National Writing Project

NCTE Promotes 21st Century Writing

Date: May 12, 2009

Summary: Literacy education and literacy practices are in the midst of a profound change. A new series of reports from NCTE calls for support for 21st century writing and writers both in and out of school.


Like NWP, The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) understands that writing in the 21st Century is moving at a rapid rate in directions hardly imagined even a decade ago. The move toward texting and blogging, toward video-supported writing and tweeting seems here to stay.

The educational response necessary to prepare students for this literacy sea change needs therefore to be both considered and progressive. With this necessity in mind, NCTE has published these four papers which argue for validating new modes of writing, developing curriculum to support them, finding ways to reach all students with constructive learning strategies, and connecting classroom to real-world situations.

The four papers are

  • Writing in the 21st Century. Kathleen Blake Yancey, NCTE past president and Kellogg W. Hunt Professor of English at Florida State University, where she directs the doctoral program in rhetoric and composition, discusses the centrality of writing in school, the workplace, and civic society, reminding us that writing is everybody's business.
  • The Genteel Unteaching of America's Poor. Kylene Beers, NCTE president and senior reading advisor to secondary schools, Reading and Writing Project, Teachers College, discusses how important it is that all students experience a rich, intellectually rigorous curriculum filled with all sorts of writing.
  • Writing between the Lines—and Everywhere Else. The third in a series of NCTE reports on writing and 21st century literacies, this article focuses on the nexus of in- and out-of-school writing.
  • Crash! The Currency Crisis in American Culture. NCTE President-Elect Carol Jago notes, "Of all types of writing, writing about literature may seem the least practical [but] writing about literature disciplines the mind. . . . It requires deep reading and analytical thinking—skills that will serve students well whatever their futures may hold."

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