Tuesday, March 1, 2011

For Jordan and Julie

When I first decided to post about topics I found important, my friend Jordan Fabish--whose wonderful essay on dual reading I have posted on my web site--said with some skepticism, "Now there's another thing you will have to keep up." Typically, Jordan was more prescient than I was about my ability to post regularly, and it's been, ahem, a long time between topics.

I have, however, been inadvertently shamed into trying again by Julie Williams of Ramapo College who wrote me a really nice e-mail saying that she agreed with what I wrote about the voice on the page, even if it was written a year ago! So within the next day or so, I’ll post on a topic that I’m asked about a lot--readability formulas. And if I dawdle, I’m hoping Jordan and Julie will hold me to my promise and get me moving.

I do want to mention though for anyone who responds, please don't tell me what you think via e-mail. I will just start exchanging e-mails on the subject and, once again, forget about posting anything here, when my goal really is to get an exchange going among people who share my interest in best practices or current problems teaching reading and writing.

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About this blog: For years now, whenever I wanted to test out a new exercise or figure out how I’d like to address a new topic,I’ve been sending out an SOS to teachers I’ve worked with or met at conferences and online and asking them what they thought of my approach or if they had another way of addressing say improving students ability to stay focused while reading on the Web.

Probably later than it should have, it’s now occurred to me that a blog might be a good way to bring others into these online discussions, which, for me anyway, have been incredibly valuable. So every week or so, I’m going to post my thoughts on a topic that I consider really central to the teaching of reading and writing. In every post, I’ll include practical strategies for addressing the topic discussed.

My hope is that other instructors will respond with their thoughts and, over time, we can come up with a repository of teaching methods geared to specific objectives like teaching coherence in writing or using linguistic cues in reading and a host of others.