Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Writing Quandary

I am in a quandary about how to help my children learn to write.


I often read things that have been written by fellow Americans and I think gosh, they let this person out of high school? No, they let this person out of college. With an advanced degree. Ouch.


To be honest, I want to teach my children to write better than that. I am not necessarily concerned with all the formalities of our language- passive tense, comma usage, etc- but I do want my children to be able to communicate their thoughts clearly and effectively.


We have spent time studying the masters- like Charles Dickens and Shel Silverstein. And I would like to add Charlotte Bronte, James Fenimore Cooper, Mark Twain, and so forth to that list.


But this is where the quandary comes in... Americans don’t talk or write like that anymore. Seriously. Would Ben Franklin be published today? I doubt it. Certainly not Hermann Melville (and we can all breathe a sigh of relief about that). And should the children decide to go to college, they’ll need to be able to write like a modern American. Oh, does that mean texting? Nevermind.


I don’t know. Maybe I’ll buy a curriculum.

15 comments:

Andi said...

The best writing class I took in college was called, The Personal Essay. I'm not a great writer at all, but this class was all about communication above mechanics. (Mechanics were important, but secondary.)

I was writing about myself & my life- a topic I knew very, very well & we all got copies of everyone's essay to edit & revise.

Almost all of my high school English classes had us keep a journal of some kind. We wrote every day for 5 minutes at the beginning of class. The journals weren't graded- the teachers just wanted us to write. I actually wish I would have started this when I was much, much younger- I think it encourages a love for writing & expression. By the time I got to high school though, it was much harder for me to do.

John has kept a journal since he was very, very young & he is a great (and published!) writer. I think his journal keeping is a big part of that.

On a fools hope said...

I am with you 100 percent. Confused, am I.

Shirley Landis VanScoyk said...

I think the best thing you can tell kids about writing is to tell them to write the truth - what is really happening. If they don't get into the habit of going the easy route and using cliches and platitudes, writing will be easier. In other words, if they find they are writing that something is LIKE something, they might as well say what it is.

Also, I think it's a good idea to point out the practicality of good communication - it's just simpler in the long run!

joven said...

beautiful blog..pls visit mine and be a follower.. thanks and God bless..

http://forlots.blogspot.com/

毛彥宇毛彥宇 said...

愛情是盲目的,但婚姻恢復了它的視力。 .......... . . . ............. .......... ..........

家唐銘 said...

你文章很棒的~繼續分享給大家~~~~............................................................

宛淑芳真 said...

Better say nothing than nothing to the purpose.............................................................

Miss Chapman said...

I think you should just widen their vocabulary. Often we can't quite express ourselves because we don't know the right words. So we'll use, "I don't know, like I guess it's okay" instead of, "I'm a bit apprehensive because my feelings are torn". For lack of a better example.
Hope I made sense and expressed myself clearly or else I'll feel like a complete git.
;)
With Love,
Miss Chapman

吳沛黃以富民 said...

成功可招引朋友,挫敗可考驗朋友......................................................................

李振婷李振婷 said...

吾錯吾錯...我平時都好鐘意用呢d~而家學多好多~thx+0+............................................................

阮艳 said...

笑口常開~~天天開心............................................................

洪勳劉耀德劉耀德華 said...

幫你推個文~~期待更新!加油啊!..................................................................

rasjacobson said...

I am a teacher in a local community college where I teach English-101, Intro to Composition Courses. Honestly, the best way to get your kids to be wonderful writers is to get them reading great literature and to get them writing. In journals, on napkins, on walls (just kidding), but it really makes a difference.

Another amazing thing to have kids do is to have them copy a favorite passage from a book EXACTLY as it appears in their book -- with punctuation and everything and then have them either write a little bit about what they liked about the passage or how it was related to a favorite part of the book. (Or not-so-favorite par of the book.) Five to ten minutes a day.

Also, you can have them read people's blogs and respond to them by using proper grammar skills. Feel free to use mine, as my blog is called Lessons From Teachers and Twits it is geared toward education, and would not be inappropriate for most kids ages 10 and up to try to respond to. You can look over their response before they press send, maybe help them to find one or two errors, and then let it fly. There is something exciting for kids posting into cyberspace. Like their words matter.

Just a thought! I'll be on the lookout for little 'ghetto kidz'! LOL!

http://rasjacobson.wordpress.com

冰微 said...

you got it!i like it!!!

Rick said...

You make a good point. Someday our dictionary will include words like "lol" "btw" "thx" and so forth. Language is dynamic. It is always changing. And, btw, I lol'ed when reading this post.