Why Johnny Can't Write: How to Improve Writing Skills

Why Johnny Can't Write: How to Improve Writing Skills

Why Johnny Can't Write: How to Improve Writing Skills

Why Johnny Can't Write: How to Improve Writing Skills


The authors of this book, both experienced teachers, examine the controversy surrounding two popular methods for teaching writing -- the "process" approach and its offspring, Writing Across the Curriculum. Both have recently been called into question for their ineffectiveness. An alternative lesser-known procedure called "sentence combining," which has been proven successful in numerous studies over the past fifteen years, finally is gaining the attention it deserves. Using the sentence combining approach, the authors present a rationale for re-thinking and re-tooling the English classroom and consequently making the entire educational system work more effectively. This book is useful for teachers at any level, especially those involved in writing instruction. It is also worthwhile reading for those wishing to improve their writing skills. Doing the sample exercises will strengthen writing skills and provide a solid foundation for a lifelong program of language growth.


What is the cost of illiterate and semi-literate American workers? Benjamin Franklin warned in Poor Richard's Almanac:

A little neglect may breed mischief . . . for want of a nail, the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe, the horse was lost; and for want of a horse, the rider was lost.

The warning forebodes calamity when, for want of the rider, the battle is lost; and for want of the battle, the country is lost. It is beginning to appear that for want of literate American workers, an updated version of this adage may run along these lines:

For want of literacy skills, workers are lost; for want of workers, profits and companies are lost; for want of competitive companies, markets are lost; for want of markets, the country's economy is being helped to hell; and all for the want of literacy skills.

In a Boston Globe article, Professor Chall of Harvard reveals that over half of the adults in this country are unqualified for today's technical jobs because of their lack of reading and writing skills. At the same time the Bureau of Census reports that beginning in the 1990s the nation will start to experience labor shortages. The pool of 18-24-year-old workers will shrink from 30 million in 1980 to only 24 million in 1995 according to its projections. With 44% of American students not continuing their education past the high school level and . . .

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