Sassy Jacksun, Author & Multi-Media Artist
Did you know the phrase "said is dead" has become a commonly taught phrase in most primary schools?
Neither did I, until I saw the new requirements for CCSS, or otherwise known as Common Core State Standards. These so called "standards" are required to be taught to every student in the country.
Yes, the matter of CCSS being used in our classrooms has become very controversial among educators and among parents. Personally, I think CCSS looks good on paper, but still has no applicable way of being used in the classroom. The "powers that be" in the educational world seem to think that CCSS will be the magical fix for our public school system problems, in particular a "one size fits all" program that will fix the learning gaps among students, among schools. However, research, tons and tons of research has proven that there is, and never will be, a "one size fits all" when it comes to students learning in the classroom, but I digress.
The main focus for this entry is to discuss the word "said", and how it is being systematically deleted from our vocabulary. In fact, according to recent reports from Education Weekly, most primary school students are being taught that the word "said" is boring, that the word "said" should be replaced with alternative words, and that the word "said" should have adverbs added to it, if "said" needs to be used.
However, if you were to speak to any experienced author or any experienced creative-writing educator, they would tell you that "teaching these lessons about the word "said" is simply wrong. Teaching "said is dead" is contradictory, incorrect, and bad writing." Furthermore, if you were to ask an experienced publisher about teaching the phrase, "said is dead", they would say the same thing, "not using the word, 'said' at the end of a piece of dialogue, is a sign of an inexperienced author, a sign of a writer who does not know how to write."
But, what really blows my mind is that when students are taught, "said is dead," the students are being taught to "tell instead of show." To tell a reader what it think, what to see, what to feel when writing a creative piece is the exact opposite of what a good writer should do. A good writer should "show instead of tell". So, the simple phrase, "said is dead" could cause much confusion for our young students, especially when their next lesson is that they are to they are to "show instead of tell."
(Finally, in order to pass the third grade state test, these students are asked to memorize alternative words for said, and to add an adverb after the word "said" to make the sentence "more lively," but again, I digress.)
So, I now I ask you, my fellow writers, what do you think about "said is dead"?
Do you think it is a good lesson to teach young, budding writers?
Or, should these young minds be taught how to "show instead of tell" when it comes to writing a story with dialogue?