11 March 2021

Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers from Everyday Education Review


Disclosure: I received this product free through the Homeschool Review Crew

For the last few weeks, my family has been using Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers from Everyday Education. We received a digital PDF Book but this resource is available as a physical book too.  

 The intended age is middle school, high school, and college. Whether you want to strengthen your students' writing skills. Or have your student use this as a reference tool. This will cover many topics from essay writing, punctuation, style, and grammar usage. This is also a good resource for parents to help their kids develop strong writing skills and constructive feedback. You can easily use this as a reference as a parent. I felt it flowed easily while reading through the textbook.  I was easily able to implemented some of the concepts with my son. You can easily incorporate this into other writing curriculums. Your student can use this as a reference book to assist them with writing and to self-check their work. You can also work on the examples with your student.

Janice Campbell edited The Handbook for Writers based on two reference books written by a college professor named Ian Johnston. It focused on essays and arguments as well as the elements of usage and style. This handbook was edited to use American spelling and word usage.

Excellence in Literature Handbook is 420 pages and broken down into two sections.

Part 1: Introduction to Essays and Arguments

This has a lot of details on essays and arguments. My son found it interesting that a thesis must not just point out facts or opinions but should give you something to debate and argue your point. It should make you think about what is being said in the paper. I was really glad he picked up on that point. I honestly passed over it leisurely. While my son has been learning about critical thinking what is being said.

An “anatomy” of an essay is broken down into steps. There are examples of writing a paragraph and a research paper. Other valuable information is things like organizing the main body, background information, Writing Arguments About Literary Works, paragraph structure, and so many other details. This in my opinion is a great resource to write a concise and effective paper that will show how to effectively engage the reader with a passionate argument.

Part 2: Introduction to Usage and Style

This gets into the grammar and the mechanics of a strong paper. There is nothing worse than reading a paper that doesn’t use good grammar. It covers phrases, clauses, sentences, punctuations, word usage, formatting, format for essays and research papers, and so much more.

Another feature is Rubrics for Writing Evaluations. This can be used by the student or the parent. You can use one for each writing assignment. It has a list to look for things like Ideas and Concepts, Organization, Word Choice, Sentence Fluency, Voice, Mechanics, Presentation, and Keys. This is an excellent resource to incorporate into your papers.

One of my favorite sections is” Words”. Trying to get my son not to use the same words over and over and to think about his word usage is tough. Words matter and greatly depend on your audience. There is information about slang, homophones, tone, nicknames, and much more. Examples of sentences are provided with clear examples and in many cases the “whys” of being precise with words. I can’t wait for my son to get to this section.

Lots of resources to incorporate into writing. I’m barely scratching the surface with the resources here.

How Did I Use Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers in my Homeschool?

I used this as a reference with my 15-year-old son’s writing assignments.  I had him go over and re-evaluate some of his writing assignments and using it as a reference for new assignments. 

I’m also assigning my son to read a section three times a week. I think it’s good that he is going through the whole resource. First off it makes him familiar with what’s in Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers. Not only is he learning but he is getting familiar with it so it will make his use of this easier for him. I print out a Rubrics for Writing Evaluations and he has to go over his writing assignments. I think checking your work is a very effective learning tool.

On the other side of the spectrum, I am using the Rubrics for Writing Evaluations after he has gone over his work himself and adjusted and corrected his paper. He turns in both his paper and Rubrics for Writing Evaluations for me to go over. This has been extremely helpful for my son and me.  I have  learned a lot by reading over the material and it has helped me see some errors in my writing too.

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Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew are utilizing Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers from Everyday Education in their homeschool. Stop by and see what they think by clicking here.


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