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In addition, writing instruction takes time. It's hard work to learn to write properly, and practice, with constructive critique, is the only method of improving. Teaching writing is time consuming, and it takes a lot of effort on the part of the teacher. There are few returns in the currency valued by the education system: standardized test scores. The sad part is that the students are being grossly short-changed.

Without sound writing skills, adults have trouble in a host of areas. It's difficult to communicate in writing, so these people have a hard time leaving written messages, writing down notes, instructions or maps, taking notes in class or other learning situations, It's hard to write effective resumes, to generate office memos, or to fill out logs or other required paperwork.

Writing skills are a primary means of communication. They allow us to record spoken words for future reference, to leave messages for others, and to communicate across time and space. Speaking and listening, reading and writing form the core of communication for most people in nearly every situation, so it's important not to underestimate the value of sound writing skills.

Written communication provides the basis for those all-important first impressions. What you write may well be your first passport to employment, acceptance or awards. Imagine the reaction of a potential employer who reads a cover letter, resume and application prepared by a candidate that cannot write effectively. The first glaring error in the cover letter might be passed over and ignored, but the fifth or sixth mistake will start the alarm bells ringing. The writer will be thought to be careless, stupid or both. When the employer reads through the resume and application and sees even more blatant violations of sound mechanics and spelling, he or she is quite likely to toss the entire package into the trash can. And rightfully so! There are many situations when employees represent the companies for which they work, and no employer in his right mind would want to be represented by someone likely to be perceived as careless or stupid.

Writing is also important long before students hit the pavement searching for employment. As early as middle elementary school, and definitely by the middle school grades, student learning is often measured by the things that he or she writes down. Most tests and many projects are in written form. Malformed sentences and paragraphs detract from or even obscure the message completely, and the person evaluating the work will have no choice but to downgrade the effort. Poor writing skills will interfere with your child's ability to succeed at school.

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