Thursday, May 14, 2009

Topic: Why Teach Writing?

10-second review: Why did American education emphasize reading? Because children should receive the wisdom of society, not challenge or participate in it.

Title: “The Impulse to Compose and the Age of Composition.” K B Yancey. (2008 NCTE Presidential Address.) Research in the Teaching of English (February 2009), 316-338.

Summary/Quote: “As E. Jennifer Monaghan and E. Wendy Sail explain: ‘Society has focused on children as readers because, historically, it has been much more interested in children as receptors than as producers of the written word.” 318.

The author suggests real writing for real purposes and audiences. Using more and more student research as the subject of student writing. Composing multi-media messages. Exploring new composition models.

Comment: Sounds good to me. I think it would be interesting to model alternative composition formats in English education journals. I am not sure readers will appreciate them. They are used to getting in and getting out in the least possible time. Readers are used to the format of “Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them and tell them what you told them.” In a sense the author used an alternative format in this article, multi-media, in that she used illustrations with her text. Frankly, I ignored the illustrations because they added very little to the ideas in print. I still think illustrations are just that—supplements that support the text. RayS.

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