Sunday, May 4, 2008

Blogging Benefits Teen Writers

A recent report featured in E-School News, indicated that teens who blog write more frequently both online and offline, according to a study by Pew Internet and American Life Project with support from the College Board and its National Commission on Writing.

In fact, "Forty-seven percent of teen bloggers write outside of school for personal reasons several times a week or more, compared with 33 percent of teens without blogs. Sixty-five percent of teen bloggers believe that writing is essential to later success in life; 53 percent of non-bloggers say the same thing."

The report goes on to quote Bradley A. Hammer, who teaches in Duke University's writing program. "In real ways, blogging and other forms of virtual debate actually foster the very types of intellectual exchange, analysis, and argumentative writing that universities value," he wrote in an op-ed piece last August." Be sure to read his full article in which he defends the use of blogs and other alternative forms of written expression in his university classroom.

I know as an avid blogger myself, that I feel a responsibility to organize my thoughts in a well-written format before hitting the "publish" button. One has to take the responsibility of writing to an audience very seriously. Similarly, blogging is not only a way for teens and young adults to use their writing skills for a specific task for a specific audience, but appears to be a promising new tool for language arts teachers as well.

I am writing this from Atlanta, where tomorrow I will be presenting a session at the IRA on, "Learn from the Masters: How Creating a Fictional Character Enhances Reading Instruction." Hopefully, afterwards I'll have the opportunity to talk to lots of teachers about the benefits of writing short fiction as well as the benefits of blogging!

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