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Building Writing Skills: Level 1 Review by Renita Kuehner

Noreen Conte
Published by: The Critical Thinking Company
1991 Sherman Ave. Suite 200
North Bend, OR 97459

Writing is not an easy subject to teach. Plus, for many students, it’s also not the most exciting. So that makes it even more difficult since you need to work on building up the child’s excitement for this subject. We had the opportunity to review Building Writing Skills: Level 1 from The Critical Thinking Company. 

Written for students in Grades 3-5, Building Writing Skills Level 1 introduces students to five styles of writing, including narrative (both personal and story), opinion, and informative. 

Each style of writing is introduced with a suggested reading list. Your student can then read examples of the specific writing style they are learning about. This is wonderful for students, that even reading about the definition and style of writing, may not firmly grasp what it means. The stories are all age/grade appropriate.

Building Writing Skills: Level 1 can actually be done by some students as an independent subject. Each section of a writing style is clearly written with an explanation about the style of writing. Students are taught the steps of writing, including prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and how to share their story (publishing). 

Each section includes questions to reinforce the information. Also has checklists for your student to follow as they are creating. At first, your student will be reading, proofing, and editing a sample story written by a “peer.” But the next part of the section includes your student’s own work. Building Writing Skills: Level 1 takes them through each step with outlines in worksheet format for them to create their own stories.

My daughter and I have been using Building Writing Skills: Level 1 for a few weeks now. She loves to type up stories but does not enjoy the other steps of writing, including editing/revising. Not only does this book help to introduce four different writing styles, but shows how easy each of these steps can actually be. Using the 5-step writing process, Building Writing Skills: Level 1 has taken the overwhelming task of the written story and broken it down into easily manageable and understandable skills that students can understand.

We have made our way almost through the entire book now, and it has been a great addition to our homeschool. Building Writing Skills: Level 1 has done a wonderful job introducing children to the various writing styles. The writing checklists are easy to understand. They are also reusable if your child wants to use them as a guide for writing another story on their own.

Building Writing Skills: Level 1 written by Noreen Conte and published by The Critical Thinking Company is a resource that we will continue to use with the children. You can purchase Building Writing Skills: Level 1 printed format for $12.99. This is definitely a budget-friendly writing curriculum to get your student introduced to the various styles of writing.

I plan on using Building Writing Skills: Level 1 with both our boys who struggle with writing skills. They are both older than the recommended age and have special needs. But the easy-to-understand format will work out great for them. I definitely recommend this with any family. I plan to move Lydia to another of The Critical Thinking Company writing books when we have finished this. The ease of use and the easy ability for her to understand the material makes planning and lessons easy for both her and myself.

-Product review by Renita Kuehner, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, June 2017