Rethinking Writing Instruction

“Origins of the Readable Writing Course”

I recently wrote a detailed account of the origins of the Readable Writing Course, both to capture my own memories of an important invention and to help teachers using the method to understand it better.  The course grew over five years when I taught at the Berklee College of Music, but it had a distinct and dramatic beginning in the academic year 1994-1995.  I remember how it came about pretty clearly, which makes sense because that year was so productive. The frustrating fall of 1994 provided the wind-up, the setup, and the first inkling of new ideas about a course that began with microscopic sentence skills. The new method arrived  half by mistake in the spring of 1995, but I soon understood that the sentence approach allowed students to make rapid progress. Despite having stumbled into the course in a fog, I woke up and then set about conscious design.

The National Association of Scholars kindly published the essay in two parts.

The Origins, Part I

The Origins, Part II


Readable Writing Press
John G. Maguire
28 Sprague Ave
Chelmsford,MA 01824