What Your English Teacher Told You …

… is great advice in the world of blogging.

Every morning, I allocate two cups of coffee time to my own professional reading.  I go to two spots.

First, I’ll head to the LiveBinder of Ontario Edubloggers to see what’s up with my favourite Ontarians.

Secondly, I’ll open Zite.  I’ve talked so much about my enjoyment of Zite so I won’t elaborate on that.

But, as I was flipping through the pages, I had to answer the question … do you read all that?  That got me thinking.  The answer, is, of course no.  I don’t have the time to do that even though I would if I could.

Here are a couple of screen captures from this morning’s read.

2014-03-16 06.47.39

2014-03-16 06.48.41

The question is … how do I choose what to read?

Now, there are good thought leaders that I will drop everything to read right away.  There are some people who will immediately get my attention because I know that they push the discussion no matter what the discussion!

But, from all the stories available, how do I choose what to read and what not to?  Certainly, the story has to be of personal interest but that’s the way Zite works.  It already knows my interests.  Once selected, the tap that opens the story for me follows two things I remember from English class.  More importantly, it’s also the way that Zite presents the stories.

1.  It’s got a title designed to engage;
2.  The first sentence reaches out and provides the hook and reels me in.

It’s “Story writing 101” all over again.

What amazes me is that this advice has withstood the test of time.  When I was in high school, I can’t imagine the concept of a blog was on anyone’s mind.  Yet, for my English teachers, these rules were crucial.  Good advice then; good advice now.

What’s apparent is that there needs to be a point #3 in this era of blogging

3.  Have a great picture in your post.

When all is said and done, these are the clues that Zite provides to the reader.  If you want people to discover your post and your thoughts through the Zite reader (and, quite frankly, any other software like Zite), your English teacher has already provided you the best advice possible.

Once your story has been opened, make sure that there’s a great body and a good closer.  In today’s blogging world, the best closer is a call to action.  Make your reader want to do something with your post.

For me, if you’re teaching English or blogging in any subject area, have students take a look at a reader like Zite or Flipboard or … and analyze how content is presented.  Doesn’t it just make sense that any blogger understand this and write accordingly?

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3 Replies to “What Your English Teacher Told You …”

  1. One of the things I appreciate most about your blog, Doug, is your ability to position what you’re talking about in a classroom context. Looking at the way information is presented is terrifically important in terms of understanding why a piece of writing works or doesn’t work for its desired audience. Awareness of audience is a key curriculum piece in writing and reading. This is another part of what Royan Lee looks at when he has his students analyze debate opponents’ arguments. Thanks for the thought this morning.

    Like

  2. Zite looks amazing. I’m a technology teachers and a new follower of your blog. Your posts are really good…you seem to always have something in there that pertains to my daily teaching. Thanks for all you do!

    Like

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