The Link Between Reading and Writing

relationship between reading and writing

As students develop and hone their writing skills, they become more competent readers. Their ability to think critically about text and interact with it in rich and meaningful ways improves. The opposite is also true. The more we read, the better our writing becomes. That’s because the processes of reading and writing are undeniably connected. One could view them as the inverses of each other, and while they use different skills, growth in one invariably strengthens the other.

“Reading as a Writer”

An effective way to help students see the link between reading and writing is to teach them how to “read as a writer.” This means not only practicing regular reading skills like fluency and comprehension, but actually analyzing how the text itself was written. Students do this by looking for choices the author made, devices they used in their writing, and how they structured their writing. When students read text through this lens, they get more out of their reading, and they deepen their knowledge of choices they themselves can make as a writer.

“Writing as a Reader”

Just like we should read books looking for the writer’s moves, we can also write with our readers in mind. When we “write as a reader,” we keep our focus on how our writing will be received, whether it will make sense, and what message it sends. So often, emerging writers write with one intention, but they end up writing something that has a completely different effect. When writers think about their readers as they write, they are more likely to end up leaving their readers with what they intended.

Writing About Reading

A great way to integrate reading and writing in the classroom is to have students write about the books they read. Writing about one’s reading helps them to process what they’ve read and practice crucial writing skills. There are so many ways to get students to write about their reading:

  • Answer open-ended questions/prompts about the text
  • Write a sequel/prequel
  • Continue the story
  • Write a letter or journal entry as a character
  • Write a news article about an event (real or imaginary)
  • Ask and answer questions as they read
  • Teach them how to annotate text

Not only are there lots of ways to integrate reading and writing instruction, but doing so will set your students up for success. They’ll become much more confident and competent readers and writers when the two subject areas are integrated.

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