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[Susan notes:

Again, Steve Krashen rebuts claims with research.]

Published in The Scientist, Vol 17 (12)

To the editor

The Two R's

Jim Jarvis (1) feels that undergraduates in science should take "a rigorous course in composition." Readers of The Scientist might be interested in what the research says about writing: For those writing in both their

first and second languages, the best predictor of writing quality is the amount of reading done. There is no evidence linking writing ability to

the formal study of grammar or to the study of the structure of expository prose, topics generally emphasized in composition classes. The act of writing itself helps the writer come up with new ideas and insights, but writing style and mastery of most of the conventions of writing comes from reading. Undergraduate science students interested in developing a clear

writing style need to read lots of good scientific writing, including high-quality professional journals and publications such as The Scientist.

1. J. Jarvis, "Obligations of English speakers," The Scientist, 17[8]:20,

April 21, 2003.

Stephen Krashen

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