Experimental Course in Writing

The Writing Department is planning to offer a new, experimental section of AP/WRIT 1400 (Y) 6.0 Critical Thinking, Reading, and Writing during the coming academic year. It’s modeled on non-threatening, peer-led book clubs that have been proven effective in getting reluctant readers to take up reading for pleasure rather than thinking of reading as an academic burden.

Studies have shown that the amount of time spent regularly reading for pleasure correlates well with general writing skill. AP/WRIT 1400 is designed to provide second-year students in LA&PS and Health with the kind of pleasure-reading that has been demonstrated to improve the writing skills of struggling writers, without explicit instruction in composition.

Geoffrey Huck, who is an associate professor in the Writing Department, designed the course and will teach it during the 2016-17 year. “There’s a lot of empirical evidence in the cognitive sciences that getting students to read material that they enjoy and can directly relate to is the surest way to boost their writing skills,” he says. “This kind of course can be a real boon, especially for students who come from environments in which non-academic reading hasn’t been encouraged.”