"The following statement is not a joke: Many writing classes discourage much writing. The nonprofit Education Trust found that only 9 percent of 1,876 literacy assignments in six urban middle schools asked students to write more than a single paragraph."
Matthew writes of Will Fitzhugh, who publishes the Concord Review, all written by high school students, and who says this, "Sadly, English teachers don't have time to handle lengthy researched essays. They cringe at what Fitzhugh calls his Page Per Year Plan: a five-page paper in fifth grade, adding a page each year until everyone does a 12-page paper in 12th grade. He wants students to address issues they have read about, maybe even tackling a nonfiction book or two, very rare in schools."
My experience tells me that writing in schools often means writing about "your inner feelings," or writing fiction. That's tough for most kids. Writing narrative nonfiction is a whole lot easier and it teaches important research skills. Besides, narrative nonficiton is the art form of our information-centered times.