The Importance of an Authentic Audience

The research on teaching writing tells us how important it is for students to write for an authentic audience whenever possible. When kids know they are writing for someone other than the teacher, their motivation and quality of writing drastically improves.

"(Our students) have to believe that what they have to say is important

enough to bother writing. They have to experience writing for real audiences

they will know that writing can bring them power."

-- Anne Rodier, National Writing Project

"A Cure for Writer's Block: Writing for Real Audiences"

In a recent writing workshop, students were working on publishing their first piece of polished informational writing.

The books a few of the students wrote were fresh and interesting, but then the quality of writing from these students usually was. For the most part, however, a majority of the writing was as dry as a desert in the dead of July.

How could I blame them for not showing much excitement for this writing project?

To them, this piece of writing was just another in a long line of assignments they would turn in to be read by me.

And only me.

I knew my students were capable of much more and knew I had to mix things up for our next published piece. I wanted to see my students as the writers I knew they could be -- and I wanted them to see themselves this way too.

I decided a bigger audience was the way to go.

I know that I write differently depending on who I am writing for. When I write for myself, I might not pay as much attention to word choice or conventions. But when I write for a public audience, say my blog readers like you, I polish things up and make sure I say exactly what I mean.

So I thought, why not let everyone in the entire school be a part of the readership for my students' writing?