Sunday, July 8, 2007


Almost every Saturday, I teach students ages 12 and up modeling and acting techniques. Doing so provides me with a nice change of pace, as well as allows me to practice my third love: public speaking. (FYI, my first love is acting, my second is writing.)

That being said, I've noticed a highly disturbing trend among my students (including those who have graduated from high school, college or trade school and are currently working):

They cannot write worth a hoot.

I'm not talking about minor errors or oversights. Almost every student I have exhibits major flaws in terms of both spelling and composition.

I've seen horrendous misspellings, run-on sentences, half-thoughts and just-plain-sucky grammar. It's downright shocking.

I wonder whether these individuals were simply "passed" from one grade to the next by teachers who didn't care or felt it wasn't worth the trouble to educate them in the art of writing?

I don't remember my schoolmates being such awful authors (granted, this was when dinosaurs ruled the earth and we wrote on cave walls.) Actually, I went to school with some outstanding writers who are working in and around the publishing and reporting industry today (I know of one who has won several journalistic awards.)

What are your experiences in this realm?

Are my observations anomalies? Or do they indicate a major problem in our American society?

P.S. I don't mean to put all the blame on educators, either. I know some of them would love to help students but aren't given the backing by their districts. Parents have much more influence on their offspring than the school system, so I question their desire to bring up literate kids, too. Am I being too hard? I really don't think so. Being able to communicate clearly and intelligently is critical to succeeding in life.


Anonymous said...

You're making me cringe. No wonder reading for entertainment is dropping.

The Quoibler said...


Believe me, I cringed my way through a number of documents written by those in their teens, 20s, and even 30s.

I'm beginning to think that young people are so fond of "BFF", "LOL" and other tech-generated abbreviations that they completely overlook the importance/relevance having a basic understanding of correct spelling and grammar.

When I was a child, I read, read, and read again. I stayed up all night reading. I got "in trouble" for doing so! (It was "tongue in cheek"--I think my parents were actually happy that I devoured books by the dozens.)

Are kids not reading anymore? What a shame if that's the case!

Fortunately, my preschooler has a growing love affair with the written word. I hope and pray that continues once he lives my sphere of influence and enters school.

Thanks for stopping by, Jason. I'll try to make my next post less cringeworthy!


WritingForFood said...

I tend to think kids aren't reading. I also think our education system allows mediocre/poor work to simply "slide through." Advertising plays a part, too... around here we have a convenience store named Sheetz that refers to their foods as "Hot Dogz" and "Coffeez."

On the other hand, I know plenty of people from my generation (I'm mid-30s) who couldn't really write when they were younger. Most can string together a sentence now, but they still can't spell and they lack knowledge of the basic rules of grammar.

The Quoibler said...


I'm mid-30s, too, but I just don't remember this kind of apathy.

Maybe we should start a reading revolution.


Isn't that what blogging is supposed to be?

Unfortunately, I cannot handle perusing most MySpace accounts because they are filled with Sheetz-type spelling (and not intentionally.)

* sigh *

You know you're old when you're griping about such stuff.


The Quoibler said...

ha ha ha

On a funny note, my first comment had an error... that should say "leaves", not "lives."

Maybe I should just stop kvetching!

Anonymous said...

On the positive side, my seven year old daughter is already taken with reading. When she was around 3-4, I read The Hobbit and the first 1 1/2 books of The Lord of the Rings series. Now, she's read the first two Harry Potter books herself. We're thrilled!

The Quoibler said...

Jason: That's awesome about your daughter. I'm glad you made a point of starting her on a lifelong "love affair" with books when she was tiny.

My husband and I read to our son before he was born and still do to this day (although he can piece together some words on his own at this point.)

Even when I don't have time to do much else, I try to make time to help him read a story because I want him to crave literature rather than whatever crud is on TV.

Does your seven-year-old daughter write, too? You should ask her to compose a poem and post it on your blog. I bet it would be amazing.