What comes to mind when you think about the traditional 5-paragraph essay? Do you cringe? Sadly, many students only know “essay” as a 5-paragraph, tightly structured writing assignment that must check all the boxes of a standardized formula. How did essays in school get so far away from essays in the world? In her newest book, The Journey is Everything, Katherine Bomer makes a case for the benefits of authentic essay writing that breaks free of the 5-paragraph formula used in most middle and high school English classes.
Katherine wants to restore essays in schools as writing to think; because the act of writing provides a visual tool, one of the most powerful tools humans have in aiding the process of thinking. Katherine wants students to be able to write the essays that they want to write and people want to read… She says if we give students the freedom to think, without forcing ideas into templates, they can actually produce better writing.
We started our conversation around what essay looks like in the real world?