A radical rethinking of the teaching of writing

Monthly archive for October 2015

On the 70% active verb ratio

(This is an excerpt from the verb chapter of my new book, which is addressed to students: Ten Things Successful College Writers Do Differently.)   Build most of your sentences on active verbs You’ve no doubt heard of the active verb from prior teachers, but just hearing about it is […]

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Should college comp be a straight-line extension of high-school writing? No.

The readability course goes at the problem of teaching kids to write from a different angle. Most instructors naturally enough make college comp a straight-line extension of high-school writing. The assumption often stated in the classroom goes like this:  “You’ve had some instruction in writing before, and now we are […]

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Grammar basics in Writing 101, but indirectly

Grammar basics in Writing 101, but indirectly

When you discover that half the students in your Writing 1-101 class are truly devoid of grammar and don’t understand even the noun+verb basics of a sentence, what then? Some teachers stop and give grammar lessons for a while, trying to catch the bottom half of the class up. Others […]

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Readability, step by step

Skill acquisition proceeds stepwise. Each new skill is introduced. Students  practice it until mastered, then practice it in combination with the  preceding week’s   skills. New skills  are introduced one at a time, from easy to harder to hardest. Each new habit is practiced until mastered. Students can do all […]

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Can students be taught to be interesting writers?

Many people think not, but I know that they can. First I’ll answer the usual objections, then give the evidence. Being interesting is a talent. Not true. It can be trained for. Being interesting has to do with the subject. Some subjects are boring and some are interesting, so if […]

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John G. Maguire
Chelmsford MA
maguirejohn@comcast.net
978-761-4515