Over the last month, there has been an incredible amount of excitement in the air around reading. One of the goals of the Sveta Grinberg Read for Life Program is to create that excitement and buzz around reading, and, judging by the number of books read by our students during the program, it did.

We should be equally excited about writing, and here at Schechter, there is a lot to be excited about. In the last two weeks, our students have won high honors in the Power of the Pen competition (including our seventh grade team advancing to regionals) and swept Federation’s writing competition for Yom HaShoahMazal tov to all of the students and kol hakavod to their coach, Davida Amkraut!

Some may feel that writing is an art form that is slowly being lost because of texting, instant messaging and social media. And receiving a message like “AFAIK” (as far as I know) or “BRB” (be right back), probably reinforces it.

Yet, written communication is becoming even more important because of the dramatic increase in the places, times and formats that we do write.

Writing is something that you will see emphasized starting in our four-year-old classrooms as students begin putting together sentences in their journals (often with some fascinating creative spelling). These skills grow and develop over time. Our first graders engage in creative writing and start drafting reports. Third graders are learning research as they draft their President speeches. In fifth grade, they discover the challenge that an ambiguous prompt can provide as they write short stories based upon a series of pictures from Chris Van Allsburg, and of course, writing abounds in all classes as our students enter middle school whether they are working with Mrs. Amkraut in Language Arts, Mr. Norton in Science or Giveret Slain in Hebrew.

Even just outside my office door is a wall filled with graffiti about our school-wide read, Rules. Students with varying levels of writing sophistication have filled it with thoughts and observations about the book.It is these kinds of scaffolded writing experiences that have led to the successes that our school has had in the Power of the Pen competition year after year.

A Schechter education prepares students to use their writing to effectively communicate ideas!

Shabbat Shalom,

Dr. Ari Yares
Head of School

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