Thursday, June 13, 2013

To improve writing, invest in libraries

Published in the Austin-American Statesman, June 17, 2013


If our goal is to improve students' expository writing ("For students to succeed, stop teaching the test," June 12), we should increase the amount of reading they do.


Contrary to popular opinion, we don't learn to write by writing: studies show that increasing the amount of writing students do does not improve writing quality, and the study of the structure of texts produces very limited results. The system to be acquired is simply too complex to be taught; it is, rather, acquired or absorbed through reading.


Every good writer is a dedicated reader.


The kind of reading that really counts is reading we do because we want to, reading in which we are very interested in what the text says.


This means that improving writing requires that we help students get excited about learning and make sure they have access to good books.  This means investing in libraries and librarians.



Stephen Krashen

Professor Emeritus

University of Southern California




Krashen, S. 1984. Writing: Research, Theory and Applications. Beverly Hills, CA: Laredo Publishing Company.
Krashen, S. 2004. The Power of Reading. Second edition. Libraries Unlimited and Heinemann Publishing Company.



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