Language Arts Programs
Brave Writer has a distinct philosophy about language arts. The best way to grow in grammar, spelling, syntax, literary elements, writing style, and vocabulary is to read great writing conscientiously.
Let me repeat that.
We believe in reading great writing conscientiously.
That means that we believe in reading (everything and anything, even the back of cereal boxes, billboards and toothpaste tubes). We believe that reading leads to an internalized grammatical “sense” which helps kids to know what “sounds right” and what is wrong and what is deliberately crafted for effect.
Still, reading can be enhanced and may offer further benefits if we pay attention to it and comment on it. There is plenty of benefit from reading alone. There is more benefit if you spend a little time to linger on the literary elements, to notice the grammar, to enjoy the humor or irony and to understand how it functions.
The Arrow, the Boomerang and back issues of the Slingshot are designed to support those goals. They aren’t created as comprehensive grammar or spelling programs. The aims are much less codified and systematized. These programs give you a feeling of sitting on the couch with someone who enjoys good writing and helps you to see what can be seen in it. Over time, you and your kids will start noticing alliteration or rhyme, beautiful descriptions or powerful verbs yourselves in the reading you do on your own.
We have not yet posted the Boomerang book list for this year. We will do it at the latest, next week. Subscriptions are monthly. We provide you with access to a monthly issue on the website and the payments are collected monthly through paypal (or you can pay for a semester or year at a time in one lump sum – details to come). Each issue is $9.95. We begin taking new subscriptions for the fall at the end of July. So relax. There is much more information to come.
I get a ton of feedback about the Arrow and the Boomerang. Moms and kids love these programs because they are so easy to use and really do give you a manageable amount of material to digest each week (without overdoing it).
I’ll be posting two updated free copies (one Arrow and one Boomerang) later today (or tomorrow if I can’t get it done… I’ve got dinner for 25 to prepare for tonight down at the Obama campaign HQ in our town).
Hey Julie, this question is kind of related I think. My son Joshua is 13 and I’d like to introduce him to other genres of writing and I’m looking a guideline/plan or something to use next year. Do you have any thoughts on this, is there any reference in particular about genres in The Writers Jungle (I have a copy just too lazy to look right now, I’m in summer mode too). Thanks! It’s a question that’s been rumbling around in my head and I just haven’t felt like I have a plan/purpose in place yet for that and was wondering what your thoughts were. LOVE your philosophy by the way, we love Bravewriter all the way!!
I don’t talk about how to write to the specific genres in the WJ mostly because that information exists for free all over the Internet. Google “narrative paragraph” and you are sure to find the basic principles and guidelines that help you to know what one is.
As far as genre writing is concerned, I like to see what the raw writing indicates and edit/revise accordingly. Or if the goal is to write fiction or an essay, then what I like kids to do is to read in that genre, then freewrite, then apply the format by comparing the raw writing to the structure that was used as a model (or the guidelines you’ve found). Edit and shape accordingly (I do explain some of this in the WJ in the revision chapter).
The Help for High School deals more specifically in formats.