Wednesday, September 11, 2019

College-Ready Writing Essentials™ -- my REVIEW

As my kids approach the college years, they need to be ready to write good essays--concise, interesting, complete compositions. There are many different resources which help a growing writer, and I think it is a good idea for students to learn through several different methods, as they may influence them in different ways from each other (and, like everything, some methods of teaching resonate better with some students than others!) For this review we had the opportunity to use the Full version of College-Ready Writing Essentials™ which is produced by Dr. William Bryant and the company BetterRhetor.

The College-Ready Writing Essentials™ program is a series of twenty-five lessons which guide a student through the process of writing a research-backed persuasive essay, from beginning with solidifying the purpose/plan for the essay to evaluating your background and interests as they relate, to how to research the topic (and to identify if a source is "good" -- unbiased, reputable), and then organizing your thoughts through an outline and then finally writing the persuasive essay.

The fillable downloads are really nice for the student to
 try out the concepts they have just learned about.
Though much of the lesson is text that the student reads through,
there are some videos sprinkled in as well.

Each lesson contains text for the student to read which introduces/explains the idea of that lesson (a few have short videos included); documents to download and use allow the student to interact with the lesson, so instead of just a read-and-move-on type of lesson, the student reads and then implements the ideas.

The course is basically the process of  working through the writing of a persuasive essay (backed by research), and throughout the course the student works on their own essay, following along with the steps.

There are plenty of explanations and examples, so it is easy to follow the flow of the course. The actual flow through the course is easy to follow as well--there is a toolbar on the left hand side of the screen which lists the chapters and shows your progress.  It's easy to spot where you are, what you've done, and what is ahead.

The course is marketed for 11th and 12th graders, but is useful for a broad variety of learners, even adults who might want to improve their writing skills.  I had originally planned for my 12th grader to use this course, and he started it, but it was like pulling teeth with him...he has already taken composition courses and did not care for the way this one was taught (basically read and do), so my 10th grader began the course--and really likes it.  Here's what she had to say about it: 

 "I really like BetterRhetor. There is a lot of reading, but it isn't too boring. It also is really helpful. It walks you along each stage. It shows lots of examples, and is pretty clear. There are some parts that I'm not incredibly sure of what it wants (in the homework sheets) but for the most part its good!"

The course is laid out so that you can complete the 25-lesson course in five 5-lesson weeks, but we are doing it a tad bit slower. You really have the freedom to use it as it will fit in with your education schedule and goals.  The course that we used is fully autonomous, but there is another level of the course which you can purchase (the "Premium" level) after which you can receive feedback from Dr. Bryant. Some members of the Review Crew used this, so if you'd like to hear more about it, check them out here.

All in all we liked the course :)  We did find it a bit confusing as to how to log in each time (seriously, our learning curve must be pretty flat...I felt like we were fumbling around every single time trying to find out where the login screen was!) but maybe that will be addressed/fixed on the website in the near future. As to the content, it is a good way to learn to organize and put together a great essay for anyone, which will be especially appreciated by students as they enter college and already have that conpetency.

There were others who reviewed this product (the "Full" course as well as the "Premium" course)--if you'd like to read what others had to say about the review, please click on the link below!

College-Ready Writing Essentials™ {BetterRhetor Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

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