Amy Wormald: IEW Student, Teacher, and Advisor

Mar 14, 2017 | Posted by Nathan King


Amy Wormald is an in-the-trenches veteran of IEW, both learning from and teaching the Structure and Style Writing Method. She learned writing as a student through IEW and then used it as a teacher of a second-grade classroom. Now, Amy recommends IEW wholeheartedly to the homeschooling parents she works with through a public charter school. Catching her in the midst of her busy schedule, I had the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her impressively extensive and diverse IEW experience.

Amy, what is your current role?

I am an Educational Facilitator (EF) for the Academy of Arts and Sciences Charter School (AAS), serving over two thousand scholars throughout the state of California. In my role as EF, I provide academic guidance to Home Study scholars in grades kindergarten through twelve, as well as instructional, operational, and purchasing support to their learning coaches.

How did you discover IEW?

I used IEW for the first time when I was a student. I attended one of Andrew’s homeschool writing classes and loved it.

What was the biggest improvement you saw in students when you were a teacher implementing IEW?

I really thought that IEW helped with sentence versatility, and it allowed my students to come up with better words. They used IEW to help improve the quality of their writing. Their sentences were far more interesting, and they would always come up with substitutes for “boring” words.

After implementing IEW, did the perspectives of the teachers around you change? Were they more open to IEW?

A little bit. I started with some banned words lists, and we began to use them in our classroom. Other teachers on my second grade team started using that concept, so even though they didn’t use all of IEW, they still used some key concepts.

Was there any aspect of Structure and Style that particularly excited your students?

Mostly the banned word list—they started helping each other come up with more exciting words and would even catch “boring words” in the books they were reading. We’d read books aloud, and they’d actually catch [banned] words and say “We can write that better!” I loved how they were engaging with these concepts through their reading, writing, and literature.

What do the families you work with today like about IEW?

They like that it’s a program they can use with multiple grade levels. They can add other students over the years, and use it with all ages. Additionally they like that Teaching Writing: Structure and Style (TWSS) is a complete program and can be used to teach writing across the curriculum.

One of the parents of my current students who use IEW shared with me that he initially had no idea how to teach writing prior to getting the IEW curriculum, but now his son has become an excellent writer. This dad is now confident in his ability to teach his child how to write. It is exciting to see parents and students enjoying the writing process.

Do you teach the parents how to use IEW?

I would say that I’m here to support the parents. Usually they look to the curriculum itself, or they call IEW for specific questions. However, I'm always happy to answer any questions families have about how to implement IEW. I can show them how to integrate writing into other subjects as well. For example, I have one family who is teaching social studies via essays. They now integrate social studies lessons with IEW writing techniques.

What IEW resources have you found the most powerful or effective?

Mostly the TWSS, I think, because it’s so diverse. You can use it with multiple ages and multiple subjects. You can teach writing in science; you can teach it in social studies; and you can teach it in English proper. It covers all of the aspects of writing: sentence openers, better verb choices, key word outlining, etc. IEW helps reluctant writers by giving them a starting point—“Here’s what you write about.” When students start to learn to write using this method, they begin learning how to create their own ideas. They start making key word outlines, and they imitate other people’s writing in the process. That really helps them grow as writers. I think of it as I think of the great Renaissance artists. They were trained how to paint by copying the great artists before them. I feel that IEW’s method is similar in the way it trains students to write.

What are three great reasons to use IEW?

First off, it’s easy to implement in both the home and the classroom. Also, it’s a complete writing program that can be used across the curriculum. And finally, it has a simple structure to it that makes it easy to understand and follow.

Anything else you’d like to say about IEW?

I have a unique perspective because I started with IEW as a student. Then, I taught it in a school. Now I recommend it to parents. I’ve seen it from all perspectives, and it really works. I’ve never had negative feedback in any of those roles about IEW. I’ve never had a student that it didn’t work for.


Nathan King, the customer marketing manager for IEW, grew up as the son of a pastor in Wichita, Kansas. Following his graduation from Manhattan Christian College and Kansas State University with a degree in secondary education in history, he worked for thirteen years as a youth pastor in his hometown. Since he began working for IEW, Nathan has enjoyed both the marketing and customer service sides of his position. Nathan and his wife of thirteen years, Melissa, homeschool their four children, but it is his amazing wife that does the lion’s share of this vital mission!

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