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The Importance of Learning Grammar and Other Writing Skills.

Marie Rackham

From: Marie Rackham
           Retired English Teacher
           (Bio and Qualifications)

Believe it or not, poor writing skills are rampant even at the University level and beyond. You don't have to take my word for it; I have supplied a few articles below that bring this to the forefront. Please feel free to read through the articles or even do a search yourself for articles on the lack of grammar or writing skills today.

Why Grammar? By Marie Rackham

"During the late 1960s and the early 1970s, education, influenced by the social changes of the '60s, went through a period where the teaching of grammar was thought to be stifling to creativity."

Papers R.J. Carson, 1998

"An educated person should be able to write well. For more than two decades I have been teaching at Whitman College, where most students are bright, but many are not good writers. Many of the same errors occur over and over, year after year: misspelled words (despite "spell-check"), incomplete sentences, improper citations and referencing, and unintentional plagiarism."

A doggie-dog world  by Michael Ackley
WND Exclusive Commentary

"Their vocabularies are limited and grammar is alien to them, as are punctuation and capitalization. Beyond "noun" and "verb," most cannot tell you any of the other parts of speech. Their English is so fractured, they make errors the grammarians have yet to name."

The Neglected "R": The Need for a Writing Revolution

"American education will never realize its potential as an engine of opportunity and economic growth until a writing revolution puts language and communication in their proper place in the classroom. Writing is how students connect the dots in their knowledge. Although many models of effective ways to teach writing exist, both the teaching and practice of writing are increasingly shortchanged throughout the school and college years. Writing, always time-consuming for student and teacher, is today hard-pressed in the American classroom. Of the three 'Rs,' writing is clearly the most neglected."

Download the report:
The Neglected "R": The Need for a Writing Revolution (.pdf/204K)

January 3, 2003, edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education 
 Why Johnny Can't Write, Even Though He Went To Princeton

"Almost everyone comes in well-trained to gather research in the library," says Judith A. Swan, a lecturer in Princeton's writing program. "But almost none of them are capable of turning that into a real paper with a thesis and an argument."

Irascible Professor  December 1, 2003
[Dr. Mark H. Shapiro - California State University, Fullerton]
Last spring the National Commission on Writing in America's Schools and Colleges reported that "more than 50 percent of first-year college students are unable to produce papers relatively free of language errors." The same study found that "proper grammar and usage" are the "writing skills college instructors most want from incoming freshmen."  Yet according to a survey of high school English teachers conducted by the ACT testing organization, only 69 percent teach grammar and usage.  The tally for punctuation posted higher at 83 percent, but that still means that nearly one fifth of all high school English teachers don't teach their students the basic mechanics of writing.  These figures don't account for teachers and schools that include but minimize instruction in these areas.

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