Writer Gordon Korman turned a class assignment into a career.
Gordon says his middle school ran out of English teachers. So they sent in the track and field coach. The coach knew all about calf cramps, but had no clue about teaching reading and writing and literature.
Perhaps in desperation, Coach turned to the class and said, "Okay. Work on whatever you want for the rest of the year."
This was in February. That meant Gordon and his classmates had five months of unstructured time. And it was there, in that middle school classroom, that Gordon Korman wrote his first book, "This Can't Be Happening in Macdonald Hall."
Not every middle schooler will go on to have a 40 year career as a New York Times best-selling author. But as noted in Psychology Today, some of the most successful folks in business have found writing to be an important part of their success:
- Warren Buffet says writing helps him refine his thoughts
- Richard Branson says his most essential possession is a standard-sized school notebook which he uses for regular writing
- Bill Gates says writing lets him sit down and re-evaluate his thoughts during the day
Writing has a much more direct effect on reading. An article in K12 Reader notes that writing helps a student "analyze the pieces that they read." Writing helps a student "language, text structure or content to better understand a professional author’s construction of his or her texts." In other words, the action of putting sentences together on the page helps a young reader understand the rules of written communication.
So maybe hand that reluctant reader a blank book next time and ask them to tell YOU a story.
You can hear more from Gordon Korman on this episode of his book UNGIFTED.