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Reading [Student Writing] Like an Artist.

This was the title of Katherine Bomer’s keynote speech which she gave at 9 am this morning. Katherine was inspiring and uplifting and simply amazing.

Anyone who has read this blog for any amount of time knows that Stacey and I are both believers in the power of art. About two years ago I went on a quest to find the creative artist that lived inside of me, but I had buried somewhere along the line when I got the crazy idea that art was fluffy. The journey to reunite with the artist part of me was incredible. So, when I saw the title of Katherine’s keynote, it struck a chord that runs deep within me.

Katherine’s premise is that: Teachers devalue what we are trying to do when we read like a Teacher instead of an Artist. She went on to explain that we should give the students in our classrooms the same respect that we give famous novelists. We should approach their writing with the eyes of an artist.

And then, most importantly, we should proclaim their work as art.

We should frame their work as art.

When we do this, when we give student writing the respect we would give any valued work of art, then it makes kids want to write. It gives them confidence and support and encouragement to try again when things break down.

Katherine’s best tip for learning to talk to students like an artist is to read the back covers of books. Look at the language that is being used to describe some of the most sophisticated authors of today. Then use that language to talk with students about their work.

Ahh, the power of art. The power of being an artist. The power of convincing others they are artists too. I’m not sure there is anything better.

Ruth Ayres View All

Unhurried. Finding the magic in the middle of living. Capturing a life of ridiculous grace + raw stories.

3 thoughts on “Reading [Student Writing] Like an Artist. Leave a comment

  1. I am jealous. I would have liked that speech I think. My students have really responded well since coming to my class where bleeding red pen marking EVERY LAST MISTAKE is not allowed. They like being thought of as writers, not mistake makers.


  2. what a wonderful TWO DAYS!!! Your presentation was great Ruth. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.
    Take care & it was great seeing you.



  3. As an Art teacher I can tell you that convincing 530+ students that they are indeed artists is both unbelievably rewarding and exhausting at the same time. 😉 I wish all of our teachers knew how important Art is to the children and how important it is for some of these students who might not be the best at many “classroom” subjects, to find a sanctuary where they can come and think about something that is not on their standardized tests….how important it is for them to be able to feel success in expressing themselves on something that isn’t graded. My job is the greatest! 🙂


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