Curriculum Review: Writing Strands Basic Starter Set


Writing Strands:  Level 2

Writing Strands:  Level 3

Writing Strands:  Evaluating Writing

Reading Strands:  Understanding Fiction

By Dave Marks

In this blog post, I am reviewing The Writing Strands Bundle: Basic Beginner Set from Masterbooks from New Leaf Publishing. The bundle came with a  Level 2 and 3 Writing Strands book, Understand Fiction Reading Strands book, and Evaluating Writing.

In Level 2 and 3 Writing Strands, the books break into daily activities that create opportunities for students to write a sentence and develop more details throughout the following lessons. Sentence structure is taught and then through questioning it is developed.   Some of the fundamental principles of Writing Strands include:

  • Every person needs to learn to express ideas and feelings in writing.
  • There is no one way right way to write anything.
  • All student writing efforts are worthy of praise.
  • All writing at any level is hard work.

The exercises, skill areas, and objectives are all laid out at the front of the book in order to plan lessons carefully and meaningfully. These are followed by a list of the specific writing strands and progression of writing difficulties, such as a creative writing strand, basic writing strand, descriptive writing strand, and organizational writing strand.  The book lays out suggestions for guiding students in better writing. Finally, a list of mastery skills to keep up with the child’s progress.

Reading Strands: Understanding Fiction is just as thorough and descriptive in its layout. It instructs the teacher, student and parents to establish goals and objectives for reading and lays out a plan for acquiring prior knowledge of the reading, making sense of the reading, visualizing images while reading. On pages 12 and 13 the book describes a comprehensive list of common techniques for helping young children develop the ability to think and analyze what they hear and read. Reading Strands: Understanding Fiction also details a list of goals and objectives for ages seven and above as well as for ages twelve and above that includes literal recognition or recall and inference, evaluation and appreciation. Reading Strands: Understanding Fiction is so detailed that a strong foundation using this resource will create a student that is well prepared for an academic future as well as for a future full of love for literature.

Lastly, Writing Strands: Evaluating Writing, lends an example for parents and teachers to understand evaluation methods. It incorporates:

  • Issues That Make Teaching Writing Hard
  • How to Correct Problems in Writing
  • What to Look for: Important Terms and Common Problems
  • Student Writing, Comments by Parents, and Conversations with Dave

Dave Marks did an outstanding job! His teaching of writing and reading make it easier for those of us that are more of the “math and science” type of people. Not only did I find it useful for my classroom but I felt I was learning so much myself as I went through the books.

Click here for examples:

Evaluating Writing

Reading Strands


These books were sent to me as part of a blogging for books review system by Moms of Masterbooks reviews by New Leaf Publishing. All opinions expressed are my own and a positive review is not required.





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Schelastic Academy is a 6th-12th grade private school in Arlington, TX. We house Schelastic High School and Middle School to prepare and lead students toward their callings in life with a strong emphasis on real-world preparation, independent learning, and individualized attention. Check us out today for a safe, flexible, and consistent place to school your scholar!