10 IEW tools you wished you knew about sooner- monkeyandmom

10+ IEW Tools You Wish You Knew About| Enriching SSS (IV)

Did you know that you can enrich your writing experience by using various IEW tools regardless of the writing program you’re using?

We’ve been using the Institute for Excellence in Writing for two years and I’m continually discovering new gems on their website. They have so many valuable tools for writing and grammar.

We’re well into our IEW writing series and so far we’ve talked about:

Now we’re taking a short pit-stop into the world of add-ons that can enrich and enhance your writing lessons. With tools such as Fix It! Grammar, live lessons, an app, and A Word Write Now, we can make Structure and Style for Students even more versatile.

Please note that if you take a Premier Package you will have access to some of these included there already.

10 IEW tools you wish you knew about

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1. A Word Write Now

Are your kids feeling overwhelmed with finding new words to use in their compositions?

A Word Write Now is a different kind of a thesaurus that kids can use to find interesting words and use them in their writing. I love that they are categorized, making this an easy and useful tool to have handy.

The book isn’t overwhelmingly big at a little over 100 pages, but the words have been selected with care so that beginner writers get the most use out of it without being overwhelmed. I appreciate the effort that went into making this book more than a thesaurus by adding short definitions and descriptions of important writing devices, like characters, some grammar refreshments, and literature appreciation through the quotes provided throughout the book.

We keep our A Word Write Now handy on the desk for easy access when Marc is writing. This little thesaurus has helped him find better ways to express certain thoughts and I think it has done more than provide a quick reference for words, but it helped Marc be more thoughtful about what he writes and how it sounds to the reader.

A Word Write Now

2. Play it Write Card Game

These awesome cards are on the lines of Fix It! Grammar cards and they are very handy for playing with the stylistic techniques and grammar for writing that kids learn in Structure and Style for Students.

Unfortunately, Play It Write is being discontinued, so if you can, grab the ones in stock while it lasts.

Marc is often pulling these out for play and IEW has free game ideas you can download for these. He loves playing “war” with them and he is having so much fun when Mr. Pudewa cards come to play. He learned the names and meanings of stylistic techniques and dress-ups that he didn’t even learn yet in SSS from this set of cards.

For example, he learned what an alliteration or a very short sentence is even before he learned about them from grammar or writing.

Play It Write Game cards iew tools

3. Student Resource Notebook

Wondering how to organize all those colored papers from the student packet?

The Student Resource Notebook is a must-have if you want to have all your important details of SSS in one place, easy to access at all times. Unfortunately, this is another product IEW has chosen to discontinue, but you can still find it available in other shops.

The Student Resource Notebook is a favorite of ours and it sits on Marc’s desk, ready to be used when he is stuck or needs some inspiration. Together with A Word Write Now they make a powerful toolkit for writers.

Here’s what’s inside:

  • an overview of all the stylistic techniques
  • samples for each structural model
  • strong verbs lists along with the banned verbs that kids shouldn’t use in their compositions
  • -ly adverb lists
  • quality adjectives lists
  • five senses and emotions- words to describe these
  • decorations and examples of these with included exercises (alliteration, simile, metaphor etc)
  • transitional words and phrases
  • grammar rules
  • charts and checklists, including symbols to use when editing and note-taking
  • composition checklists
Student Resource Notebook IEW

4. IEW’s Writing App

Wait, what? IEW has an app?

YES! One of the IEW tools we use and love is their writing app.

If you prefer to have all the resources at your fingertips, the IEW app is where you’ll find a list of all dress-ups, structural models, and even a thesaurus for quick and easy access.

I love using this when we need a quick list of words (for example prepositions) or Marc forgets how to use a certain dress-up and needs some extra help.

IEW writing tools app

5. Free IEW Tools: Printables – Use Them!

Did you know IEW has point-based checklists for easy grading? How about the SSS Student Sample texts?

I love SSS’s included checklists, but we have to report grades, so I made use of IEW’s free printable for teachers which has a point system for every checklist item. This allows me to quickly and effectively grade Marc’s work.

Another useful, free printable, for parents, is the Sample Texts. For every lesson, you can see how other students at your child’s level wrote a composition. This has been extremely helpful for me because it appeased a lot of my fears. Seeing how other kids write and the work they produce helped me avoid over-correcting Marc’s work.

point checklist and samples for IEW SSS

6. Live, Online Lessons for Structure and Style for Students

You don’t feel like teaching SSS yourself or you feel overwhelmed? Let IEW teach your kids, live!

