Two Sides of the Same Page: Reading is Writing, Writing is Reading

Reading and writing should not be taught separately. A poor reader is rarely a good writer. On the other hand, a careful reader is often an effective writer.

Pink pyramid reading at a Keith Haring exhibit at the De Young Museum

The integration of reading and writing begins with preview and predict techniques as students scan titles, headings, pictures, and graphs, jotting down predictions and questions. They use writing to help them understand and remember readings better, as they underline and annotate the texts. They respond to the texts in informal, low-stakes writings on the readings in their writing journals. The process of writing to understand reading continues as students reread difficult texts and fill out charts on key passages or worksheets in preparation for class activities and debates, which involve still more writing in groups.

Students should feel a strong connection between reading and writing as they write about their readings in online discussion forums on the course management system, where they create posts in a paragraph format with integrated quotations, often synthesizing materials from multiple readings. They follow these up with discussion questions, that other students respond to, as they go on writing about the books and articles. I encourage students to return to the texts again and again, drawing on their notes, annotations, informal reading responses, and posts as they are working on prewriting, drafting, and revising their papers.

In short, there is no part of the reading process in which students are not writing, as their is no part of the writing process in which they are not reading. A writer is a reader, as a reader is a writer.

One thought on “Two Sides of the Same Page: Reading is Writing, Writing is Reading”

  1. Prof. Richardson, I’d appreciate getting in touch with you. I’m the author of “Last Child in the Woods” and other books, primarily about the human relationship with the rest of nature. I’m intrigued with a piece you wrote, in your book, about other-than-human animal communication and would appreciate doing a phone interview. My email address is richardlouv at Hope you’ll be in touch. Thanks.

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