What comes to mind when you think about the traditional 5-paragraph essay? Do you cringe? Sadly, many students only know “essay” as a 5-paragraph, tightly structured writing assignment that must check all the boxes of a standardized formula. How did essays in school get so far away from essays in the world? In her newest book, The Journey is Everything, Katherine Bomer makes a case for the benefits of authentic essay writing that breaks free of the 5-paragraph formula used in most middle and high school English classes.
Adapted from the introduction to The Journey Is Everything, the newest book by Katherine Bomer.
By Katherine Bomer
Whole generations of adults fear writing because they grew up in schools thinking writing means sentence diagrams, penmanship, spelling, and proper placement of that darn thesis statement. Our students deserve better than this. They need essays to help them think in reflective, open-minded ways, to stir their emotions, teach them about life, and move them to want to change the world. And now more than ever, with the hyperattention paid to preparing students for college and careers, young people need practice in finding subjects of interest and passion to write about. They need lessons that show them how to think deeply about these topics and how to write about them in compelling ways.