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Adherents worry that focusing too much on grammar or citing sources will stifle the writerly voice and prevent children from falling in love with writing as an activity.
Wanzer then asked the students to spend a few minutes writing anything they liked in response to the Lamott excerpt.
Lyse Armand, a rising senior at Westbury High School, leaned over her notebook.
She was planning to apply to New York University, Columbia and Stony Brook University and already had an idea of the story she would tell in her Common Application essay. Wanzer encounters juniors and seniors whose essays are filled with incomplete sentences — not an uncommon occurrence — she limits the time she spends covering dull topics like subject-verb agreement.
It would have something to do, she thought, with her family’s emigration from Haiti following the 2010 earthquake that devastated the island. “You hope that by exposing them to great writing, they’ll start to hear what’s going on.”•Three-quarters of both 12th and 8th graders lack proficiency in writing, according to the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress.
On a bright July morning in a windowless conference room in a Manhattan bookstore, several dozen elementary school teachers were learning how to create worksheets that would help children learn to write. Hochman, founder of an organization called the Writing Revolution, displayed examples of student work.
A first grader had produced the following phrase: “Plants need water it need sun to” — that is, plants need water and sun, too.But she was struggling with how to get started and what exactly she wanted to say.“What voice in my head? “I don’t have one.”Lyse needed a sense of “ownership” over her writing, Ms. And 40 percent of those who took the ACT writing exam in the high school class of 2016 lacked the reading and writing skills necessary to complete successfully a college-level English composition class, according to the company’s data.Poor writing is nothing new, nor is concern about it.More than half of first-year students at Harvard failed an entrance exam in writing — in 1874.But the Common Core State Standards, now in use in more than two-thirds of the states, were supposed to change all this.The root of the problem, educators agree, is that teachers have little training in how to teach writing and are often weak or unconfident writers themselves.According to Kate Walsh, president of the National Council on Teacher Quality, a scan of course syllabuses from 2,400 teacher preparation programs turned up little evidence that the teaching of writing was being covered in a widespread or systematic way.A major goal of this workshop — the teacher-training component of the Long Island Writing Project — was to get teachers writing and revising their own work over the summer so that in the fall they would be more enthusiastic and comfortable teaching the subject to children.“I went to Catholic school and we did grammar workbooks and circled the subject and predicate,” said Kathleen Sokolowski, the Long Island program’s co-director and a third-grade teacher.She found it stultifying and believes she developed her writing skill in spite of such lessons, not because of them.A separate 2016 study of nearly 500 teachers in grades three through eight across the country, conducted by Gary Troia of Michigan State University and Steve Graham of Arizona State University, found that fewer than half had taken a college class that devoted significant time to the teaching of writing, while fewer than a third had taken a class solely devoted to how children learn to write.Unsurprisingly, given their lack of preparation, only 55 percent of respondents said they enjoyed teaching the subject.“Most teachers are great readers,” Dr. “They’ve been successful in college, maybe even graduate school.