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Put That in Writing

by Steve and Shari Barrett

Reviewed by Martha Robinson

Purchase details: Put That in Writing, Level One, Mastering the Paragraph by Steve and Shari Barrett. Spiral bound student book $54.95, loose-leaf Answer Key and Tests, $7.50. Available from Barretts' Book Shelf.

Steve and Shari Barrett wrote Put That in Writing after many years of homeschooling their sons and teaching composition in co-ops and seminars. Targeting seventh to twelfth graders, the program assumes that the student has a firm foundation in grammar concepts. Level one covers writing a high-quality paragraph of seven to ten sentences or more. A future volume will address the five paragraph essay.

Put That in Writing, Level One has a day-by-day list of activities broken into thirty-six weeks. Each week begins with a lesson, a concise listing of points to learn and use during the week. Daily lessons specify which part of the text to read, drills (grammar, style, and formality points), and exercises.

The text begins at a basic level with information such as types of sentences; the purpose of writing and what kind of paragraph achieves the purpose; and brainstorming for ideas. Checklists provide reminders for structure and style, as more elements such as descriptive words, word order, and figurative language are introduced. The authors continue to build on this foundation with an explanation of proper ways to document research in a paragraph and by introducing and practicing different types of paragraphs: narrative, definition, process (directions), comparison/contrast.

The Barretts teach the student how to evaluate, edit, and improve his own writing. Many example paragraphs illustrate both good and poor writing to help the student understand. Timed writing exercises allow him to prepare for standardized testing or college English courses. Grading forms in the appendix give a more objective way to evaluate the paragraph and assign a grade.

Answer Key and Tests

The answer key includes detailed answers to every exercise. Multiple choice and short answer questions are on the five quizzes and the final exam.

Recommendation: Put That in Writing offers an outstanding, step-by-step program for learning excellent writing skills. Parents may easily work along with the students in this simple, low-stress format. Example paragraphs are particularly helpful in the learning process. Whether used for a primary writing program or as a supplement, Put That in Writing will be a wise investment for all homeschoolers of middle school and high school ages. resources related to this review:'s Language Arts Resources Section for tons of ideas, links, and more!
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