I think many people feel a bit overwhelmed by the layout of the IEW’s website and the many options offered that they don’t even know IEW is also offering LIVE classes for Structure and Style for Students curriculum.

These are live classes held by certified IEW instructors, taking the stress of teaching and editing away from parents. The role of the parent with the live classes is mostly for accountability, making sure kids are present and do their homework and helping only when they get stuck.

This option is great to have for busy or simply overwhelmed parents or for children that prefer outside teachers to explain concepts to them.

Make sure you enroll in time for the classes because they are time-sensitive.

7. Writing Source Packet

Do you want to work on different texts than the ones provided in the Structure and Style for Students? No problem!

One of the IEW tools you’ll love is the Writing Source Packet because it has reproductible texts for units 1 to 6. You can also use these as supplemental writing for kids that love writing or as alternatives to the texts in SSS. There are several texts to choose from for each level and unit.

I told you SSS was versatile!

Writing Source Packet IEW tools you didn't know about

8. Portable Walls for… Everything

The portable walls are another of our favorite IEW tools!

The walls are cardstock tri-folders that act as writing stations directly on your kid’s desk. I love that we can use this as a quick refrence guide and that there are different ones for SSS, grammar, essays, and more.

portable walls IEW tools

9. Magnum Opus Magazine & Writing Contests

Are you worried that your advanced writers need more challenge? Are your kids competitive? IEW has you covered with writing contests and publishing opportunities for even the youngest of writers.

The Magnum Opus, which is Latin for “great work,” is an opportunity for students to have their best work published and read by peers worldwide either in a published magazine or in the weekly e-newsletters.

Did you know that the Institute for Excellence in Writing holds several writing contests for students of all ages?

In addition to the Magnum Opus Magazine, IEW also holds a speech contest and more publishing opportunities for aspiring and accomplished writers between the ages of 8 and 18. You can check that out on the IEW contest page.

magnum opus magazine - iew contests monkeyandmom

10. Fix It! Grammar Program and Cards

There’s no such thing as writing without grammar, and IEW places great importance on grammar, but not in the traditional sense. Through their Fix It! Grammar curriculum they introduce grammar through hands-on practical examples that make sense to kids. No more disjointed sentences that make no sense!

Kids are asked to work directly on texts, but not any texts! In a year of grammar instruction, they will rewrite a full story (that makes sense) out of the sentences they corrected and edited. And what’s more, Fix It! Grammar coordinates perfectly with SSS (that’s why it’s included in the suggested weekly schedule for every SSS lesson).

This is what holistic writing instruction looks like!

Fix It! Grammar is our favorite grammar program and Marc is working through the levels of this at his own pace.

And that’s not all! Did you know IEW has a set of Fix It! Grammar Cards that works perfectly well with both the grammar program and Structure and Style for Students?  Make sure to check them out because they’re a gem to have on hand. 

Fix it grammar review

11. Theme-Based Writing as Enrichment

IEW offers theme-based writing lessons that cater to specific topics or events in history.

The theme-based writing curriculum can be used instead of SSS if you pair it with TWSS, or you can use it alternately with SSS to keep the texts and themes interesting for your children.

You can choose to take a break from the Structure and Style for Students for a year and hop in with some Theme Based Writing books instead, maybe coordinate them with your history studies.

Moreover, if you want to spice up your writing and challenge your kids, you can choose from the multitude of theme-based writing lessons that IEW offers and pair them up with SSS for extra writing challenges.

These books follow the same format as SSS lessons, so kids that are familiar with SSS should have no issue going through these.

Theme-Based Writing Lessons (IEW)


I love that IEW has so many options when it comes to writing! From incorporated grammar to enriching supplements, apps, and even card games or contests, I feel that this is one of the most comprehensive and versatile writing curricula out there.

What are your favorite IEW tools to enrich writing? Did you already know some of these? Are you using any new ones I don’t know about? Let me know in the comments.

best tools for homeschool

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  1. I had no idea there was an app for IEW! Thanks so much for sharing all of these details in one place. Makes it super easy! I love the structure and style video classes for my children!

  2. Hi there! I’m so excited to learn about the extras that IEW has to offer, especially the “free printable for teachers which has a point system for every checklist item.” that you mention above. I can’t find it anywhere on their website though! Can you help point me in the right direction? Thank you!

    1. Hi Leigh!

      You should have access to it with your level of Structure and Style for Students. If you us the blue page in front of your Teacher’s Book you get access to multiple downloads. They have this name “SSS-(LEVEL)_Checklists.pdf”

      Let me know if you need more help finding it.

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