Writers' Association Posts New Guidelines Meant to Boost Reading Skills

February 11, 2008

The Association of Writers and Writing Programs, also known as the AWP, has posted a significantly revamped version of its Director’s Handbook online. A key section of the new handbook focuses on the importance of cultivating undergraduate writers’ reading skills.

“An expert writer must first become an expert reader,” the guidelines state. “The undergraduate creative-writing curriculum seeks to inculcate an understanding of the rhetorical components, forms, genres, great works, and periods of literature.”

The AWP serves undergraduate and graduate writing programs as well as individual writers. It set out to overhaul its guidelines because of growing alarm among its members over a perceived decline in literary skills in the United States, as noted by the National Endowment for the Arts in a November 2007 report, “To Read or Not to Read.”Jennifer Howard