KCTE: Bridging the Writing Gap

Let’s Stop Teaching Writing and Start Creating Writers

Description: This interactive session will be led by a panel of college instructors and high school teachers, representing the Morehead Writing Project. They will share strategies and best practices endorsed by the National Writing Project for teachers interested in creating writers ready for college and life.


The National Writing Project was born in the 1970s in the wake of a writing crisis epitomized by the Newsweek article “Why Johnny Can’t Write.” Despite these concerns and countless initiatives intended to counteract them, we still find widespread dissatisfaction with the writing abilities of our students in general and particularly their preparation as writers. It is time to focus on creating writers confident in their ability to adapt to changing rhetorical situations.

This session offers an argument for National Writing Project methods, which have been proven by numerous studies to improve student writing performance . Research has established that NWP methods are effective, but artificial writing assignments such as isolated skill drills, on-demand practice, constructed response workouts, and other inauthentic writing exercises , which seem to be the focus in today’s schools, are not. Furthermore, college level writing requires writers able to demonstrate critical thinking and write in varied context. Successful writers, both in college and life, require a collection of writing strategies to address the varied rhetorical situations they will face.

Dr. Deanna Mascle, College Readiness Coordinator at Morehead State University, will share the expectations of college level writing based on more than a decade of experience working with undergraduate writers. Brandie Trent of Fleming County High School will bring her experience bridging the gap as both a high school teacher and early college instructor. Mandy Lawson of Sheldon Clark High School will share her experience creating a writing workshop in her high school classroom. Leslie Workman of Bath County High School will demonstrate how writing for a variety of purposes yielded results for her high school students.

This session will be interactive and offer resources and strategies teachers can use to create college-ready and life-ready  writers in their classrooms.

 Recipe for creating writers:

  • Step 1: Build community (Deanna Mascle)
  • Step 2: Give voice (Mandy Lawson)
  • Step 3: Create connections (Brandie Trent)
  • Step 4: Stretch those writing muscles (Leslie Workman)