Thursday, December 5, 2013

Writers to the Core

To follow up on Julie's post, I think writers have been adhering to the "common core" for centuries.  Most writers are not just story tellers. They are teachers as well. It comes naturally to them to describe a scene, a sequence, a beginning and an end. Writers raise questions and answer them. They use history, science, anecdotes, folktales old and new, stones, ducks, rabbits and wizards to tell their stories. In every story there is something that relates to what constitutes an education for a child.

I was reminded of this today in a Wall Street Journal piece, "The Hunger Games" Is a Civic Lesson" by Robert Pondiscio, a former fifth grade teacher in New York's South Bronx. He explains that when parents decry the brutality in Suzanne Collins' novels, they overlook the excellent opportunity the author offers. Not only do the books keep "reluctant" readers turning the pages, but, Mr. Pondiscio says, "they also provide an opportunity to educate kids about the relationship between the individual and the state, personal rights and responsibilities, and the civic duties expected of citizens."

So, writers, worry not. Keep on writing, whether it is about Yetis, frogs, spoonbills, alligators or penguins, graveyards or vegetable gardens.  You are all "writing to the core."


  1. Well said, Linda. Reading allows kids a safe place to experience thoughts and emotions they may not come across in their daily lives.

  2. Thanks Linda. Good thought and encouraging words! Now to put that in my cover letter...

  3. And the skillful writer gets the "education" across using a light, rather than heavy hand.

  4. My daughter is currently obsessed with The Hunger Games, and it has opened up a lot of discussion about political repression and dystopian novels (she just started Emergent). I suggested she read 1984 or Animal Farm so she could get a sense of what started it all in literature, and she refused ("nah, that's boring!"). She'll probably have to read them in school next year anyway. But I'm happy that there is a novel that is so compelling and popular and "current" that it has gotten kids thinking about their role in society and how even the best of intentions can go so wrong.