7 Reasons to Teach Writing & Rhetoric to Your Students

~ Written by Marissa Moldoch ~

As a Writing & Rhetoric major, I can’t help but smile when I flip through Classical Academic Press’ texts of the same name and read about all the concepts that fill my heart with joy. It might sound corny, but it’s true.

Growing up, I didn’t study these materials, but I wish I would have had that option. My school’s curriculum asked us to read stories, then answer a few questions that ranged from simplistic to overly complicated and awkwardly worded. It wasn’t an engaging experience, and we were never prompted to think deeply about what we had learned.

Although I enjoyed reading books and writing stories in my free time, I had a distaste for these kinds of lessons at school and struggled to develop my language arts skills.

Then, in the seventh grade, my frustration turned to wonder. My teacher, who also served as an English professor at our local college, understood that the curriculum was not preparing us to be strong writers. She started to teach us the fundamentals of writing, and she incorporated classic literature into the lesson plans to demonstrate the concepts she was explaining. Because of her guidance, I fell in love with writing and wanted to become a wordsmith.

Our Writing & Rhetoric series gives me that same rush of excitement. In case you need a little extra persuading about why you should choose this curriculum for your children, here are seven reasons.

1. Students Will Build Their Writing Skills

Everyone writes, but not everyone writes well. Writing & Rhetoric teaches students about grammar and syntax, as well as proofreading and editing, so they’ll be able to construct clear sentences and paragraphs. “I was looking for a writing program for my third grader. Writing & Rhetoric does a great job at establishing writing basics and encouraging developing writers to add their own creative mark to well-known stories. We are looking forward to continuing our progress with the next levels!” says homeschool mom Heather. While younger students learn the basics, older students learn how to put those skills to good use. They will construct argumentative essays that have descriptive thesis statements, powerful points, and supporting evidence from various sources. Students who go to college will regularly employ these skills, regardless of their major. 

2. Students Will Become Eager to Write

The writing process can be difficult, even for those who study it in college and practice it professionally. However, we know that challenges aren’t always a bad thing. As I sit here, looking at my mess of a first draft for this blog post, I imagine all the unorganized paragraphs and random thoughts as pieces of a larger puzzle that have yet to be assembled. It is very satisfying to put those pieces together, and to enhance the final product with the writing skills that I have at my disposal. Writing doesn’t have to be a grueling experience. That’s something Karen from Maryland learned after she switched to the Writing & Rhetoric series. “As a mother with more than 20 years of homeschooling behind her, it was a joy to find a curriculum company that took the frustration out of teaching my children to write. Writing & Rhetoric takes the ancient way of teaching writing and makes it accessible to the modern student. As a result, my 7 homeschooled children wanted to write!”

3. Students Will Learn How to Think Critically and Express Themselves

Have you ever been asked to write about a concept that you really don’t understand? If not, let’s just say that the final product tends to contain a lot of filler words and generalizations, rather than clear points backed by supporting evidence or imaginative ideas. With Writing & Rhetoric, students learn how to think through the stories they consume, so they can express the main ideas to someone else or write an essay in response. “I recommend Classical Academic Press—especially their grammar and Writing & Rhetoric programs—to all my friends. We have seen such growth in our children as they work their way through this whole language approach. It teaches them much more than just how to do well on a test; they learn to think and express themselves through language. I’ve learned along the way as well!” says homeschool mom Julie. Homeschool mom Holly concurs, saying, “CAP's Writing & Rhetoric program has revived both my sons' love of writing and storytelling, while also challenging their thinking skills.” Given the amount of information (and misinformation) that floods our screens every day, it is imperative that students begin to develop their reading comprehension and critical thinking skills at a young age.

4. Students Will Strengthen Their Vocabulary and Tell Better Stories

Writing & Rhetoric features familiar tales and excerpts from classic literature. As students imitate these models, they will build their vocabulary and understand how to make their own writing more effective. “My son has loved writing and playing with words in Writing & Rhetoric,” says homeschool mom Evelyn. "’Copious’ is a word I never knew existed, but my son loves it! He changes sentences that are told to him, reordering them and just plain having fun with them. If he doesn't understand something he's told, he just muddles it around until it clicks. I am really thankful for the input CAP has in our daily routine.” After they’ve learned how to make their writing more colorful, older students craft cohesive narratives and organize supporting details.

5. Students Will Practice Public Speaking and Elocution

What do the vast majority of people have in common? A fear of public speaking. With Writing & Rhetoric, students will learn how to embrace public speaking and perfect the qualities necessary for being a good speaker. For example, Book 4 prompts students to “divide Tennyson’s Godiva into parts and use it to create a dramatic reading, recitation, or pageant for parents or other students.” To make this “Speak It” exercise more fun, the book encourages students to wear costumes, use hand gestures, and project their voice. Homeschool mom Gina says that this method works for her family. “I have finally found the writing program that both my children and I enjoy. My children have improved in their writing while delighting in the stories provided in the Writing & Rhetoric program. Each lesson provides a story that the children must then tell back (narration practice). Summarizing and amplification of a story are taught, as well as outlining and much more. We have used Writing & Rhetoric Book 1: Fable, Book 2: Narrative I, and Book 3: Narrative II. I will definitely be progressing with this series,” she says.

6. Students Will Learn about Literary and Rhetorical Devices

You might not be able to name many literary or rhetorical devices off the top of your head, but you use them more often than you think. For instance, if you claim that your grandmother is as blind as a bat, or that your child is as good as gold, you’ve used a simile. If you say that life is a highway or that you’re a night owl, you’ve employed a metaphor. Writing & Rhetoric teaches students about these kinds of devices, which spark the imagination, persuade audiences, and make writing and conversations more memorable. 

7. Students Will Learn from Authors Who Enjoy the Subject

It’s easy to see how much Paul Kortepeter, the primary author of Writing & Rhetoric, cares about this curriculum. He has masterfully designed it so that students can serve as apprentices to the great writers and stories of history. “I have found CAP's Rhetoric Alive! and Writing & Rhetoric series to be very capable guides to learning how to write and speak well. The authors are clearly knowledgeable and actively demonstrate the styles of writing and speaking they are teaching. The material is approachable for all kinds of students and teachers without compromising on quality or sufficient rigor,” says Todd from New Jersey. Homeschool mom Cat agrees, saying that she is “thankful for the support of such qualified individuals.”

Thanks for learning about our Writing & Rhetoric series! Now, save 10% when you use the discount code WR23 at checkout. *Some restrictions apply.

Visit our website to learn more about this comprehensive curriculum, and discover why our Latin and logic texts are perfect for your middle schooler.

*The WR23 coupon code is applicable to individual items only. Minimum purchase is 1 item. It will not be applied to already discounted programs or bundles, or to the following products: Ambrose Curriculum Guide, programs or bundles, online courses (such as Scholé Academy, St. Raphael School, or the Canterbury House of Studies), and some test packets or yearlong licenses (such as The Discovery of Deduction Quizzes & Assessments, Latin for Children and Latin Alive! Test Packets, and Well-Ordered Language Songs & Chants or Extra Practice & Assessment PDFs).

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