Thinking about writing and reading

How do we write? Sometimes, I write on paper–in my calendar, on a lists, or on a letter or card to someone special. When thinking, I like to make notes on pads of yellow paper and draw connections between and across ideas. And I like post-it’s and cards, for smaller tasks and reminders. Often, I compose at the keyboard, on my laptop (as I am writing this now), or on my cell when texting my kids. I used to write on an IPAD, but at 7 years old, it’s retiring ;). And WAY before the IPAD, I wrote on another device, my electronic typewriter; in 1970 I paid a small fortune for it, $119., which I earned working over Christmas. I wasn’t a very good typist, but I did love that typewriter.

How do you write? How do your students write?

How do we read? Sometimes, I skim, like when I’m reading the New York Times online. Sometimes, I read with pen or highlighter in hand, like when I respond to student work or read professional literature for a talk or an article. Sometimes, I read intensely, escaping into the book, like when I read All the Light You Cannot See. When a passage speaks to me, I gently fold the corner of the page so I can return to it.

How do you read? How do your students read?

This week (!), we’ll take up questions like these together. We’ll think about the languages we write with and the languages we teach with and the languages we use to describe writing and reading. We’ll think about the role that various materials play in our composing: are some more helpful than others? We’ll think about different writing processes and the role they play with different media and different assignments. We’ll think about how we read–and increasingly, how we read on the screen. We’ll think about how composing contributes to knowledge-making. And on both Thursday and (especially Friday), we’ll think about reflection–how we might define it, how we might assign it, and how it can help writers and readers make sense of their own reading and writing practices.

I’m looking forward to thinking about all of this with you …

Kathleen Blake Yancey

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