National Writing Project

Americans Believe Writing Skills Are More Important Than Ever

Helping Teachers Teach Writing Is a Priority for Most Americans

For Immediate Release


WASHINGTON, DC, March 27, 2007 – Americans believe that good writing skills are more important than ever, but they fear that our schools and our children are falling behind. Two-thirds of the public would like to see more resources invested in helping teachers teach writing. And 74 percent think writing should be taught in all subjects and at all grade levels. These messages and others were drawn from survey participants of all income and education levels and all geographic areas. They are reported in The 2007 Survey on Teaching Writing, a national public opinion survey conducted for the National Writing Project by the research firm Belden, Russonello and Stewart.

"The survey clearly demonstrates that the public understands writing is a critical skill, one that must not be ignored," said Richard Sterling, executive director of the National Writing Project. "Americans also recognize that to teach writing well, teachers need access to quality professional development. These findings underscore all the recent reports about the importance of writing—from business leaders and from educators themselves. The word is out: writing must be an integral part of the curriculum."

The survey showed that the American public believes learning to write is as important as learning to read, and they feel that writing well is essential to improving communication skills, grammar, and critical thinking. Seven in ten Americans say that students should be given daily writing assignments and that writing should be taught in all subjects.

More than 80 percent of those surveyed say students should learn to write well as a requirement for high-school graduation. Two-thirds believe that writing skills are essential to success in college. And 74 percent say there is a need to write well to succeed "regardless of what type of job it is."

Considering that 98 percent of Americans polled think learning to write well is important, it is not surprising that most also want teachers to have the training they need to improve students' writing, and they believe it is a worthy investment. Survey results indicate:

  • Americans want to see writing instruction included in undergraduate teacher training programs and in professional development programs for current teachers.
  • By a margin of two to one, the public prefers putting more resources into helping teachers teach writing, rather than putting those resources into testing students to see how well they are learning to write.

The 2007 Survey on Teaching Writing is a national telephone survey conducted January 3 to 16, 2007. The survey was conducted among a representative probability sample of 1,501 adults residing in the United States.

For more, read the survey or view charts of the data.


The National Writing Project (NWP) is the premier effort to improve writing in America. NWP sites, located on university campuses, serve more than 135,000 educators annually. NWP continues to add new sites each year with the goal of placing the writing project within reach of every teacher in America. Through its professional development model, NWP develops the leadership, programs, and research needed for teachers to help students become successful writers and learners.

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