- About the Author
A 1-semester course for grades 8 or 9 and up
Think of the progymnasmata as a step-by-step apprenticeship in the art of writing and rhetoric. In the award-winning Writing & Rhetoric series, author Paul Kortepeter has recovered this proven method of teaching writing in conjunction with critical thinking and speaking. This is the eleventh in a series of 12 books that will train students over 6 years.
Thesis Part 2
In this book, students will implement what they learned about writing well-crafted persuasive thesis essays in Writing & Rhetoric Book 10: Thesis Part 1 and advance those skills by creating dynamic and powerful speeches. A vital part of rhetoric, oratory connects thinking and writing to the indispensable art of public speaking. Students will learn from masters of oratory, past and present, by studying the great speeches of Cicero, Thurgood Marshall, Ronald Reagan, John F. Kennedy, and Malala Yousafzai, among others. When preparing and delivering their speeches, students will utilize the 5 canons of rhetoric and the common topics of invention to help them discover and refine their theses.
Thesis Part 2 is designed to build students’ confidence in public speaking, teaching them the habits of excellent delivery and proper breathing. Incorporating the skills learned throughout the series, students will research, write, and then deliver 3 practice speeches (or declamations) of their own creation in the manner of the traditional branches of rhetoric: judicial, ceremonial, and political. As students gain skill, they will learn to delight in discourse as a way “to enlighten the understanding, please the imagination, move the passion, and influence the will” (George Campbell).
In this 1-semester book, students will learn to:
- write persuasive speeches in the style of a closing argument in a courtroom, a eulogy at a funeral, and the proposal of a law in a legislative body
- refine their writing of theses, topic sentences, and antitheses
- improve their conclusions to extend and enhance their original theses
- strengthen their ability to derive information from texts, organizing and summarizing it in expository paragraphs
- develop an awareness of transitions, tone, and writing style
- practice fluent reading using diverse speech texts
- identify a variety of genres, particularly judicial, ceremonial, and political oration
- interact with well-written texts through discussions and exercises in evaluation and critical thinking
- draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research
- strengthen their oratory skills through opportunities for public speaking
- see the relationship between writing and speaking
- use oration as an aid to the process of revision
See the Support tab above for suggested schedule and product support.
This is a consumable item. For more information on this product’s copyright, please refer to our General FAQ section here.
When You're Finished with Book 11 . . .
For an updated description of Writing & Rhetoric Book 12: Declamation, as well as additional suggested tracks of study while this final book is in production, please see our PDF of suggested tracks or visit our FAQ page and click on the question “When will the rest of the series be available?”
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“I have 2 degrees in English and experience teaching/tutoring students in writing from elementary through college and beyond, as well as working in a Writer's Center, editing for professional publications, and writing for publication myself. And yet, with all of that education and experience, my go-to writing program for my own children in our homeschool is CAP's Writing & Rhetoric. It's open-and-go, which I need as a busy mother of 12 children. I've now used Writing & Rhetoric Books 1–9 with my children individually, in pairs, and in small groups. Right now, my favorite time of day is working with my 6th-, 7th-, 9th-, and 10th-grade children together in Book 9—the program facilitates interesting discussions as it teaches excellence in writing. I cannot thank you enough for providing such strong materials for writing for our busy homeschool!” —Kristin K., homeschool mom and writing instructor
“We are really enjoying your Writing & Rhetoric program. Besides being very visually appealing, it hits just the right balance for us in terms of age-appropriate instruction and lively fun activities. Even my 7-year-old wants to join in sometimes. This is our most successful writing program so far and I am looking forward to continuing with this series.” —Elissa, homeschool mom
“I just wanted to tell you that we are all enjoying W&R Book 2 very much. Today we are finishing lesson 2. This is the only program in 6 years over which my 6th-grade son has not cried and he even said today that he likes it. I like the pace and understanding it is teaching. My 4th-grade daughter is doing great too. Thank you!” —Monite, homeschool mom
“I am working through Writing and Rhetoric Book 1: Fable with my 10-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son. My daughter asks every day to get started on her writing! My son, who was constantly saying ‘I don’t know’ and ‘But it’s too hard,’ is absolutely amazing me with his creativity. No whining!! It is restful learning! Thank you!!” —Keri, homeschool mom
“I am currently using your Writing and Rhetoric series. I LOVE that you maintain the positive elements of classical education without requiring the tedious repetition and copious problems that so many classical curriculum models fall prey to. When a child is so preoccupied with getting quantity done, he has no time left to ingest, process, and assimilate concepts. Your books manage to accomplish this, so I always look forward to seeing what else you have published. Thank you for the value you add to homeschooling!” —Wendy, homeschool mom
“We started using the Writing and Rhetoric books this year. WOW. My kids no longer complain about writing. It’s something they look forward to doing. Thank you!!” —Victoria, homeschool mom
“I wanted to thank you all for putting your Writing & Rhetoric curriculum together. My 5th and 3rd grader have just finished up Narrative I and I am impressed with how painlessly their writing has improved. I’m also impressed with how they have naturally taken on the voice of the stories they’re imitating and how they have merged stories together. My youngest 3 will definitely be using it all the way through. I wish it had been around for my older kids. It’s been awhile since I’ve been so pleased with a curriculum.” —Brandie, homeschool mom
