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Jump In: A Workbook for Reluctant and Eager Writers Review by Dawn Oaks

By Sharon Watson
Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc.
1106 Meridian Plaza, Suite 220
Anderson, IN 46016

Jump In: A Workbook for Reluctant and Eager Writers is a writing curriculum geared toward middle and high school students that can be applied over a one- to two-year period. Although designed for this age level, it can easily be used with upper elementary students as well. The course is complete with both a student workbook and a teacher's manual included.

During the course of study, students will gain experience in writing opinion essays, persuasive essays, various types of expository writing, a descriptive essay, poetry, and a narrative essay. Each writing style is presented in a very informal, non-threatening way directly in the student workbook. Graphics, color, and font size are very skillfully employed to make the text feel fun for the learner. The students are presented with planning tools for each writing project. A step-by-step guide is provided with extensive examples to consider and modify before writing your own. A wonderful help in the back of the student book is the section called "Your Locker." This special addition contains many helpful writing tools, checklists, and guides for the different writing styles. What a wonderful reference for any young writer!

Likewise, there are an array of writing techniques and strategies contained in the teacher's manual to assist any homeschooling parent. Although not broken down by grade level, there are guidelines provided to help you grade your student's writing assignments. The author provides examples of work that would warrant the different grades in a traditional, A, B, C, D, or F grading system.

This course can almost feel like two courses in one. As detailed above, the student will be given tools and asked to write papers according to various styles. In addition, the teacher's manual contains a full year's worth of 10-Minute Writing Plunges. These short snippets are used as ideas for quick ten-minute creative writing exercises. Each week contains four writing plunges or themes for creative writing on Monday through Thursday of each week. On Friday, the student is to choose one of those to revise, proofread, and make a published copy. The writing plunges can be used as a year-long creative writing curriculum or interspersed between writing styles taught in the student text.

All in all, Jump In: A Workbook for Reluctant and Eager Writers is a wonderful writing curriculum, and it certainly upholds the quality that Apologia is so well known for.

Product review by: Dawn Oaks, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2008