National Writing Project

The Neglected "R": The Need for a Writing Revolution

Date: April 2003

Summary: In this groundbreaking report, the National Commission on Writing for America's Families, Schools, and Colleges argues that writing has been shortchanged in the school reform movement of the past twenty years and must now receive the attention it deserves.


Although many models of effective ways to teach writing exist, both the teaching and practice of writing are increasingly shortchanged throughout the school and college years, according to The Neglected "R." Writing, always time-consuming for student and teacher, is today hard-pressed in the American classroom.

Among the recommendations outlined in the report:

  • The amount of time and resources devoted to student writing should be at least doubled.
  • Writing should be taught in all subjects and at all grade levels.
  • All prospective teachers should be required to take courses in how to teach writing.
  • New technologies should be developed to improve the teaching and assessment of writing.

Excerpt from Report

American education will never realize its potential as an engine of opportunity and economic growth until a writing revolution puts language and communication in their proper place in the classroom. . . . Of the three "Rs," writing is clearly the most neglected.
—The Neglected "R": The Need for a Writing Revolution, April 2003

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