“Since my 9-year-old completed the first 2 books in Writing & Rhetoric a few weeks before the official end of our school year, his lessons I’m assigning are now lighter without the CAP program. While my son claims to hate writing, this is what he shared with me today: ‘I’m actually kind of bored without Writing & Rhetoric. I enjoyed working on those stories.’ Wow! I am a former public school teacher and searched long and hard for a high-quality writing curriculum that would inspire my son to be creative while also teaching him structure. I wanted something different than the dull, formulaic programs I was accustomed to in the public system, but didn’t want to neglect the process by choosing something that focused solely on creativity. Since writing has been the subject he’s struggled with the most, I searched for a program that would spark his interest and not dampen his spirits. As I’ve shared with many friends, I’m impressed with CAP. This series is working well for my son.” —Amy, homeschool mom and former public school teacher
“My dream writing program!” —Chelli, The Planted Trees blog
“My [students] love this book. The stories are wonderful and engaging and we have had so much fun with it. They are making great progress and have moved from dreading their writing assignments to eagerly anticipating them each week.” —Teren, Cottage School director
“Your Writing & Rhetoric program has inspired my 9-year-old son! Before beginning Book 1: Fable, he had been a very reluctant writer. After only the first lesson, he wrote an outstanding original story completely on his own. My husband and I were amazed, and humbled, at how much was stored up in that little mind of his, just waiting to come out. I knew that the progymnasmata would provide for the needs of our classically trained children, but was completely intimidated by the few resources available to teach those exercises. Thank you, Classical Academic Press, for this program. Please continue the good work of providing excellent classical materials that are manageable for home educators.” —Tricia, homeschool mom
“I just want to say THANK YOU for the Writing & Rhetoric program. After dabbling for years in [other] programs . . . I have never been satisfied with how I was approaching writing (and I’m a writing instructor for high school and college students by trade!). These other programs were too boring or dry or complicated; they sucked the life out of the subject and my kids were bored. I have 2 kids in Fable and 2 kids in Chreia, and they LOVE our time in these books each day. The tone is conversational, but the information is complex; the exercises are creative, yet rigorous. I love how the books are introducing cultural literacy and logic while teaching writing. THANK YOU for this series of books. With 10 children (and one on the way), I’m so glad to finally find a language arts track that is satisfying; I’m anxious to use this with all my future students!” —Kristin, homeschool mom and writing instructor
“This is a very well-thought-out, creatively constructed, effective writing program. Not only did I see my kids really thinking and improving their writing skills, they actually enjoyed it along the way!” —Cassandra, owner/writer at The Unplugged Family
“This is such a well-designed series of books and I have been so impressed to see how the curriculum builds from Book 1: Fable to where my children are currently, in Book 6: Commonplace. I love both the content and method of this curriculum. The method and design provides students with enough guidance and skills practice to ward away writer’s block, and yet offers each student plenty of room to flex their creativity and find their own voice. Regarding content, the readings that lay the foundation and provide inspiration for each lesson are wonderfully rich and thought-provoking. Many interesting discussions have stemmed from the readings, essay assignments, and formal discussion topics. The thought has occurred to me many times that experiences like these are exactly the reason I love the freedom of homeschooling.” —Brandi, homeschool mom
“Our homeschool program has been using Writing & Rhetoric in our language arts program going into our third year. First, I can tell you that I LOVE this program. . . . [It] has created the richest writing by students that I’ve ever experienced. (In my own humble opinion!) And as an added bonus—it’s EASIER!!! I can go on and on about my own 2 children, who have thrived using W&R: my son, who is a struggling reader/writer at age 13, doesn’t cry anymore about writing essays; and my 14-year-old daughter, who is a typical girl who likes to read and write, finds the program challenging enough to write well—and she is proud of her work!” —Kristi, ROCK Academy director
“I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for offering such amazing products and classes. I have a previously reluctant academic writer who started Writing & Rhetoric Book 3 this term, and I am amazed at how much she loves it. We had completed all the writing activities in the third lesson, so I told her she didn’t need to write her own fable if she felt like it was too much. She begged me to do it and worked through 3 revisions of it without a single complaint! (She does love to write outside of school, but it has always been hard to get her to write for school, so this is such a victory!) Not only that, but I LOVE to teach from the teacher’s edition. It is easy to implement, interesting, and just enough work to challenge but not frustrate. I’m so thrilled to have found it!” —Christine, homeschool mom
- Suggested Schedule
- Scope and Sequence (PDF)
- Speech Content Rubric
- Speech-Writing Instructions
- Resources for Select Audio Recordings
For placement recommendations and other questions, please see our FAQ page.
Read more about Writing & Rhetoric: The Method, the Philosophy & the Progymnasmata
Paul Kortepeter currently serves as curriculum director and 8th-grade teacher at The Oaks Academy, a private K–12 classical school in Indianapolis. His passion for helping students write effectively and speak persuasively led him to write the Writing & Rhetoric series, a step-by-step program for young writers based on the classical progymnasmata. Paul has a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Earlham College and a master of fine arts degree in cinema production from the University of Southern California. While a student at USC, he edited a documentary film on the homeless that was nominated for an Academy Award. He spent the next 6 years in Los Angeles developing made-for-TV movies for popular performers such as Jane Seymour, Pierce Brosnan, Walter Matthau, and Isabella Rossellini. More recently, he worked as senior editor for Sunrise Publications, now a division of Hallmark Cards. While at Sunrise, he met artist Susan Wheeler and the two collaborated in creating picture books for Dutton Children’s Books and gift books for Harvest House Publishers.
Grade Level: Grades 8-9
Use: Consumable product
Course Length: Semester