I began by reading this chapter out loud to a coworker during a lull in the action at work.

I started with the chapter title, “Identity.”

She chimed in, “THEFT!”

“No,” I said. “Just listen.”

But no matter how I tried, every time I read the word “identity” aloud, she finished my sentence with, “THEFT!”

That got me thinking. Even though the chapter said nothing about it, it would be just as easy for us, as teachers, to inadvertently steal the potential identity of a budding author. All of the phrases offered in the chapter would help to avoid this, but ultimately it is up to us to encourage students at any age.


Recently, in another of my classes, my fellow students and I were being instructed on scoring CAHSEE essays from tenth grade students. We were looking at an example of an essay with a score of 4 (found here page 3); however, when looking at the breakdown of how an essay is scored, the majority of the voices in the class were criticizing the paper more than praising the student’s work.

“They aren’t varying their descriptions because they keep using the same words repetitively.”

“The support is limited.”

I was actually shocked at how critical and nit-picky some of my classmates were. These were tenth grade level papers, after all. I thought the student was particularly imaginative in his or her descriptions.

Our professor then piped up, “Remember, this is a paper with a score of 4. You’re college students, okay? You know more, so you should be writing at a score of 7.”

I thought the tips and phrases in this chapter need not only be read, but applied. Otherwise we run the risk of committing identity theft.