Celebrate Student Success

References and Reviews


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From Tears to Tools (2nd-Grade Teacher)

Last year I was given the opportunity to pilot IEW in second grade. I fell in love with this program. Writing is such a difficult subject to teach. It often involves tears from the teacher as well as the students. However, as I began using the methodology from IEW, I noticed that my students no longer dreaded writing, but enjoyed it.

IEW gives many strategies and tools to children to give them confidence in the writing process. One of the these is the Writer's Toolkit. The toolkit gives a student as young as first grade the resources to be able to use strong verbs, prepositions, and ly-adverbs to "grow" their sentences in their writing. They love learning about these topics, especially when they get to add the sticker to their "toolkit." It gives them success at their fingertips.

As a teacher, I love the lists within this resource. Many students of this age would not have the vocabulary to add these words on their own. But with the toolkit, they can "dress-up" their writing and be successful at doing it. Thank you IEW for helping my school improve in the area of writing.

Leah Smith, 2nd-grade teacher


Highest Scores in the State (4th-Grade Teacher)

I teach 4th grade and we write about an hour a day. We write across the curriculum, using the structure models and checklists, however, I do have a dedicated "writing time" each day.

This is my 3rd year teaching this method and my kids are amazing writers. In Oregon, 4th grade is the year we administer the state writing benchmark test and our students score among the highest in the state. Thank you IEW!

Sandra Ottley, 4th-grade teacher


Students of All Ability Levels (5th–8th Grade Teacher)

This is the first chance I have had to share any thoughts with you since school began for us in September. I teach combined grades 5–6 and 7–8. I have been teaching grammar for a number of years but was frustrated that there was no real link to the implementation of grammar in the students’ writing. This has been so exciting for me to see their work being transformed. My students love grammar class now and even prefer it over science! I also teach students with learning disabilities and have been amazed how the use of the KWO has improved their comprehension of stories and the ability to recall a story in sequential order. I also am finding a new freedom in teaching classes that have a wide range of abilities. I now have ways to work with the dependent students and allow the stronger ones to excel. I love the webinars. They keep me reviewing and keep me focused. Thank you, Andrew and Janet.

Laura Tonello, 5th–8th grade teacher


Life-Changing Program (Lower-School Teacher)

I just wanted to drop you a quick line during my exactly 20 min of prep to tell you how much I LOVE Excellence in Writing. It is truly a life changing program, for both teacher and student. Even my most profoundly impacted dyslexic students--who are not reading beyond 1st grade--are able to gain access. The key word outlines, use of symbols, guided discovery, and practice speaking in complete sentences are all "must haves" for my kiddos, and I am so thankful that this program is giving me the knowledge base I need in order to serve them.

The training you led was fantastic as well. Professional development can be hit or miss, and I am grateful your instruction was so helpful and relevant. Thank you.

Emily O'Conner, Lead Lower-School Teacher


The Value of our Professional Development Services (School Principal)

Since 2016, Adams Christian School has received professional development services from Mrs. Linda Mikottis, our IEW implementation coach. I can’t stress the importance of this service enough. A couple days a year, Mrs. Mikottis visits our school and spends time demonstrating and/or observing teachers as they teach a writing lesson in their classroom. This is always followed up with individual coaching sessions with each teacher. By building this relationship with our implementation coach, the teachers and I know we have someone we can turn to for questions and support at any time of the year. This service adds accountability and fidelity to our writing curriculum. Accountability because, not only do we receive constructive feedback on our implementation of the curriculum, but we know that when Mrs. Mikottis returns later in the year we all have goals we want to reach before she returns. Fidelity because this service ensures we are implementing the curriculum effectively through Mrs. Mikottis’s ongoing coaching and support. I know the professional development service we continue to receive from IEW is one of the reasons why the implementation and effectiveness of our writing program is a success story at Adams Christian School.

Rick Mingerink, principal


What Teachers Love—Freedom (Administrator Interview)

These questions and answers are excerpts from an interview with Sarah James, an administrator at an elementary school in Rocklin, CA.

1. Were your teachers excited about learning IEW’s Structure and Style® method of writing?

Most teachers are like me. I need to have a guidebook in my hand to help teach writing so that I can internalize the process and then do it on my own. I think that’s why second grade was really excited. Shawna (a teacher changing from third to fourth grade) was very excited. She is using the DVD series by plugging it in and pausing it for discussions, and she’s learning with the kids. She’s very, very enthusiastic. I’d like to take her enthusiasm to a staff meeting and have a dialogue to flesh out where everybody else is.

2. Were you surprised that a method designed years ago prepared students to meet new standards and new tests?

No, because it is the way we used to teach. Again, looking at the pacing chart, you can see the progression, and it does encompass the things that all kids need to have. So much of what we always used to do is what we’re going back to—that depth and complexity of focusing on a unit of study, rather than trying to race through content and curriculum. But we’ve gotten so far away from it and so dependent on the textbook that even veteran teachers need that freedom to say, “I know how to do that.”

3. Can you speak to the flexibility of the methodology to help your teachers meet even more Common Core standards beyond the writing standards?

When I look at the kind of reading and writing that kids have to do in the Common Core requirements—the inquiry-based key word outlining ties everything together. I watched two instructional aides apply the strategies students had learned through explicit, direct instruction found in IEW materials. They read articles about Abraham Lincoln, the Gettysburg Address, and John F. Kennedy’s assassination. While reading, they pulled out key words, and even looked for Tier Two vocabulary: “What words seem unusual to you?” They’re starting to learn how to look at text and find meaning in unusual words or the most important words. If they had to paraphrase or summarize, they could do it, and summarizing is hard. That crosses all of those standards.

4. Did the demonstration lessons and daily lesson plans help the teachers implement the method quickly and consistently?

The daily lesson plans were absolutely key. When we look at the whole coaching model and demonstration lessons, whether it’s through the DVD series or having IEW’s educational consultant come in and model a lesson, that’s where teachers go, “Oh, I get it now.” But the daily lesson plans were also key for me as an administrator. I know when I go into a classroom what I ought to see in a lesson. Yet it still gives them freedom and flexibility. To me, you have to be consistent with some procedures until you internalize them, and then you can implement them with automaticity in your own creativity because that’s still so much what teachers love—that freedom.

Sarah James, administrator



Debbie Frazier, Elementary Teacher
Westminster Academy
Memphis, TN

Dr. Amy Zaher, Assistant Superintendent
Berwyn North School District 98
Berwyn, IL

Andrea Pewthers, 7th–8th grade English teacher and IEW Mentor Teacher
Mingo Valley Christian School
Andrea found IEW at a teachers' convention several years ago. She tried it in her classroom and won the other teachers over with the difference they saw in her students' writing and their attitude towards writing.
Tulsa, OK


Top 5 Reasons Administrators Choose IEW

  1. Empowers teachers to empower students
  2. Furnishes a consistent method of core instruction from classroom to classroom and from grade to grade
  3. Develops balanced literacy because listening, speaking, reading, writing, and cognitive thinking are integrated into one process within each and every lesson—a more holistic approach to learning
  4. Cultivates a higher order of thinking skills because analysis and synthesis are taught from the beginning to the end of the year every year
  5. Offers ongoing education and support


Top 5 Reasons Teachers Love IEW

  1. Empowers teachers to empower students
  2. Offers a step-by-step, sequential, and concrete method of teaching writing
  3. Simplifies the invention process by using only one graphic organizer for all types of writing
  4. Includes proven practices such as scaffolding, formative assessment, and differentiation to address varying abilities
  5. Makes writing across the curriculum easy because students learn to critically read and carefully compose both fiction and non-fiction texts




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