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In the Introduction to “They Say I Say”: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing, Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein provide templates designed to assist in enhancing basic writing skills and form an excellent foundation to help grow as a writer.

Specifically, Graff and Birkenstein argue that the types of writing templates they offer creates a structure and frame work to aid young writers to master the art of writing. As the Authors themselves put it, “you’ll realize that once you mastered it you no longer had to give much conscious thought to the various moves that go into doing it”.

Once skills are practiced and mastered, those same skills that were at first difficult or took much thought became second nature. Although some people believe that using templates will ultimately be a hindrance and remove the instrument of creativity and originality, Graff and Birkenstein insist that the templates not only not stifle creativity, but also promote originality and personal expression. All in all, their view is that using said templates provide more benefits than problems. I also agree with their argument.

In my view, the types of templates that the authors recommend give a great source of organization and leave ample opportunity for creativity and originality. For instance, just as in sports, there are rules, regulations and fundamentals that should be followed. Within those regulations are opportunities of creativity like juke moves and a string of great plays.

In addition, those moments are where you set yourself apart from the rest. Some might object of course, on the grounds that everyone will start to sound the same and become writing robots. Yet I would argue that the templates are not set in stone but more of an educated suggestion. They do not have to be followed point by point. Overall, then, I believe they are and excellent educational tool to help mold young writers as myself for greatness.

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