What people say about Excellence in Writing courses and materials.
Teachers & Administrators
Hello! I am a 6th grade public school teacher who stumbled onto IEW last spring while I was searching
for the elusive "perfect writing program." After starting it with my class late last school year, I
noticed tremendous improvement in not only their ability to write, but in their willingness to do so.
I'm going to start from scratch with my new class come this September and take them through as much of the
IEW program as they'll put up with. :) I'll let you know how it goes. Please be patient with me since I've
been trained in what appears to be the opposite method that this program advocates. But, hey, you can't argue
It has been so exciting watching my students grow this year, and boy, do I feel more competent! Several of my students have remarked that their older siblings think their writing sounds like high school level. What a big boost for their self esteem. I found my best students were beginning to vary their sentence starters without any instruction. I'm looking forward to starting out with your materials next year. Thanks for everything.
5th Grade Teacher
Midway through this past school year, I adjusted my lesson plans to incorporate this curriculum. My 7th grade students caught on very quickly and their writing improved almost overnight.
Port Angeles, WA teacher
I'm thoroughly impressed with the organization, content & usefulness of this program. Thanks a million for a day well spent.
Valerie Larson, Teacher
Coeur d'Alene, ID
Anything comparable? There's nothing out there that's even comparable to this for teaching children to write. The bite-sized, well-sequenced units are just right for elementary children...encourages creativity by giving them a form in which to express their ideas.
Makes it easy for kids to produce quality work and feel very successful.
We have had many in-services over the past years, but this, without question, was not only one of the most practical, but was also the most well received by teachers. Everyone wants you back.
Great Stuff! I believe it will help comprehension, one of our low areas. The children love it. Thanks for making my job less difficult and more enjoyable.
Resource Center Teacher
I teach developmental writing at a two-year college in the Houston area. I am so excited about what I learned at the workshop. My students need this information. I have taken many graduate writing classes but haven't found anything as practical and helpful for my students. Thanks!
When I arrived at class and you started to tell "lawyer" jokes, I knew it would be more interesting than I had anticipated. The paragraph checklists and style charts, which are now tacked to my bulletin board, make all the difference in my writing. I thank you for traveling such a long way just to teach us how to write. I appreciate it.
I am so grateful I took this class! I have always disliked writing because it was never really clear what I should do. Your exact way of teaching us will be a benefit to me forever, I'm sure. Thanks again.
Your student workshop was great. It was the first time I really liked writing. I never would have learned a "which" clause or a key word outline. Thank you for making the tapes. I learned a lot of things.
This program is superbly excellent! I am still pinching myself. Surely the "Fun" police are going to show up on our doorsteps soon and arrest us for enjoying ourselves too much!
Here we are, in the middle of unit 3 and my son (high school senior) says, "Mom, you know all those journal entries about our trip to Colorado last year? We ought to write them out." Well, I check and find that Unit VII is where we can learn to do that, and I get on the Yahoo! forum and go to files and find all sorts of wonderful ideas. I think we may just put together a "newspaper" complete with five-paragraph articles, and ads for some of the places we visited but wouldn't want to write entire essays on! WE CAN DO THIS! Yipee! Praise the Lord! Thank you Mr. Pudewa! Thank you Jill our moderator and thanks to all who have contributed to the IEW Families eloop!!
The most amazing thing to watch is how my senior-son went from reluctant writer to a very verbose, flowery writer almost overnight!!! After reading one of his first attempts, my mom told him he should be a lawyer! I knew he had it in him. The problem was releasing all those good thoughts onto paper. IEW has been a real God-send, and a marvelous, refreshing delight!
In the Name of Him to Whom we must give account,
My 5th grade son is my reluctant writer. I am AMAZED at his response to the program. Having an "original work" from which to begin has set him free from the paralysis of not knowing what to write, which has produced many, many tears in the last few years. He is now motivated by "mediocre" fiction as a
starting document, to "do better than the original"- a competitive boy thing I gather- ha.
This week he wrote the longest piece he has ever voluntarily written, and by far the longest piece he's ever done with NO help from me. The norm to this point has been that every sentence is like pulling teeth and what I hear most is a tearful "I don't know" in response to my questions designed to inspire.
Yesterday was the cake topper. I was on the verge of (happy) tears. I had dreaded introducing the concept of rewrites. Anytime I've ever done so in the past, he has broken down completely, and bucked it hard. He's just flatly opposed to REdoing somethign he's worked hard on ;-) I had even determined NOT to require rewrites of him for awhile. I was going to let the "summarizing" go on extensively with him.
