- Damaris Chanza
National Day on Writing with Damaris
Every writer knows that a blank page is the scariest part of writing, but National Day on Writing reminds us that all we have to do is start.
October 20 is National Day on Writing, an initiative the National Council of Teachers of English started to celebrate English literacy and highlight its importance.
My love for writing started with English teachers. In second grade, my teacher was not just impressed by but nourished my reading ability by getting me more complex books to read. In fourth grade, my teacher Ms. Scott applauded my spelling abilities and praised how I used phonetics to pronounce a word I had never seen before – unfortunate. In fifth grade, my teacher Ms. Brown made sure I absorbed every bit of knowledge I could. In seventh grade, my teacher encouraged me to always use my pen as my sword. In high school and college, my teachers reminded me that regardless of the countless rules and standards of writing, it's supposed to be fun.
While I spent my formative years loving the art of writing and learning everything I possibly could about the English language to the detriment of my cultural language, I watched others' hatred for this form of literacy grow. Their hatred grew for writing as mine grew for math and science.
People don't need to grow up and make writing about media their career as I did, but the importance of writing and literacy is still vital. Math and science have minimal everyday applications if you're not in a job where that's required or working on a project. Traditional schooling may not be the best way to teach some; sometimes, it's as simple as reading a book.
The following are some authors that I love who write for varying reading levels of increasing difficulty.
Quirky drawings always accompany Dr. Suess' narrative style of poetry. He has written and illustrated over 60 books great for developing a child's reading ability. Topics vary from simple to complex, with subtle references to racial equality and environmentalism.
Roald Dahl writes dark and ridiculous children's books about what it means to be a child. His words feature funny, made-up words and fantastical worlds like that of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Witches.
Rick Riordan is famous for creating the Percy Jackson series and its coinciding universe. The books are written for a middle school reading level about Greek and Egyptian mythology. The books are action-packed battles of good vs. evil with teenage drama, high stakes, and romantic entanglements.
Maya Angelou is a famous black poet and novelist. She writes about her life and what it's like to be a black woman in America. Reading Maya Angelou's writing is empowering and educational.
Emily Dickinson is widely renowned as one of the most influential poets in America. Her poetry includes topics such as nature, death, love, identity, and immortality. Her writing is interesting while still having the potential to teach about syntax, meter, rhythm, style, and tone.
Not everyone will love writing as much as I do, but I still encourage everyone to take a moment and appreciate the gravity of words and their relevance and importance in our lives. Words are strung together for scripts, songs, instruction manuals, birthday cards, signs, and so much more. Just take a moment to breathe it in and appreciate your literacy because not everyone gets to have that privilege.