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Are We Raising Writers?

If you're never scared or embarrassed or hurt, it means you never take any chances.
Julia Sorel, author

So many steps forward in human history have come about because of persuasive writing. Mohandas Gandhi, who famously employed nonviolent resistance to lead a successful campaign for India’s independence from British rule, also utilized the power of writing to inspire movements for civil rights and freedom across the globe.

On October 22, 1925, Gandhi published a list he called the Seven Social Sins in his weekly newspaper Young India.

  • Politics without principles.
  • Wealth without work.
  • Pleasure without conscience.
  • Knowledge without character.
  • Commerce without morality.
  • Science without humanity.
  • Worship without sacrifice.

In 1947, Gandhi gave his grandson, Arun Gandhi, a slip of paper with this list, saying that it contained “the seven blunders that human society commits, and that cause all the violence.” Three months later, Gandhi was assasinated by a Hindu extremist.

Recent research around the world paints a discouraging picture of children’s feelings about writing. For example, an article on the website of the National Literacy Trust in the U.K, reports on a research study “which shows that just one fifth of children and young people (20.7%) write daily outside the classroom. This is a significant drop since 2014 when more than a quarter of pupils (27.2%) put pen to paper or wrote digitally every day outside school. In fact, more than a quarter of children (28.1%) now say they rarely or never write something that isn’t for school.”

Rebecca Giles wrote her book, A Young Writers World, specifically to provide resources early educators could use to help raise enthusiastic writers. She explains:

“Young children gain valuable experience in programs that encourage them as authors…The setting, however, can sway an individual for or against any endeavor, which makes it essential to consider how features of the classroom environment affect the writers it is intended to support. Environments that provide the time, materials, and challenges that allow children’s development as authors to flourish must be intentionally planned.”


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