We recently came across this gem, and I almost fell out of my chair when the special education teacher encourages the MC to use "Dragon" to write - dictate his writing.
I started using Dragon Dictate in the 90s, when I was a hard-hitting, 20-something newspaper reporter, and experiencing pain and numbness in my hands, wrists and shoulders. I was reporting, taking notes, writing several stories daily, and analyzing large crime databases for projects, lugging around a cellphone that truly was a brick and driving a 4WD Jeep. I resisted recommendations for carpal tunnel surgery, mostly by asking my employer to set up a closet and allow me to use Dragon Dictate (which I purchased with my own money) and a special, adjustable Comfort keyboard. (LOVED their keyboards!)
Years later, I still use Dragon to write my first drafts.
As a teacher, I told my students over and over, the first step in writing is to VERBALIZE what you're going to write. Talk it out with your friends, a teacher, a table group, your parents -- before you begin writing. You'll save yourself tons of effort. You'll find yourself organizing and re-organizing, before you ever put pen to paper or touch a keyboard. Verbalization is your true, first draft.
I've talked myself blue in the face recommending Dragon to parents with students who struggled to write, and to my teaching colleagues. There's always resistance and a hint of "dictating is cheating" in every conversation. Which is just wrong.
We need to change our mindsets about this. Dictating IS WRITING. It's a vital first step in the WRITING PROCESS. Just because (currently) no educational poster lists it as a pre-writing step does not mean it isn't valuable to students and writers.
If more students would be allowed to talk / dictate their writing in class, they'd be writing so, so much more, and so much better! This is clearly a case where the classroom mindset has not caught up with technology.
Kudos to author Leslie Connor. THANK YOU for shining a much-needed spotlight on this revolutionary way to think -- and talk! -- about writing. You will open so many doors, to so many children and adults -- all of us writers.
And your book was a mystery that made us cry!