The essence of all learning is the ability to consume new information, process it, and integrate that new knowledge into what is already known. Reading. Thinking. Writing. These skills are the translation of that learning model in the English classroom.

Good literature…well any literature for that matter, as evidenced by Twilight and Harry Potter…has the potential to spur thought and reflection. Fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama will all do this. My students may get tired of hearing me say this, but good writers don't do anything by accident. Moreover, good writers always have a theme, an idea about which they want us think. A writer who doesn't have at least one driving idea is not worth reading.

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.

William Butler Yeats

But thinking and reflection are often not enough in the classroom. Communicating these ideas is the natural progression. Discussion is a start. It is a fantastic start, but students often don't know what they really think, or why an idea really matters until they write about it. The purpose and audience of that writing may vary. A speech, a journal entry, or an argumentative essay (more on this on my Practices page) will all serve first to clarify and then to solidify quality thought. Perhaps most importantly though, the successful student writers will realize and communicate why their ideas matter.

Reading. Thinking. Writing. Everyone will use these processes to learn throughout their lives. It is a certainty.

Joseph Rafter 2013