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Writing and Rhetoric: Book 3: Narrative II Review by Heather Aliano

Paul Koriepeter
Classical Academic Press
2151 Market Street
Camp Hill, PA 17011

Writing and Rhetoric: Book 3: Narrative II, from Classical Academic Press, is based on the "progymnamata," an ancient method of teaching writing. The idea is this: your child reads great pieces of writing. They soak up these words, the sentence formation, the poetry of a beautifully written piece, and then the imitate them. They learn to write by playing with already written works, and then progress into writing more and more complex pieces of their own. It's really a wonderful way to learn to write! For this review I was sent book three: Narrative II from the Writing & Rhetoric series.

In Narrative II, students are building on the knowledge they have gained from the first two books of the series. In book one, students work with Fables. In book two, they begin to work with longer stories (oftentimes, parables) and the students develop their descriptive writing skills. Narrative two builds on this, adding in additional practice with plot, dialogue and description.

Writing and Rhetoric teaches writing in a creative, kid-friendly way. I love that the program focuses on one story at a time, and gives my kids a chance to dig into the stories. They don't just read them, they take the time to look at the word choices used, to look at the structure, and to think deeply about how the passage was put together.

Each week, your child will read a story, and then they'll work with that story to learn grammar concepts, literary elements, and writing skills. This is a teacher led program, so you'll need to sit down and work with your child through the book. We've had the best results when we sit down together, and talked through the lesson. I am always amazed with the level of the conversation, and the interesting things my child comes up with as he thinks about what the passage means and why the author wrote it the way they did.

When your child sits down to write, they'll often take the original passage, and then spend some time brainstorming different ways of approaching it. Sometimes, they'll be instructed to make the passage longer, by adding more details, by expanding the dialogue, or by using their imaginations to come up with alternate endings. Other times, they'll rewrite the story from an alternative point of view, switching from the protagonist to the antagonist. They may summarize the story, write their own fables, or do another writing exercise.

Narrative II also includes instruction on outlining. I love that they program eases into outlining- after your child has learned to read and think about the passages, they learn how to work these stories into working outlines. As they learn to deconstruct the passages into outlines, they'll be able to translate these skills into their other schoolwork, to take notes from science or history readings.

My ten year old loves this series. This is the first program we have used for writing that is done without complaint. He really enjoys the stories, and is happy to do the writing exercises. I am impressed with the quality of work he is producing during his lessons.

-Product review by Heather Aliano, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, June, 2016