Brave Writer mom, Kim, writes:
What a difference Brave Writer has made for us! It is not just a writing curriculum, but an entire language arts philosophy and routine, one that we plan to stick with all the way through.
We found Brave Writer after our daughter’s first grade year. In first grade, we followed the language arts recommendations of another curriculum we were using and were sorely disappointed. Our daughter, who loved to read and didn’t mind handwriting, began to hate language arts. It was her least favorite subject. We knew something was wrong and began searching for an alternative.
We are so grateful that we found Brave Writer! We have used it for 2nd and 3rd grade now, and will use it for her upcoming 4th grade year along with the Quiver of Arrows for our son in 1st grade.
Over the years, we have purchased the Writer’s Jungle (fantastic resource!), Jot it Down (really helped me get the feel of an effective language arts routine & writing projects for lower elementary), many individual Arrow guides (we typically use 9 per year), and new this year, the Quiver of Arrows for 1st-2nd graders.
Being a speech therapist on the side when I’m not teaching my kids, I know a thing or two about speech and language development. I know that kids learn to speak well when they are exposed to good speech models and a rich language environment. And so Brave Writer’s natural approach to writing makes so much sense to me. Children will learn to be great writers when they are regularly exposed to models of great writing and a language rich environment.
Reading great writing (exemplified by the book titles chosen for the Arrow of Boomerang guides) and following the routines of copywork, dictation, French dictation (copy work that is fill-in-the-blank style in places to target tricky spelling words or punctuation), and reverse dictation (unique editing exercises), weekly Freewriting exercises to get their ideas flowing on paper, monthly writing projects, and our favorite, weekly poetry tea times, are the backbone of this approach.
Julie Bogart has so much wisdom to impart, and what makes her approach unique is that she herself is a professional writer. She gets what it takes to be a great writer in the real world, and rather than bogging kids down with worksheets and endless grammar exercises, each Arrow guide comes with grammar notes for each copy work/dictation passage, so you can address grammar naturally as it comes up, and each Arrow guide focuses on a key literary element that makes great writing—similes and metaphors, imagery, viewpoint, alliteration, etc.—and has a writing exercise to allow kids to practice it in their own writing.
But the proof is found in our kids. This will be our second child’s first year with Brave Writer, but all 3 of our kids have benefited from our language arts routine—even our youngest, having just turned 3, has been known to wander the house reciting bits of poetry she heard during poetry tea time. Language Arts may not be our daughter’s favorite subject yet—she loves history, science, & art—but she still loves to read, willingly participates in writing, and is able to effectively express her ideas through writing. And she’s learned to love poetry and even write some original poems on her own just for fun.
I’d call that a success.