Sooner or later, in education and/or employment settings, students’ writing abilities will be put to the test. And from what I’ve seen the past several years, a lot of them are going to fail. One reason for this: many schools are putting little or no emphasis on writing these days—an inevitable response to having tons of pressure on them to improve students’ math and reading skills, but little or no pressure to improve students’ writing skills.
In reality, though, this response not only shortchanges students with respect to writing, but also with respect to reading. This according to Writing to Read, a recent Carnegie Corporation report published by the Alliance for Excellent Education, which finds that writing is an often-overlooked tool for improving reading skills. And my recent experience bears this out—i.e., students whose schools have stressed writing in their curriculum have achieved greater reading gains than those of their peers at schools where writing has been, well, written off.
The Carnegie report also presents three writing instructional practices that enhance students’ reading:
- Have students write about the texts they read
- Teach students the writing skills and processes that go into creating text
- Increase how much students write
Check out the report, especially if you’ve been de-emphasizing writing lately. Who knows? It may even inspire you to do some writing of your own this summer—as in re-writing your writing curriculum.