Teaching Literacy

Since it’s the last week and any topic is up for grabs, I wanted to ask about something related to my final essay.

What kind of reading teaches the best writing?

Our Fish reading from last week made the point that reading doesn’t necessarily make someone a better writer, that working with what we’ve read will improve our writing. He even advocates practices attempting to recreate those styles, although I personally have always found those practices awfully tedious.

There are a lot of angles to this question. Does entertaining writing like stories or novels teach us better than articles or texts? Do older novels work better than recent one? Why?

Are they equally helpful if the method is right, or do they each teach us something different? What can we only learn from particular types of reading? Or is it possible to learn anything from anywhere?

1 thought on “Teaching Literacy”

  1. In my opinion, it’s hard to say what type of reading teaches the best writing. Partly because it depends on what type of writing the individual is trying to achieve, as well as what type of righting the individual is suited towards.

    I always admired and embraced the non-fiction tradition that encompasses not only philosophy but history, political theory, and sociology. I feel that for me that always satisfied both criteria I previously mentioned, but likely doesn’t for everyone. For a long time, the most prestigious primary education providers (many of them jesuit institutions) thought it was adequate to teach the “Classics” before anything else, and I’m sure there are some students who were benefited and other who would have been better off learning other writing styles. So, I suppose the answer lies somewhere in the middle between individual preferences and capabilities.

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