Structure & Style – Part 1

Structure and Style: Year 1 Level A (part 1) – online writing course

“My daughter has been participating in this fun online class this past term and her writing has improved beyond measure!

The course is set in an online class so the children have fun learning together for 1.5 hours. It is great value and the feedback on each assignment is detailed and helpful.

The kids really enjoy their online teacher Richard Orr, who is a skilled facilitator and writer. This course is great for struggling and brilliant writers.”

Comments from Michelle Hansen, a parent of a term 3 student advertising the course on Facebook.

Course goals

Students will learn:

  • How to structure a story using the Story Sequence Chart
  • How to select facts from an article
  • How to structure a paragraph for a report
  • How to improve descriptive language
  • How to link ideas within a sentence
  • How to write a title
  • New vocab

Who is the course for?

In general it is suitable for 9 to 12-year old students performing at or above the Year 5 National Standard for reading. No previous IEW (see next) experience is necessary.


This course uses curriculum from the Institute for Excellence in Writing or ‘IEW’. If you aren’t familiar with IEW, it is a proven and highly-rated writing curriculum, used for over 25 years. Please see the reviews on IEW’s company Facebook page – they have a 4.8 out of 5 rating.

My sons were struggling with writing at primary school. We started homeschooling them, using IEW to teach writing. Their writing was transformed! I have since become a Registered Instructor so that I can teach writing to others using the IEW method.

Visit this page for more information about IEW.

When is the course held?

For Term 3 – 2021

Wednesdays for 10 weeks: starting 26th July, ending 29th September.
4pm – 5.30pm* NZ time

* Classes last for up to 1-1/2 hours depending on the lesson. They will be held in a live online Zoom classroom. There will also be some homework – please see below.

Course content

The course completes the first part of IEW’s Structure and Style for Students: Year 1 Level A, including Units 1 to 3, and the first two lessons of Unit 4.

Unit 1: Note Making and Outlines – teaches students how to take notes (a ‘keyword outline’) from source texts, and then retell them. Beware of the greedy dog and giant cacti.

Unit 2: Writing from Notes – students will take notes from source texts, then rewrite these. They will also learn the first two stylistic techniques (these are called dress-ups). We will encounter venomous scorpions, annoying flies, and rude foxes.

Please note that Units 1 and 2 are a gateway to the IEW method. They get the students started and are fairly straight forward. After completing these units, students will have gained some confidence through taking notes and writing paragraphs, and will be ready to learn about some important structural models.

Unit 3: Retelling Narrative Stories – students learn how to structure a story with the help of a big, angry, slathering dog. All will be revealed. Plus they learn another dress-up, and one of my personal favourites.

Unit 4: Summarizing a Reference – students will read a source text and learn how to select facts from this, limiting them to a set number. They are then taught how to structure a paragraph which reports facts. They will also learn another dress-up. Please note that Unit 4 of IEW’s programme includes four lessons and this course will teach the first two of these four. The other two will be taught in part 2.

Who is the instructor?

Me! I am a homeschooling dad of 2 years, and a Registered IEW Instructor. See my page for more about me.


Wait, what? Yes there will be homework, but this is where students get to practise what they learn in class… and that’s a good thing because all of that valuable knowledge gets lodged deeper and deeper inside of their brains.

For weeks 1 to 4, there will be up to approximately 30 minutes of homework per week.

For weeks 5 to 10, there will be approximately 1 – 2 hours of homework per week.

Homework needs to be submitted two days before the student’s lesson. So if their lesson is on a Wednesday, it needs to be sent by the end of Monday.

Students need to hire an editor

That sounds a bit serious. Don’t panic. An editor’s job is to simply read the student’s completed homework and correct the spelling and grammar mistakes. Students will need to find (from week 4) someone appropriate; mum, dad, grandparents or a helpful older sibling. Naturally, students will need to compensate the editor by spending the same amount of time it takes to edit (usually less than 15 minutes) doing some jobs around the house, or the like. But it will all be worth it! I will provide more information about this in the course.

What students will need to participate

  • Lessons will be delivered online, so students will need to access Zoom, which is like Skype – I will send instructions.
  • A webcam and microphone.
  • An Internet connection, which can support streaming video of multiple people.
  • Use of an email account.
  • Scanner or digital camera in order to email me homework.
  • Refill paper and pen.
  • Google Docs – the student shares their homework here.

Parents and caregivers

To help their child successfully complete this course, it is expected that parents or caregivers are responsible for ensuring:

  • Students attend class on-time. They should be logged into Zoom, with their folder and student material (see below), pencil and refill paper 1 minute before the start time.
  • Students complete their homework and submit this on time – see Homework, above.
  • Assist with correcting any inappropriate student behaviour.
  • I, the instructor, am contacted if there are questions, or concerns to be raised.

Parents or caregivers are permitted to attend class with their child.

Class size

This will range from 6 to 10 students.

Cost and what students receive

Students will learn practical writing skills which they can use in their everyday writing and verbal communication. These should last a lifetime!

Cost per NZ student: NZ$360 including the IEW student book delivered NZ-wide.

Instalments for NZ fees:
$150 by 21/7/21
$100 by 18/08/21
$110 by 1/09/21

The course includes:

Does this course teach the NZ Curriculum?

Whilst this writing course is designed to develop important lifelong writing skills, I cannot confirm that it specifically teaches the NZ Curriculum.

Ask a question

Ask a question via the contact page.

Register for the course

Please note that the running of this course depends on the number of students enrolled, and therefore registration is subject to confirmation by Writing Excellence.