I started my oldest on her first rewrite, started the youngest on some copy work, and approached him to read his work together. I sat DUMBFOUNDED as this child who "hates writing" tore into his own work, gleefully self-motivated to make it "even better". He hardly noticed I was there as he wrote furiously, saying things like, "Oooh! Oooh! Oh, Mom- I'm gonna ditch the whole thing about the bear licking his face and
instead... That'd be even better!"
I almost cried. The difference? DOUBLE SPACING. The simple concept of double spacing means he doesn't have to erase, and that's all it took. Who'd have thought?
I have been kicking myself ever since I was in your class in Portland on Friday, and have been kicking myself ever since for not going two years ago when I first heard about it! It was wonderful. I began on Monday morning with my 10 and 12 year old children and I have already seen results I could not have imagined.
I attended your seminar in Boise. I was absolutely inspired. I introduced the curriculum to my 4th grade daughter immediately. Upon completing her first paragraph, including two dress-ups, she wrapped her arms around my waist and, with tears in her eyes, thanked me for taking your class. This curriculum is an answer to our prayers!
Our latest Houston Video workshop was a smashing success! In the words of one mom that I spoke with yesterday, "My son said, 'Mom, I want to do writing every day!'"
Video Seminar Presenter
...for the first time in our home school experience, we are actually seeing growth and progress in his writing! The biggest blessing, however, comes from seeing him growing in confidence in a stress-free environment. When my "hands are off content," my suggestions aren't perceived as an attack on his personality. When I am only adding on the "rules of the game" (which is what I call the dress ups, etc.) and adjusting for grammar, I am freed up to be his biggest cheerleader instead of his biggest critic! He seems to like the idea that his isn't expected to come up with it all on his own, and he is receptive to our "modeling." We have already seen changes in his choices of words, editing skills, and creative thought. Thanks again!
Lake Forest, CA
It's like a Suzuki Method for English composition.
...just a short note to let you know I have used the dress-ups and sentence openers at home after attending the video series. They have not only improved my children's compositions but have also sparked a new interest in writing. FABULOUS! All parents should take this seminar.
Journalist & home school parent
One of the best investments I have made. I am very enthused with the potential of this material to vastly improve my children's ability to write. The money spent to attend the seminar is one of the best investments I have made in curriculum in the eight years I have been home schooling.
Benton City, WA
Our family has been home schooling for 5 years and has tried numerous language arts programs. None have provided such a comprehensive program for teaching writing. By working with outlines and identifying key words, each one has been able to write well-constructed paragraphs. This program presents writing in a logical sequence and gives a structure to write from. They are no longer writing from a "black hole." I especially appreciate the check sheets when marking the children's work. Finally I have an objective criteria with which to judge the paragraphs.
Reviews from Homeschool Families
These unsolicited comments were posted to the IEW Families e-group.
My son has been a reluctant writer for a couple of years -- he's 9 1/2. He never liked copywork or dictation; he never liked writing his spelling words. I've been a little worried about starting IEW with him. I recently watched the Lesson Sample for 2nd - 4th grade that comes in the TWSS packet, and decided to try it out on him.
Quietly concealing my fears, I handed him blank paper, a pencil (with eraser), and the story of the Tortoise and the Hare, and we turned on the DVD. After an hour an a half of him writing furiously all Andrew's KWO suggestions, -ly lists, and alternatives for said, I made him put it away for another day -- we had to do something else. I don't think I've ever seen him work so hard and enjoy it so much!!!
He LOVED it!! WOW!!
Day two he wrote all the sentences and checked off each item on his checklist. He happily switches to pen as soon as Andrew suggested it. He believes the most amazing thing is that Andrew talks "to him,"
especially when many of ds's responses matched those given on the DVD -- almost like a conversation. The whole experience really helped to build his confidence in writing.
It sure is helping my confidence, too. (Reading Andrew's articles posted on the website are a great help, also.)
By the way, my three older children, dd12, ds9, and dd5, love the poetry! The youngest ds3, just isn't ready, but he knows Ooewy Gooey!!
Jennifer in East TN
I, too, waited a year before buying the program, mainly due to the same fear ... plus, being an English teacher, I thought I knew how to teach writing. Now I wish I had bought it when I first considered it!
