The Relationships Between Reading and Writing

Generally, students who write exceptionally well also read: novels, biographies, histories, poetry, plays, sports columns, political opinions, personal interests, news articles, magazines, newspapers, etc. That doesn’t mean all readers are good writers, but it does mean it would be unusual to receive a poor essay from a person who reads regularly and follows all directions in class; it would also be unusual to receive a superlative essay from a person who says he/she has never been a regular reader.

Here’s why: people who read widely and deeply usually pick up writing skills like thesis, purpose, focus, paragraphing, syntax, vocabulary, spelling, logic, critical thinking, transitions, key words, closures—even grammar because they unconsciously ‘hear’ the language of grammar as they read. In other words, they learn about style, arguments, issues, ideas, flow and organization, rhythms, voice, and tone. They also generally follow essay assignment directions more carefully because they understand the purposes and goals from years of their own reading. People who read are almost always more comfortable writing their own essays because they are comfortable with other people’s writing from years of being immersed in reading and the flows of human thought and ideas.

I know the ‘reasons’ why many students don’t read: too busy with classes, keeping up with course texts and assignments, jobs, families, personal life etc. But you might be surprised by how much you could read in a year by picking up a book, article, or other work thirty minutes a day. You might also be surprised by how much you will learn on many topics—knowledge and independent critical thinking skills gained as an individual and citizen. You might further be surprised by how your own writing will improve, becoming more mature and enjoyable for both you and your audience. Both reading and writing skills naturally assist students’ work in other courses, on the job, employment applications, advancement in careers, helping one’s own children by providing a reading environment in the home.

Reading is fun; it is educational; it is essential in all aspects of human life. So, if you don’t currently read—start. And if you do—good job. Bottom line: Reading will always be an important and enjoyable part of your life, even enhancing your family and social relationships, as well as your chances of success in your careers and responsible citizenship in your communities and nation.


On Turning Seventy

To 5yo Joanie Who is Seventy


Michael Alan McAninch

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