It is through reading and writing that we can become students of countless teachers. Each book, blog, article, we read opens the world of the author.
Having grown up in poverty, books were my window to dreams, cultures, thoughts, and ideas that were never discussed in my home or community.
The English-speaking world is sadly allowing this door to be closed for 37-68% of our students. Too often we blame the students, explaining away their lack of reading skills as poor character, poor parenting, etc. Yet we know how to teach reading so that all students succeed. The scientific evidence is in place.
Teaching students the rules of English and words is not boring. It opens worlds. It doesn't need to mean rote memory work. Five-year-olds love to be presented with sample words and be guided to discovering the patterns. Not only are they learning to read, they are learning to analyze language. Children enjoy seeing how words are built from prefixes, roots, and suffixes. When we hand them the tools they become infinitely more creative with language when they are left alone swimming in a sea of words.
Basic reading, vocabulary, and writing skills are the tools which unlock creativity. Taught well, these skills are not boring but high energy explorations that inspire.