode Jensen's Format Writing for high school for even more intense, college prep work in the area of composition. If using Hands on Essays for high school, the student will surely still be well-prepared for college prep writing, and the standard essay is a necessary requirement for a good start in college freshman composition. Finally, Hands on Essays includes preparation for the timed-writing section of the SAT or ACT, rounding out the material nicely.

Extras that make this book appealing are the many examples and hands-on activities given in each lesson that show the student how to apply what has been taught. Many topic ideas for each type of essay taught are included. A section for parents/instructors is given on how to evaluate the student's writing, all given in a clear, easy-to-follow, lesson-by-lesson format. For even more help, there is a blog as well as an online newsletter that give writing tips and ideas for composition, including how to use the day's (or week's) current events as topics.

I'm pleased to give a five-star rating to Bonita Lillie's Hands on Essays. Taking what can be a confusing and overwhelming subject and making it interesting (and at an affordable price!) deserves the rating. Well done and highly recommended!
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