‘Back to Basics’ When Teaching Kids to Write

English: School room.

English: School room. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you are at all interested in literacy and education, you should find this article from the Atlantic really fascinating. It talks about correcting the pendulum-swing of faddish educational practices, and going back to teaching students how to write – how to build proper sentences and paragraphs and how to organize your thoughts into essay form. Nouns and verbs and prepositions and clauses and all that old-fashioned stuff.

It’s pretty convincing, and it’s quite interesting to follow the efforts of a staff of high school teachers in New York as they analyze why their students are unable to write effectively.

Unfortunately the issue is framed by some as a creative writing vs. essay writing battle. Emotions and self-expression vs. disciplined intellectual structure. I think the real sweet spot is in the middle, balancing both aspects of writing.

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Banned Books Week

“Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.”  – ALA website

Why not read a banned book this week? There are lots to choose from. Here’s a list of “Banned Books That Shaped America”. (I’m rereading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.)

And here’s an interesting article about some banned children’s books.

All writings posted here are © Kim Thompson, unless otherwise indicated. For all artwork on this site, copyright is retained by the artist.