Theme-Based Writing Lessons is a clever creative writing program published by Andrew Pudewa's Institute for Excellence in Writing. In his Teaching Writing: Structure & Style seminar, Andrew teaches students how to write by leading them through nine logical progressions. That's where these theme-based writing lessons come in: They give students practical opportunity to apply what they are learning. In each theme-based text, the student is led through the same nine progressions, and he utilizes this knowledge in the context of historical themes. In the Ancient History-Based Writing Lessons, for example, when the student is learning how to utilize adjectives, he is assigned to fill in the blanks with interesting adjectives: The ________ pyramids are _________. Certain adjectives are banned from use, forcing students to think creatively. "The big pyramids are interesting" wouldn't be acceptable (because big and interesting are banned due to their commonness), but "the towering pyramids are enthralling" is a sentence worth reading.
The creative writing process is broken down incrementally, each step building on previous steps learned. These progressions are demonstrated with examples based on the history being studied. If a student is asked to create an outline, an article about pyramids is provided, as well as the example of the finished outline. Students aren't left to guess what a good outline looks like. It is demonstrated first. This aproach not only teaches a student to write well, but also integrates his learning with his other subjects. My kids always learn better when they see the connections in what is being taught. Isolating subjects such as creative writing often tempts kids to ask the dreaded question, "What does this have to do with anything?"
While it is not madatory, the Teacher's Manual is extremely helpful, with vocabulary quizzes, tips for creatively teaching each lesson, and hints for grammar instruction. People have also asked if it is mandatory for a student to go through the whole IEW seminar to utilize these books. I have friends who have done it both ways. Though these books can stand alone, you may feel a bit lost and handicapped if you aren't familiar with IEW's Teaching Writing seminar, so the seminar is recommended.
Lastly, by purchasing any book of theme-based writing lessons, you will automatically receive a complimentary copy of the Student Resource Notebook e-book with your order! (Check the copyright page for download information.) We are not allowed to discount these texts.