The Nit Qast

When I was writing the primary traits book, I fell in love with a student paper. A teacher/mother shared it with me and I put it in the book as the ultimate example of how amazing writing can turn out for a six-year-old when he is free from spelling worries. Not that we don’t worry about spelling, mind you, because we do. But the temporary spelling in Scotty’s piece struck me as important to note because he had such a complete, original, delightful story to tell and I doubt he ever would have written it had he focused on getting every word right. This was not the piece to worry about for spelling. Another day, a different lesson. I’m sure Scotty is spelling well now because he is a writer, and writers want to get it right.

Sometimes we forget that. In our haste to make sure everything is done right the first time we forget that if we take an important piece like the “The Nit Qast” (that’s The Knight’s Quest, of course) and let it develop over time, we CREATE the reason to be concerned about spelling. Which is what we want for student writers–not to spell the words on a test, but to choose to spell their words correctly so others can read and enjoy their work.

About Ruth Culham

RUTH CULHAM has written more than 40 books and best-selling resources illuminating both writing and the reading-writing connection for countless educators around the globe. Her groundbreaking work with the writing traits and writing from reading is the culmination of 40 years of research, practice, and passion. Ruth’s most recent books, The Writing Thief: Using Mentor Texts to Teach the Craft of Writing and Dream Wakers: Mentor Texts That Celebrate Latino Culture, are available from Stenhouse Publishers. She also conducts professional development for schools and districts and writes a regular column for The Reading Teacher.
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One Response to The Nit Qast

  1. Karen says:

    Oh, what a treasure! I love this and will share with high school teachers…
    Thank you , Scotty and Ruth!

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