Re: snapshots

Michael Day (mday@SILVER.SDSMT.EDU)
Sat, 6 Jan 1996 13:06:17 -0700

I'm intrigued with the problem of reading => writing as it's been set up.
I have to agree with John and Marcy that the "intuitive" sense of how
to write well comes from reading, reading, and more reading. And yet we
have very little control over what students will have read, and how much.
It has to start young. But I've been intrigued by one possibility: the
resurgence in epistolary culture that Email seems to be bringing about.
Over the past few years, I have been trying to develop Email exercises
for my students which would draw upon their natural curiosity to find
out more from a remote correspondent, and pull them into communicating
in writing. Of course, the examples they get from correspondents aren't
always those we'd want them to imitate, but we could talk about that.
One problem is that the pen-pal type setups are often unsuccessful since there
no clear goal.

I know, I am rambling, but I want to ask if others feel that reading
and writing in this "neo epistolary" mode can help with the literacy
problem we're all recognizing? If so, how? How do we design assignments
to have the maximum effect in the short time we see our students?

And further... Is it worth suggesting a middle/secondary school curriculum
which would incorporate this "neo-epistolary" kind of literacy?

I know, too many questions. But that's what this discussion is all about,

Happy New Year!


Michael J. Day
South Dakota School of Mines and Technology