Rhetoric anyone? Do you know how to write a skillful, artistic and persuasive speech? Introducing Persuasive Writing & Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of Great Writers by Silverdale Press LLC. Learning to think persuasively with great speeches from the past. Come read our review.
You see that boy in my opening image? That would be my son. He’s just about to explain to me what he thinks of John F. Kennedy’s speech about the space program. This time of discussion has been a blessing in our household over the past few weeks. Silverdale Press’s, Persuasive Writing & Classical Rhetoric program has been a boon to our household.
Who is Silverdale Press?
Silverdale Press was founded by Joshua and Jill Hummer. Their aim is to help middle and high school students cultivate knowledge and improve their skill sets. In that quest they aim to teach the ways of great leaders, writers, thinkers, and citizens.
How is the course set up?
I received four PDF’s from Silverdale Press
- Rhetoric Answer Book
- Rhetoric Lesson Book
- Rhetoric Reader
- Rhetoric Workbook
The Lesson Book sets out a schedule to follow weekly. There are 36 lessons divided into five sections. Each lesson is designed to be completed in one week. The five sections are introduction, invention, arrangement, style, and conclusion.
Each lesson in the workbook spelled out each of these steps specifically. The lessons include topics such as Stasis theory, emotional appeals, taking notes and developing a reading list. People studied vary from John Locke to John F. Kennedy to E.B. White.
Setting reading goals had my son doing something he normally doesn’t do (though I’ve been trying to encourage for the past two years) but having it as part of a lesson seems to have spurred him on. “Mom, I have a list of books that I want to read though they aren’t the type that Kennedy would read. I want to read “The Hobbit” “Harry Potter” and “Lord of the Rings”. ” Did you catch that? NOT ones that Kennedy would read (see… he remembers!!!!!) AND he came up with a list of books that he wants to read for himself. I totally call that a win!
What books would you put on this list?
There are massive amounts of pages in these ebooks, The lesson book 235, workbook 202, answer book 65, and reader 111. You can choose to print it all off or print off only what you need to. At this point, I’ve been printing the speeches and the review questions only.
Each week finishes off with an essay challenge based on a major point of the speech reviewed. “Give me ______ or give me death”. “We Choose to ________” By the end of the 36 week study you’ll have received lessons in what real writers do, how to pitch your work and handling rejection. The aim is to produce better writers, and writers want to be published. 🙂
How did we use it?
This is a high-school level course and my son is a rising eight grade student. This meant I adapted the program to suit our needs.
The first lesson we broke over two weeks. Taking time to thoroughly discuss the speech we were given. We learned new words, figured out what rhetoric was, and just talked. We talked while feeding our rabbits, and going for a walk, this wasn’t a sit down and think about it lesson…this was an on-going discussion for us. Part of the requirements was to write an 500 word essay. I simply told my lad, write an essay based on the prompt. I’ll write one too and then we’ll talk about each others essays. Admittedly this was HARD for my lad. Coming up with something to write about (even with a prompt) and then figuring out how to write the essay… tough job. I walked him through how I was writing my essay and from that he was able to put something together but wasn’t happy with it and actually wanted to totally rewrite it.
Surgery happened. The essay got put to the wayside. I started to work my way through lesson two, discovering something wonderful. My lad didn’t want me to work through it on my own. He wanted to continue to chat with me. Since he wasn’t allowed (Doctor’s orders) to do school for two weeks I put it on hold. For the past two weeks we’ve been talking about Kennedy’s space speech. All this discussion and coming up with ideas. It’s been a hoot. Could you imagine a world with all self-driven cars?
I’m not requiring an essay from him at this point. We’ve decided that for now, we will just discuss the speeches, we’ll learn new terminology and do the lessons, but mom will write an essay, and the lad will critique and together we’ll make it the best we can. The lad will talk about an idea he has, and the arguments he would use to persuade his audience of its merits. For instance the lesson on Patrick Henry had him discussing with parents the merits of a good video game and how it doesn’t rot your brain.
Our plans are to work our way through each lesson (taking a couple of weeks to do so) over the next year or so.. and then when the lad is in grade 10 we’ll do the course again, this time with an essay requirement being part of it. When we do so, I will make full use of the answer key which provides correct answers and a rubric for the essays.
This highschool level class has been a lot of fun to work through with my seventh grade student. We are far from done, but we are looking forward to our next lessons. My son wanted me to assure parents with grade seven and eight students to not be afraid to get this course. It’s alot of fun to talk about ideas, and to try to figure out ways to make an essay or speech more persuasive. Silverdale Press has produced a stellar program with their Persuasive Writing & Classical Rhetoric class. It’s been very good to be about practicing the habits of great writers. As a parent I liked how they organized all their workbooks and setting out a good way to approach it. It helped me to break down a bit more for my lad. The side benefit is that I am learning as well. This is an excellent course for parents wanting to increase their skills as well.
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Rhetoric, Persuasive writing, Speech
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