Why Johnny Can't Write
How to Improve Writing Skills
Routledge – 1990 – 136 pages
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.
"…important, even necessary reading….It treats, at an appropriate level of detail, the issues surrounding the teaching of writing. It presents all positions respectfully, without acrimony or the attribution of bad motives that mar some educational debates. Finally, it proposes a defensible answer to a critically important question: How can Johnny be taught to write better?"
Contents: Johnny's Country is Losing Business. Grammar: The Ineffectual Monster. Sentence Combining to Open Options. The Writing Process: Product of the Learning-to-Write Process. Text Reconstruction: Flying by Imitation. Writing, Talking, and Notetaking Across the Curriculum. Chickens and Thoughts. The Inquiry Method. Teaching Usage and Functional Grammar. Additional Sentence Combining Ideas. A House Divided: Literature Versus Writing. Un-Shotgunning and De-Pack Ratting.