Good Writing Skills Could Mean Job Success

Article excerpt

Byline: Rose Rennekamp

In these days of instant communication by cell phones and e- mail, it seems like no one wants to write anymore.

E-mail may involve typing words, but the shorthand commonly used can barely qualify as writing. In fact, the use of e-mail may even erode grammar, spelling and sentence structure skills.

Many teens don't recognize that they need solid formal writing skills in college and their careers. Scientists, social workers and salespeople all need to effectively communicate in writing.

According to The Education Trust, 17 percent of college freshmen are taking non-credit remedial courses in writing and grammar because they are not prepared for college-level work.

Human resources professionals say a large number of resumes are rejected simply because the applicant made numerous mechanical and spelling errors.

There also appears to be a gender gap in writing skills. Women consistently attain higher scores than males on tests of English usage, grammar and mechanics as well as on direct writing assessments. For example, the average score for women on the English portion of the ACT Assessment for the high school graduating class of 2002 was 20.6, compared to 19.7 for males. Even when male and female students had taken the same courses, females attained higher test scores than males.

The exact causes of this gender gap are not known, but young women are also much more likely to participate in writing activities outside of the classroom, such as working on a student newspaper.

Don't worry, there are still many ways that you can help your teen become a competent writer.

- Encourage reading. Studies have shown children who read and who are read to become better writers. Teens who read the newspaper and books learn more about writing. The best encouragement for your child is seeing you read regularly.

- Expose your teenagers to good writing by taking them to an author's reading at a bookstore or library. …