Write a Book, Learn English

hands on keyboard

An article in the December 26, 2009 Toldeo Blade profiled a student in Toledo who self-published a book.  At 14 years old.  In English, his second language.  Although internet technology has made publishing your own book relatively easy, this is still a remarkable accomplishment.

To me, this student sounds like many I have worked with: He started to withdraw because he was frustrated by the difficulties he had communicating in his second language.  The remarkable part is that his solution was to take on a project, writing a book, as a reason to learn the language.  And, by this account, he was pretty successful.

As a teacher, his project leaves me with a number of questions: Could this process be reproduced in a classroom, or does the fact that he came up with the idea himself make this inherently different from any teacher-directed project?  How guided should writing projects be?  How long or short?  What other considerations are there in an ESL writing class that has “publish a book” as the final (or only) project?

Clearly, this may not be an appropriate project for every student, but it is inspiring.  If you want to buy his book, you can do so through Amazon.com.

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