Improving High School Reading and Writing

This is the VOA Special English EDUCATION REPORT.

An American expert has suggestions for helping high school students read and write better. Paul Thomas is assistant professor of education at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development published Mr. Thomas's suggestions in its magazine, Classroom Leadership. The association is a nonprofit educational organization in Alexandria, Virginia.

Mr. Thomas says students' reading and writing skills continue to develop. He says the major source for learning these skills is the traditional textbook. But he believes that textbooks are not enough. Mr. Thomas suggests that other books be used in addition to textbooks.

Students, he says, should not read a description of a historical person's words written by someone else. Instead, they should read a book containing the true words of that person. He also says movies and drama can help increase students' interest in the subject they are reading.

Mr. Thomas urges teachers to continue developing their knowledge of the best methods for teaching reading and writing. He says this leads to good experiments in the classroom.

He believes that high school teachers are required to teach too much material in reading and writing. He urges them to call for a reduction in the material. At the same time, he suggests using plans for teaching by concept – the central idea. For example, he says some students he has known have reached a new level of learning. This is because they became deeply interested in the subject they were reading.

Mr. Thomas urges teachers to make sure students know that reading and writing are not valued only by the English department. He says reading and writing must become an important part of learning activities. In addition, teachers themselves should be active readers and writers.

The magazine that published Mr. Thomas's article is one of a number of publications of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. One-hundred-sixty-thousand educators belong to the organization. They come from more than one-hundred-thirty-five countries. The Association helps educators develop more effective ways of teaching and learning.

This VOA Special English EDUCATION REPORT was written by Jerilyn Watson.

Voice of America Special English

Source: EDUCATION REPORT – October 9, 2003: Improving High School Reading and Writing
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