3TV's Javier Soto helps kids understand the importance of writing

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- There has been a lot of emphasis recently on the STEM skills in education: science, technology, engineering and math.

But parents, before your kids can dive into those subjects, they need to master another skill: writing.

One school is encouraging students with some real-life examples, including a familiar face: 3TV’s own Javier Soto.

”Writing is the base to all education,” Soto told students at Augusta Ranch Elementary School in Gilbert, explaining how he uses writing to bring news stories to viewers every day. “I write it out so that I have it stuck in my head, and that way when I am on camera I can just talk."

And while the need to write effectively is clear for TV newscasters, the Gilbert School District wants to make sure kids know it goes far beyond that.

“Writing is the gateway to everything, and writing is the path to careers and college," said fifth-grade teacher Amanda Schafer.

Because no matter what career you go into, you must be able to communicate clearly with others. That's something the kids are learning in science class right now.

“In science we're learning about the plastic bags and how they fill up landfills, so we are writing letters actually right now to the state governor and asking them if we can put a tax on plastic bags in Arizona,” said student Philip Ciciro.

And Schafer says that is why they asked Soto to be teacher for a day.

"We wanted you out here to see, how did you get into writing and how did you get your job in journalism?" Schafer said.

The school has also brought in people from other professions to show the kids how writing is used in various jobs.

"It is a bridge between what happens in the classroom to a real-world experience," Schafer said.

She added that while her students do know how to communicate, their preferred method is texting and that's affecting their writing skills.

“We notice 'brb' and 'thx' and 'lol' and a lot of the informal use that they would use to their friends are now turning up in their journals and their essays, and we want to make it clear to them there is a time and place for that sort of writing," Schafer explained.

Ciciro added, “The texting world is different than the real world, and so with writing it helps kids to ... use the right words and not use shortcuts.”

And Soto had a tip to help keep the message clear: “The way you talk should be the way you write."

He also took time to share a secret that will help these students write themselves a truly successful future.

“If you can ever find a career that you are passionate about, then you will never work a day in your life because it is something you love and it's something you get excited about doing every day,” Soto said.