DISCLAIMER: I received this product free through the Homeschool Review Crew
420 pages. Just think for a moment. How thorough do you think a Handbook for Writers could be? Let me tell you, how through two main sections, why you need this resource in your schoolroom. You will find Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers a very thorough treatise from Everyday Education. Let’s learn more about it.
What I am Reviewing
Janice Campbell from Everyday Education has put together a very thorough Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers. Not only does your student learn how to write, but you as teacher are taught how to grade their work. Such a helpful book to own.
It is available for $39. I received my copy as a PDF which I downloaded to my computer and put on a thumbdrive for my son. This way it was easily accessible for both of us. Normally I would send it out for printing, and I’m still considering doing that, but at 420 pages it’s a bit more than I currently want to do. 🙂 My son is not in a rush for me to do so as I tell him what page and section to look at, on the drive, when I’m having him correct his own work.
Everyday Education is run by Janice Campbell. She has a passion for helping high school students develop the skills they need to write university-ready essays. Her love for literature has led her to create a five-year program, self-directed program introducing the great books of literature. The Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers is a necessary part of this course.
What you Get in Handbook for Writers
- Some Simple First Principles,
- Setting Up The Argument: Definition,
- Defining Key Terms,
- Deduction & Induction,
- Organizing The Main Body Of An Argument,
- Paragraph Structure,
- Paragraph Functions,
- Writing Arguments About Literary Works,
- Sample Outlines For Essays And Research Papers,
- Critical Approaches to Shakespeare,
- Some Criteria for Making Literary Evaluations.
- Phrases, Clauses, Sentences
- Basic Punctuation
- Parallelism Or Parallel Structure
- Clarity, Logic, Structure
- Modifiers, Gerunds, Infinitives
- References And Bibliographies.
- Basic Format for Essays and Research Papers.
- Keyhole Essay Graphic
I can see so many ways to use this large resource
As a reference manual. With its very clear table of contents, it would be so easy to look up a particular area and refine your skills.
As a textbook. One could simply read it, learn the skills, and then test one’s ability to put them to use.
As a method of self-correction. If a teacher marks a section as incorrect in your essay, you could use this manual to learn how to write better.
How Did I Use Handbook for Writers?
My goal for this Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers was to use it to mark essays my son was doing for another course. That was the goal. Honestly, it didn’t turn out that way. Best laid plans of mice and men… don’t always pan out.
Instead, I asked my lad for some essays he has already written that I simply didn’t get around to marking yet. This eased the pressure on both my lad and myself, in a time when Covid is starting to mess with our minds. Seriously. Too much lockdown, not enough getting out, it’s been a battle. AND these essays needed to be marked anyways! 🙂
My goal with reviewing the Handbook for Writers was to have a helpful tool in grading my son’s written work. I loved all the how-to’s for grammar, punctuation, word usage, etc. It meant that I looked at my son’s work and a sentence would make me frown wondering why I knew it wasn’t written well, I could go to the specific section in the handbook and figure out why.
It was wonderfully helpful to say, third paragraph, you had some trouble. Go to section —— and see if you can figure out where you went wrong. Correct it for me, please. It gave him the specific assistance that he needed. THIS is the beauty of having a PDF copy. Occasionally I spared him the effort of looking up the section and simply sent a screenshot for him. Honestly… he MUCH preferred it when I did this. 🙂
When I mark a students’ work I make a point of not pointing out EVERYTHING they have done wrong. I don’t want to be a point of discouragement, but want to overtime, have their skills improve. So I’ll point out different concerns in different paragraphs.
Sometimes my lad will ask “why did you do it here, but not here?” My response is “well in this paragraph it was glaringly obvious, this paragraph, this other issue leapt out at me. Well done in spotting it yourself.” Overtime, he’s improving, which honestly… is my goal. 🙂
In the paragraph above I referred my lad to the section on phrases, use of commas etc.
From that, he was able to spot his incorrect use of a comma and changed a couple of his sentences so they read better.
I love having a resource that helps my son learn how to correct his own work. To be able to say, go to this resource, this section, so you can figure out what you can do better. 95% of the time that was all the help he needed. The rest of the time, we’d have a discussion about it and he’d understand. An excellent resource for us.
What I wanted to dig into
One of the sections I most looked forward to reading through was Some Criteria for Making Literary Evaluations. I found this article well-written, articulate, and made me ask questions. I don’t know if I agree with all the sentiments expressed, but I appreciated the fundamental need to judge a work according to the type of work it is. So to not judge a dramatic work as if it were a comedy.
Would I add anything?
As a Canadian, the only thing I can see to make the Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers better would be add a “Canadian particularities” section. This section would focus on our Canadian spelling and grammar as it differs from American usage. This would make it a truly North American resource.
Should you Get Handbook for Writers?
You will find this a very thorough work with 420 pages. It is available as a paperback or as PDF ebook for $39.
You can use it with any literature or writing program, but has been designed to go well with the other offerings from Everyday Education. This well-written work will serve your students well as they move into higher education.
Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers is everything you need to round out your high school literature courses! With specific examples, attention to niggly details, well-developed table of contents, and an easy-to-read format it’s a winner to go on your resource shelf.
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28 members of the review crew have been privileged to look at the Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers. I urge you to read what others had to say about Everyday Education.