Writing, to me, is the single most important skill a person can craft. Master the art of writing and one can solve world problems, inspire others, stir emotions, call others to action, entertain, enlighten, and inform. The list goes on and on, but only for those with effective techniques and style.
Learning is fun, so we don’t bother with fill-in-the blank worksheets, memorization exercises, or any other generic curriculum materials. We don’t do much with quizzes, tests, or other structured ‘measuring’ tools either. What we do is to engage with the real world and let passion and inquiry lead learning. Our measure for success is the ‘deliverable’ product that results from our inquiry. In this case, a book.
When we learned about WriteGuide, we happily discovered that WriteGuide lets students choose their own writing project and then provides a coach with appropriate skills. WriteGuide is an online writing consultant service that provides customized, individualized writing coaches for any fathomable writing project. I cannot say enough good things about WriteGuide writing coaches. Our son chose to work with his assigned writing coach, Ms. Folan, on a creative writing project he had started several months ago. In my opinion, letting the child choose the assignment is the absolute most important aspect of this model and made all the difference in our son’s engagement. For a young man who absolutely hates to write on assigned topics, he attacked his story with eagerness and without prompting, enthusiastically logged in to the WriteGuide portal daily, and carefully read everything his coach suggested. The autonomy he enjoyed with his writing project was transformative. He took the project very seriously, questioning Ms. Folan when he disagreed, and asking for clarification when he wasn’t sure of something. Ms. Folan expertly provided clear, concise, and positive feedback about his writing, gently instructing on punctuation, tense, and structure where necessary. We’re thrilled to have found an online personalized, customizable writing program that truly understands the coach/learner approach to learning.
One of the most interesting outcomes of our experience with WriteGuide is that it is using cloud technology, but doesn’t have a glitzy, flash-based interface full of gaudy colors and flashing day-glo images. It uses basic internet technology to deliver a solid, easy to navigate interface that even a child can use without instruction. Kudos for putting technology where it belongs (in the supporting role where it ‘just works’).
Although WriteGuide isn’t free, it is by far a better investment than expensive but generic textbook-based curriculum. Considering how important good writing skills are to success in life, WriteGuide, with its team of expert writing coaches, is an immeasurably valuable service worth every penny. I’m truly impressed.