Could a network of students writing and critiquing each other’s fan fiction help improve literacy and writing skills nationwide? “Does grey have 50 shades?” asked Kirk, his Tribble throbbing as he gazed deep into Harry’s scar-bedazzled eyes. “Why don’t we find out?” countered Harry, dropping his robe and reveal his Dobby. Their quivering lips were almost touching when Katniss entered and offered herself as tribute.
We believe distributed mentoring could be used to help improve formal writing education in schools. The most recent report from the National Assessment of Educational Progress indicated that 73% of US students in grades 8 and 12 lack proficiency in writing. Research has shown that writing skills can improve significantly during adolescence, and the popularity of writing fan fiction in that age group shows what an opportunity there is to use it as a learning tool.
Students with similar interests from school districts across the country could be connected with one another to get and give anonymous or pseudonymous feedback on their writing. Teachers could moderate the channels to ensure that feedback was constructive, as well as helping students learn from it.