Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Learning to Write

When I look at the education level of many children around me, I wonder how they are going to function as adults. I get the feeling that governments manipulate data to make the reports favorable and therefore making the standing officials look good when in reality, we must be slipping. Sure, many adults used to only go to school until 8th grade, but have you seen what they had to study? The level of education for an 8th grader in the 1800s would challenge many Liberal Arts college graduates. Why do most colleges offer high school level courses for the incoming graduates? They expect a large percentage of the incoming students will not be ready for college.

So why am I mentioning this? I think kids need to be challenged to write starting as early as Kindergarten. Writing forces you to think on your own, to come up with an organized thought process, to develop an opinion and to be creative. Yes, grammar and punctuation count, but they are secondary to the actual content of the writing. I had a fourth grade teacher who taught me to enjoy grammar and writing. He encouraged us to write and had large stacks of paper in his classroom free for us to use. I remember him telling us to write on anything we could, newspapers, boxes, and at the same time to practice our penmanship. He let me learn as fast as I wanted in math, taking the time to grade the stacks of homework I would bring in most mornings. Learning under his enthusiasm was fun and exciting and my future school life was shaped by his example.

Whatever your age, write!