Institute for Excellence in Writing

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  • Reviewed on Friday, May 9, 2014
  • Grades Used: 6th
  • Dates used: 2013-2014
This was another recommendation from my evaluator. I am so happy we gave it a try! My son had not had much writing instruction before using this. He always writes stories on his own and could form a paragraph. I am very pleased with his writing this year. There are 15 lessons and we will only complete 9 this year and then complete the rest for 7th. We have done all the reinforcement activities and do not do writing every day, this is why we are stretching it out. This is NOT a creative writing program! It teaches the "mechanics" of writing, or the "how to". I do believe though it leaves room for creativity. I like how he introduces "dress-ups" to improve the quality of writing and make it more intersting. Another thing I like is the writing from an outline. I can see where this will be invaluable once we start writing reports and essays. We are on lesson 8 and just covered 3 paragraph stories. This is another keeper for our family.


  • Reviewed on Thursday, August 30, 2012
  • Grades Used: 6th-7th - Medieval Theme book
  • Dates used: 2011-12 school year
I have 2 daughters who had very little writing experience prior to using IEW's Medieval theme-based program. I did not teach this program to them but instead they attended a co-op once a week and had 1 writing assignment to complete each week.

I cannot rave enough about this program! Their writing has improved immensely. I must say that I was concerned when they started the program because they'd had such little writing experience. Not only is the writing instruction wonderful but the vocabulary they learned was also a huge plus.

Once the class was over, I believed that their writing had improved a lot, but I didn't know how much until I got their Stanford test scores back after only using this program for 1 year. Both had scored above average the year before in this area. However, here are the results of the new scores: one of them improved 34 points in language expression taking her to a 98% and the other child improved 15 points moving her to 95%. I think that's proof enough. What else can I say?!

Since they've used this program under another teacher, I feel more confident about using it at home because they are familiar with it. We already have our IEW materials purchased to start using this school year. It is daunting, in my opinion, to try to begin teaching IEW from scratch but I believe it would be well worth it for anyone who is considering taking on the challenge.


  • Reviewed on Wednesday, January 25, 2012
  • Grades Used: Ancient History
  • Dates used: 2010-2011 & 2015
Update to previous review:
We started over with both levels B and C.
I am now very pleased with the program and will keep it for my younger children.

I now know the value in rewriting a story.
My kids have learned how to dress up writings.
They have learned how to rewrite in their own words.

It's a great program.

Old review:

We used this to tie in with our history.

At first, the book was great and we loved it. I couldn't believe that I had waited so long to find this product. we continued, I became frustrated.


The author asked us to read a story and take notes and then rewrite the story. It isn't often that a student will need to rewrite a story! AND - the author was expecting students to fill their own story with facts that he assumes the child to already know.

I like the idea of this program, but some of the exercises seemed silly to me.

Learning to taking notes from a text book...THAT was helpful.

There didn't seem to be much room for creativity.


  • Reviewed on Friday, April 3, 2009
  • Grades Used: 7th and 10th
  • Dates used: 2008-09
Others have done well describing the program and what it covers, so I won't do that here. I will say I really like the structure of the program and the way it teaches the student to find the key words/ideas in a piece of writing and how to rewrite without "copying" a piece of writing. This is essential for good essays, reports, and research paper writing. It also can be helpful with reading - being able to see the key concepts and main ideas in a piece of writing can greatly help in studying for tests in the future.

I have the TWSS seminar notebook and DVDs, and have used the Level C student intensive DVDs and notebook with my kids, ages 12-13 and 15. It looks very confusing UNTIL you watch the seminar DVDs and follow along in the notebook. I chose to use the student intensive because I knew I could not pull those lessons together to present to my kids with the quality he could do it, and frankly my daughter does not accept instruction from me very well. So using the DVD of him teaching to the student was invaluable. My kids don't like writing that much, but have done well with this and seem to understand pretty well what is expected. I've been pleased.

I think this program would be especially good for people who are not intuitively strong writers themselves, but want to have their kids receive a good writing foundation.