People often say that reading is fundamental and they are exactly right. You cannot do anything with your life without the ability to read. Reading isn’t just fundamental to education, it fundamental to life. While we all understand why reading is so important, I believe that we overlook the need for good writers.
When I was in college, the state made it mandatory for all students to pass a statewide writing test. Normally a student takes this test their freshman year of college, I put it off until senior year. Once you have accumulated 60 hours of credits, the state forces you to take a remediation writing class, if you have not taken or passed this writing test. Since I had not taken the writing test, I was forced into this class. Once the professor read my writing, she told me, you are a great writer and you will easily pass this test. Your ability to write will be the difference between a basic salary and a great salary. It wasn’t until years later that her words came into fruition but she was right all along. With this in mind, we need to focus on creative writing programs for kids. We can’t just focus on reading and math; we have to turn them all into capable writers.
Half of college is writing papers and for me this was a welcomed change from what I had experienced in high school where we were given mostly busy work and silly assignments. I wonder how much more would I have been engaged in school if creative writing programs for kids were forced on us like other programs were?
What I do know is that I have earned a lot of money because I know how to write. It is my hope that creative writing programs for kids will become popular with school systems. Like reading, writing flexes a child’s creative muscle and makes them put their knowledge into action.
If I were in charge of education, we would start having essay tests as early as 4th grade and we would have students expressing their knowledge versus simply filling in a multiple-choice answer sheet. I believe that are some school systems are lax and we need to reform them so that we will create a generation of great writers and great thinkers and not just ‘memorizers’ who simply regurgitate information.