Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Review on Institute of Excellence in Writing: Teaching the Classics

About Excellence in Writing:

Excellence in Writing Teaching the Classics uses short stories and the Socratic approach as a model to teach about character, plot, theme, and other elements of fictional and literal analysis. Adam Andrews (The instructor in the videos.) will help you equip the student with literary tools that can be used with children's books and adult literature. Teaching the Classics includes a video seminar on DVDs and a spiral bound syllabus. This teacher training program is suitable for teaching all levels. Using the strategies taught in these DVDs helps students think critically about literature. For example, every story has its own setting, characters, and climax. These tools helps the student to think rationally,examine, criticize, or reflect about the issues presented in the story. Teaching the Classics approach is able to be used with all works of fiction. Children's stories are the best tools for teaching the common elements: contact, structure, and style. Once the children grasp an understanding of the elements, they may apply this knowledge to longer more complex reading.

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Our Homeschool Experience:

When I was selected to review this product, I was so very excited. I LOVE the Institute of Excellence in Writing. When the package arrived, I could not wait to open up the box and see all that I had received to review. That night, I viewed the 1st DVD ( I did not think my 7 year old daughter would sit and watch the DVDs with me.) and watched Adam Andrews discuss why reading and understanding literature is important. If you are asking "Why should I want my child to read and understand literature?" Mr. Andrews states" So that he will get the chance to think critically about literature and about life." In this lesson, Adam Andrews also discusses the Socratic Method and the Socratic List. Lesson number 2, taught about plot and conflict. For this particular lesson, the story provided in the spiral bound book was " The Tale of Peter Rabbit". I decided to read the story to my 7 year old and then ask the questions found in the Socratic List. One of the questions that I asked was "What does the protagonist want?" This question provided the opportunity for me to explain to her what a protagonist is and also discuss what the rabbit wanted to do. Lesson 4 taught about character and the story provided was "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer." A few months ago my homeschool group attended the play "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer." After reading to my daughter the story in the book, we were able to talk about the characters and also about the play we had just watched a few months ago. The Scope and Sequence section provided a weekly outline of the lessons and the stories that Adam Andrews used to teach that particular lesson.

I loved that the DVDs provided strategies on how to teach the 5 elements of fiction. For example, when Adam Andrews would finish reading the stories in the spiral book, he would then give specific instructions on how that particular lesson should be taught. He would dissect the story and show strategies that I may use to have a productive discussion of context.The workbook included suggested reading and provided a list of Socratic questions that I could choose from.Teaching the Classics provided me with an approach on how to help my daughter experience literature by equipping her with the ability to express and debate her ideas. I really appreciated that I was able to not only use the stories provided in the book but also use stories that I already had at home. I love Teaching the Classics and I would recommend it.


 I have been given this product free of charge for review purposes. 

"Read what the rest of the Crew had to say about Teaching the Classics"


  1. I am a long time IEW LOVER and promoter. I've got to go back and review "the Classics" for my rising 8th grader. Thanks for the reminder ; )!

  2. I loved this resource too! Cannot wait until we get our move over so we can start reading lots again and putting all the knowledge to use.