Thursday, December 1, 2011

Middle School Readers

Begin forwarded message:
From: "Nell"
Date: December 1, 2011 12:43:16 PM EST
Subject: RE: Concord reading

Art, I used The Concord Review with my middle school students as a way for them to have better reading and writing skills. Not an easy go but it worked. The topics were of interest to the students (topics were self-chosen) and their capacity to read non-fiction increased. Their writing skills needed much more work due to their previous encounter with research having been limited to power point presentations with information pulled from various sources on the internet. That was a much harder habit for them to break. If we are to develop the minds and abilities of our students in academic writing we must adopt Will's suggestion of having students write a papers beginning in first grade with a one-page paper and continuing through high school where a 12-page paper would be required. This is Will's one page per grade idea [The Page Per Year Plan©]. We need to have support systems for students like writing labs where they can get the assistance they need. When I was teaching college classes the students in the sixteen-week courses had 15 weeks to write their papers with many submissions and comments from me regarding their resources, their rhetoric, etc. If writing is thinking written down, we have to go beyond the typical creative writing experiences that are based on feelings and emotional responses (nothing wrong with this but often it is the only writing experiences students have) to have students understand the purpose of research and non-fiction writing. It would also help if we were to re-introduce rhetoric as well.

Once you read the articles by the HS students [published in The Concord Review] you will be so impressed with their capacities and intellectually stimulated by the essays’ content.

[Nell Petry, Ph.D.]


On Behalf Of Art Snyder
Sent: Wednesday, November 30, 2011 6:03 PM
Subject: Concord reading

Thanks to Nell and Will on the matter of reading those Concord Review articles. As I read the list of article titles earlier today, I knew right away that they'd provide good intellectual stimulation. I won't discount them because the authors are high-schoolers; excellence is excellence.

--Art Snyder

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