‘Good readers are sometimes good writers, but good writers are always good readers!’
I will never forget this unknown quote that was shared on the first day of my Reading Specialist Master’s Program at San Diego State University. While I had signed up to become a Reading Specialist, I had no idea my training was going to involve so much writing. I remember thinking, ‘Isn’t that a different program?’
Over the next three years I learned the truth of that statement as I worked in a clinical setting with struggling readers. Each session with a struggling reader began with a writing activity, never a reading activity. The writing showed what the student knew, rather than starting them with what they didn’t know. It completely changed the way I saw reading and writing as a teacher, then later as a parent when I had my own children.
Reading and Writing are two very different skills. Reading is more of a passive mental activity where, once you learn to recognize the shapes of letters and their sounds, you are able to sit back and let the author take you on a journey. Writing is much different, it is both a physical and mental activity. It requires a student to use all their reading, grammar, spelling, and punctuation skills to form a thought. Where do I begin? How to I express feelings? How do I capture the reader’s attention and keep it throughout? These questions can feel overwhelming to a student without the proper tools.
Just as a mechanic cannot fix a car without the proper tools, a writer can not form ideas on paper without the proper tools as well. And just as a mechanic must have practice using the tools in the proper way, so must a writer have much practice in using their writing tools as well.
Veritas Press Grammar and Writing classes are just what a growing reader and writer needs to prepare for success. Shurley English is the curriculum used to help students become confident in identifying parts of speech, using correct punctuation, and organizing sentences properly. IEW (Institute of Excellence in Writing) is a phenomenal program that provides students with the tools and confidence needed to organize their writing for narrative writing, research report writing, how to take notes properly, how to rewrite material read in their own words, and how to add robust elements to our writing in editing.
As students begin their Grammar and Writing classes, they develop the necessary tools for both reading and writing. As they progress through the years they continue with the same curriculums in Grammar school building on these skills in difficulty and complexity each year resulting in years of practice using the same organizational structures to assure their confidence and competence in using them.
As both a teacher and mom to grammar school students at VSA, I have seen first hand, how my students and my children are growing into incredible readers and writers. And while I love teaching literature, I truly believe that our best well rounded readers are developed within our Grammar and Writing classes!
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