The program is worth every penny. With a reluctant writer, IMO!, you can't just let him do it on his own without familiarizing yourself with the concepts and helping him as needed. He might get something out of it, but not nearly as much. My now 13yo started IEW in 5th grade. Before that, I couldn't get any sentences out of him without much difficulty, yet his reading level was strong, his grasp of grammar (via dictation) excellent. Just couldn't compose (or narrate). With IEW, I've still had to help him, even now, but I've seen huge advances in his writing.
At first, you'll want to watch Units 1 and 2, ideally in TWSS, spending about an hour familiarizing yourself with the beginnings of the system. Then let your son follow the assignments and directions in SWI, with your help as needed. When he comes to a new Unit, which won't be very often, watch the DVD with him (won't take that much time), then watch the corresponding unit in TWSS if you have time. You'll be fully armed to help him best this way.
Pamela in TN
We have struggled together over how to improve his reading comprehension, spelling, and writing. He used to finish every paragraph with some version of, "And that's what I think about that." He is very good in math and can't understand or relate to the writing process--doesn't enjoy working with words or playing with them in order to better say what he means or more effectively make a point. He just wants to use the formula, plug in the numbers, and get an answer. When we first began IEW, he walked into the kitchen with his checklist in hand and emphatically stated, "I like THIS writing program!" I think it is because it is a bit like a formula at first and not this nebulous, "Well, your writing needs some improvement." After he had worked with the checklist and the models for some time, his writing became far less stilted and I can honestly say that he does now find some (however small) pleasure in working with his words to write more effectively. An added bonus is that the topic/clincher rule has eliminated his desire to say, "That's what I think about that." I think it is because the rule gives him some guidance as to how his paragraph should end.
On the other hand, I have a daughter who loves to read and never minded writing. She felt somewhat hindered by the checklist and was frustrated by it. She recently told me that she came upon some of her earlier writing and realized how much IEW had improved her style. She thinks she may even like to be a writer and is employing the Unit III method of outlining the setting, characters, plot, conflict, and resolution of familiar stories, then changing some of these elements to come up with stories of her own. Once again, IEW has given her a starting point. This same child comes to me all the time saying things like, "Look Mom, whoever wrote this article used six subject openers in a row!" I have taught writing in a co-op setting now for three years and I am convinced that IEW works for all types of learners IF both the parent and child are willing to be trained by it. I am thinking of Hebrews 12:11, "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." Writing takes discipline and it is difficult to make ourselves comply with "rules" and models. For both of my very different children, however, the IEW method has developed in them not only vastly improved writing skills but also a sense of accomplishment. It wasn't even really painful--we had a great time with it! For what it's worth, I would recommend the Student Writing Intensives because Andrew Pudewa makes it so much fun.
I bought TWSS in April of 2005 and it took me about 8 months to finish it. Frankly, I should have just sat down and watched the DVD's over a weekend, but I didn't. I kept thinking I could do the program without watching the DVD's. I had a hard time getting into it at first and I didn't really understand the whole concept. But around the third DVD, the whole program clicked for me. What a relief. We have since done the SWI Group A programs with my 4th grader and 6th grader. My boys and I loved it. We used the Level A program because my younger son is Dyslexic. Both boys thrived with the program and thought that Andrew was so funny. Now we are using the History Based Writing Lessons by Lori V. and my boys are loving them. I thought that the program would be a huge time commitment, but it is really very well thought out and saves me time.
Lastly, My husband and I are watching the Teaching the Classics DVD's as our entertainment for date night.
Yes, there is no question that the material is expensive and takes a huge time commitment, but I wanted to encourage you all that if you spend the time it does produce results. My thanks to you all are long overdue!!! Thank you.
Deb in NY
My daughter has just started with SWI B. Today she was sitting down to write the summary about the Japanese beetles, and she said, "Mom, I really like this. I think I can do it!" When she was finished she read it to the entire family. She is 14 and has Aspergers; she has really struggled with writing. I had TWSS last year but couldn't seem to get us into a groove with it. So this year we're trying the program with Andrew teaching, and my daughter just howls at his humor. Somehow he just worms right on past all of her defenses against writing. :)
I've actually heard about IEW for many years, but it wasn't until I attended a presentation by someone who had used it themselves that I understood how it worked. I explored the website, learned all I could about it, and decided to try it. I'm very glad I did! We homeschool our 5 children, and writing has always been very difficult, especially for the oldest boy (15). IEW has taken away that frustration. We are having success in writing for the first time. I have watched all of the DVD's (while on the treadmill!), and refer to them often. Being a part of this group would certainly enhance my understanding of this program and help me to use it most effectively.