Fifteen area teachers are dedicating four weeks of summer break to learning strategies for improving their students' writing skills at the Eastern Illinois Writing Project's Summer Institute on the Eastern Illinois University campus.
The participants, who teach a variety of curricula and grade levels, will participate in an intense workshop focused on writing and the teaching of writing.
“The best teachers of writing are writers themselves, and the best teachers of teachers are other teachers," said Robin Murray, an EIU English professor who serves as director of the Eastern Illinois Writing Project.
The program began June 29; it will resume July 7 through July 31, with sessions on Mondays through Thursdays. This is the third year the EIU-based Eastern Illinois Writing Project has hosted the Summer Institute.
Throughout the country, more than 3,000 kindergarten through college teachers are participating in summer institutes at more than 200 National Writing Project sites on college campuses in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Most Americans view good writing skills as essential to success in college and the workplace, according to a recent national public opinion survey by the research firm Belden Russonello and Stewart. However, they fear that our public schools and our children are falling behind. Just 17 percent believe that when students graduate from high school they have the writing skills they need for college, and 75 percent say that our K-12 education system should put more emphasis on the teaching of writing.
"Teachers who attend NWP summer institutes return to their classrooms with new strategies for teaching writing and with experience using digital tools," said Sharon J. Washington, executive director of the National Writing Project.
National research studies confirm significant gains in writing performance among students whose teachers participate in NWP programs.
The Summer Institute is the first step in a graduate certificate program in the teaching of writing and in continuing service to area schools.
For more information on the Eastern Illinois Writing Project and the Summer Institute, contact the director, Robin L. Murray, at 217-581-6985 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following area teachers are participating in this year's Eastern Illinois Writing Project Summer Institute: