Writing As a Second Language: From Experience to Story to Prose

Writing As a Second Language: From Experience to Story to Prose

by Donald Davis


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Winner of the Storytelling World Award
“Stop talking! You're supposed to be working on language!” —overheard in an elementary classroom by award-winning writer and storyteller Donald Davis. From the moment they are born, we encourage children to talk. We enunciate for them, applaud their expanding vocabularies, and hang on their every word. That is, until they enter school. At that time, we expect them to stop talking and measure their language abilities through a new medium: writing. While the educational system focuses on the written product as the sole measurement of language development, many children fail to measure up to established standards. Why? Because, Davis observes, writing is not our first communications tool; for most of us it functions as a “foreign language.” The problem is, individuals are not capable of “creating” or “thinking” within a foreign language. Davis argues that we must step back into our familiar “first” language—the spoken word—as our creative medium and learn to “translate” into that new foreign language called writing. With enough success, writing will eventually become a second language instead of a foreign language. When we talk about language arts in our school, we focus on reading and writing instead of nourishing the whole oral and kinesthetic package that is our spoken language. Davis argues that talking and writing should not be mutually exclusive in language development. In this book, he lays out the method he has used successfully in countless residencies at schools across the United States, working with adults, teens, children, and teachers to develop their personal writing style.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780874835670
Publisher: August House Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 12/28/2005
Pages: 140
Product dimensions: 5.18(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Donald Davis Bio: Donald Davis was raised in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. He didn't realize it at the time, but he grew up in a family of gifted storytellers who passed their talent along to Donald. His legendary Uncle Frank was a front-porch storyteller of the first order and the source of many of Donald’s tales. Young Davis was a capable student. He went to college and then to divinity school. For twenty years he served the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. Then came a day when he found that he would rather tell Uncle Frank's tall tales than give another sermon. He would rather recall two old-maid sisters who abused the party line than marry one more couple. Fortunately, Davis had no trouble finding audiences: all of his former congregations lined up to book him to perform as a storyteller. He now tours the USA ten months a year, making about 300 storytelling presentations annually. He can be found in schools, at libraries, in front of conventions, and as a headliner at storytelling festivals. Davis has appeared on ABC News Nightline, and he has been a guest on National Public Radio and CNN. His books and spoken word recordings have received critical acclaim and won many awards. Davis has written ten books and recorded twenty audio recordings with August House. When Donald isn’t crisscrossing the country performing his stories, he comes home to Ocracoke Island, North Carolina where he lives with his wife, Merle.

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