Skills for Rhetoric: Developing Persuasive Communication for the Junior High Student is a comprehensive curriculum for examining the written and spoken word. The author, James Stobaugh stated, “Rhetoric is a discipline demanding that the writer dutifully follow rules of grammar, logic, and communication to explain , describe, and clarify.” This is a subject which is very much needed but lacking in the studies many students today. I appreciate the fact that this is a junior high curriculum. It is important to work on these basic skills in order to have time to develop the student’s writing and speaking skills at an early age.
In reviewing this curriculum, I was able to overview the student text and the teacher’s edition. The course has 34 weeks’ worth of study, each providing four instructional lessons. It offers listed learning objectives for each chapter, concept builders that offer student a 15 minute lesson to practice the objectives, weekly essay tests, and daily prayer journal written into the lesson plans and a series of opportunities to build a final project/portfolio which includes a research paper the curriculum planned into the lessons beginning in chapter 22.
The lessons are easy to ready for the student and lead for the parent or teacher. The curriculum suggests following four steps to get the weekly work done in a timely manner: 1) Have students write in a payer journal at least three time/week, 2)Have students produce a Final Portfolio for Chapters 1-21, 3)Guide students through the research paper process in Chapters 22-34, and 4) Make sure students submit the Final Portfolio and complete the Research Paper. All of these steps are the predecessors of success in college or in the corporate work force where participation is important in lending information in a clear and concise manner.
Although these lessons are well needed, I could easily say I know some high school students who would have difficulty with some of these writing lessons. This is not to say we should not have high expectations for our children at an early age but in my experience this book is not for all junior high students and can be used at the high school level.