Reading Writing and Argumentation


Reading aloud. Many studies indicate that when students read and are read to frequently by a teacher, their vocabulary and their grasp of syntax and sentence structure improves. Students who are read to become familiar with the sound and rhythm and complexity of language. By virtue of being exposed to a wide variety of writing types and styles, they come to understand that the use of language involves intentional choices made by the author, and is representative of the author’s time and place.”

Handwriting. Research shows that forming letters by hand, as opposed to typing them into a computer, not only helps young children develop their fine motor skills but also improves their ability to recognize letters — a capacity that, in turn, predicts reading ability at age five. But many schools are now emphasizing typing over writing. Last year, for example, our State Department of Education found that the state’s public schools no longer had teach cursive writing, and should ensure that students were “proficient in keyboard use” instead.

Argumentation. In a public sphere filled with vehemently expressed opinion, the ability to make a reasoned argument is more important than ever. Educational research on argumentation demonstrates that it helps students learn better, too. Tenth graders who are taught how to construct an argument as part of their lessons on genetics not only had better arguments but also demonstrated a better understanding of the material.