7 A Child Who Is Taught To Read Properly Will Be An Adult Who Writes With Decorum

Shalyn Spratt

Reading is dynamic. From the first book to ever be written to the most recent publication in 2022, the words and the story behind the piece are, as Julie Myatt Barger (who is an associate professor of English at Middle Tennessee State University) has said, ever-changing. This means that the education system should always be adapting and developing its reading and writing curriculum. But it’s not. Reading and writing are interconnected, but it is difficult to do one when you cannot do the other. Struggling readers are generally pushed to the side in school because teachers, unfortunately, have to focus on other aspects of learning that aren’t nearly as important but take up a large portion of children’s education. This is known as testing. Testing often takes precedence over meaningful educational experiences with reading and writing.

Teachers have their hands tied with this obstacle. While students should be achieving specific reading goals each year, they are instead having their class time devoted to test preps and practices. Standardized testing is straight to the point, whereas students need to be able to make more connections throughout a text. If teachers were able to focus their time on helping students analyze a text deeper rather than just main ideas, students would be able to decipher readings in a way that would lead to their success after K-12. Oftentimes, students who attend universities after graduating high school are shocked and slightly embarrassed when they realize they do not seem to understand the material in their higher level education classes. While it is normal for the material to be more intense, students struggle with the essential purposes of the courses.

Everyone knows that there are general education classes that are required when one gets to college. These courses often include at least one beginner writing class. First year writing courses should be a transitional period for high school students to get used to the reading/writing levels in university. Oftentimes, this is where students should learn academic and professional discourse. An introduction course should touch on the topics of genre, style, purpose, and audience. Without the lessons on these specific concepts, students are just working with the level of ELA education they received from K-12 schooling. While some may have been privileged and led a wonderful life of reading and writing, others have struggled since elementary school to keep up with their reading and writing since they were not taught anything other than surface skills for testing purposes. Students at the first year level need to be able to be exposed to literary texts and writing opportunities that will expand their learning to the next level. Failing to prepare students with the correct focuses in reading and writing will affect their future endeavors once again.

While it is important that introduction course professors pave the way for students, other professors need to continue the work when students continue on to each level. Introduction course professors can only do so much in one semester. On average, there are still 7 semesters of work to go. Exposing students to different theories of reading and writing over the course of the semesters will help them to understand how writing works enough for them to continue their own research as their adult life progresses. Students need motivation and purpose to continue their learning even after they have left school. A child who is taught to read properly will be an adult who writes with decorum.

To sum up how to make good readers and good writers, let’s focus on these bullet points:

  • Make sure students know from the very beginning of their education that reading is rarely linear. Readers must come back to different topics and ideas several times throughout their life to acknowledge the process.
  • Guide students throughout their reading journey to understand different perspectives and interpretations. Students should be able to infer.
  • Reflect on reading experiences and allow students to use their prior knowledge to help them process future goals.

Students need these opportunities to grow as readers, writers, and thinkers. The goal at all levels should be to develop life skills in literacy, rather than just academically. Reading and writing will affect students way past their time in school. Reading, in all ways such as actively and collaboratively, will always be a crucial part of writing.

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Good Ideas About Writing by Shalyn Spratt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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