Why is writing important?

In class a few weeks ago we had a class chat on writing and how and why it is important for students in grades k-12th grade a beyond. This got me to thinking more about writing. I feel that along with reading comprehension, writing skill is a predictor of academic achievement and essential for success. Students need and use writing for many purposes for example to communicate and share knowledge, to support comprehension and learning, to explore feelings and beliefs. In my classroom we use reading response journals in which the students responds to any given prompt and give their thoughts, comments, opinions and their feelings. Writing skill is also becoming a more necessary skill for success in a number of occupations. Many of my kids think that writing is just part of school but I have had many conversations about how writing is used in the real world. Unfortunately, there are far too many students in the United States today who do not write well enough to meet grade-level demands. The writing assessment scores for grades 8 and 12 of the 2011 NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) showed that the number of students who do not reach proficient for their grade level remains at very high levels: 73% of eighth graders and 73% of twelve graders. The Common Core literacy standards place a significant emphasis on teaching students in all subjects
how to write and how to use writing to learn. We incorporate writing everyday and I explain to the students why it is important. Many of my students ask why do they have to write. The first is teaching students how to write (learning to write); the second is teaching students how to use writing to learn content (writing to learn). Although the goals for each are different, instruction for both needs to happen simultaneously. It is often assumed
that the job of teaching students how to write belongs to English language arts teachers. To a certain extent that is true, ELA teachers are partly responsible to teaching their students to write however, the truth is, in my opinion is that they cannot do it alone and content teachers also need to support learning to write. So that they can effectively teach their students. I think for student to truly learn the skills they need in regards to writing teachers need to show examples of subject-specific writing,teach students how to write about subject-specific text, and provide feedback to
students about content based writing assignments. So why is writing important? Learning to write includes learning two sets of skills: composing skills using the writing process (prewriting,planning, drafting, revising), and also skills that include (punctuation, capitalization, spelling). A

foundational composing skill is the ability to apply
knowledge of text structure to write sentences(i.e.,knowledge of grammar), paragraphs, and longer passages of text. Knowledge of text structure also includes recognizing the differences among narrative, informational, and argument types of writing. Composing requires a great deal of thinking at the pre-writing, planning and drafting stages. I show my students step by step what it is that is expected of them. I made the mistake before of use assuming that they knew what they were supposed to do. So now since I have so many different types of learners in my classroom, I have the writing process written down, I tell my students verbally and I also show them examples so that everyone can see what it is supposed to look like. I’m sure I have a lot more work to do in order to prepare my students for high school but we will get there.

One thought on “Why is writing important?

  1. fellowtraveler8

    As a high school ELA teacher, I think the steps and varied pathways you are taking to get your students to a high school writing level are great. I appreciate and agree with your commentary that sometimes educators assume that the burden of student writing preparation should fall upon the English teachers. I think that notion is completely ridiculous and needs to change. Teaching writing is the responsibility of all teachers, no matter their subject area. Students need to know learn how to write and write to learn in and for every discipline. They also have to know how to code switch for different academic audiences.

    I think all the skills you are working on with your middle schoolers crucial; have you considered interdisciplinary writing assignments before? That’s something I would encourage you to try with your students that would help prepare them for high school.


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