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Summer workshops teach the 'write' stuff

June 12, 2009

KALAMAZOO--Ask any newspaper and you are sure to get the same answer. There's no question the digital age has had a huge impact on reading and writing.

With that idea in mind, Western Michigan University's Third Coast Writing Project will take a close look at the impact the digital age is having on the teaching of writing during its annual series of summer workshops beginning Monday, June 15.

Now entering its 16th year, the Third Coast Writing Project offers classroom-tested, research-based strategies that support teaching and learning at all levels and in all content areas. In addition to workshops for area teachers, programs also cater to schoolchildren.

"Writing 2.0: Teaching Writing in the Digital Age" runs June 15-19 and will let participants explore ways to teach writing using today's tools for tomorrow's world. Tools include digital stories, blogs, wikis, podcasts and vodcasts, slides for publishing and sharing student work, visual programs, cartoons and photo editing.

"Our students today learn and live in a world with a hundred million websites and billions of e-mail messages sent every day," says Dr. Ellen Brinkley, WMU professor of English and the project's director. "As teachers of writing and teachers who use writing to support thinking and learning in all these subject areas, we need to learn how writing is being reinvented."

"Teaching Writing in the Digital Age" is just one of several workshops Third Coast is offering this summer. Its flagship program, the 16th annual Invitational Summer Institute, runs June 22 through July 17, giving teachers a chance to step back and examine teaching practices in a non-threatening atmosphere.

Area youngsters will get in on the action during Third Coast Camps for Young Writers June 15-26. The camps help improve writing skills in a comfortable, fun and relaxed environment that encourages expressive freedom. "What Do Authors Do?" is for children ages 8-10, while "Grammar Schmammar" is for ages 11-13. "The Writer's Choices" is geared to future professional bwriters ages 14-17 and lets them explore rhetorical ways of writing.

Additional Third Coast workshops

  • Two Teacher-as-Writer Workshops, "Teaching Writing through the Lens of Poetry" (June 22 to July 3) and "Teaching Writing through the Lens of Narrative" (July 6-17).
  • "Workshop for Thinking and Comprehension" (June 15-19), which lets participants examine and discuss relevant teaching strategies for building thinking skills and comprehension in students.
  • "Connecting with ELLs in the Classroom," (July 6-8) which focuses on teaching to English language learners, a growing concern in Michigan schools and elsewhere.

More information is available at Third Coast Writing Project online.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

WMU News
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