“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
― Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!
When we think about improving students’ writing skills we tend to think of spelling, grammar, phonemic awareness and phonics. Recently, studies have shown that working with students to improve their reading skills can have an impact on their essay writing.
Because most students don’t like to read, the vast majority of them find writing essays to be even more of a daunting task. According to BetterWrititngServices.com, essay writing services are extremely popular among college students, and the number of websites that sell academic papers to students grows rapidly. For this reason, it is important to help students improve their writing skills.
In this article, we will cover why reading is essential for improving essay writing skills. There are several ways we can draw a connection between reading and writing skills where some ways both skills benefit each other.
Mechanics of writing
We often teach reading and writing as two separate subjects, but students cannot complete a writing task if they cannot read and understand the instructions. These two skills are intertwined and both equally important to students’ success.
Reading serves not only to expose the student to different styles of writing but also supports them in their emerging skills.
The most well-known benefit reading has on writing skills is the increased exposure to different words. The more students read, the more it exposes them to alternative ways to use words they are both familiar and not familiar with.
The more students read, the bigger chance that they will learn new ways to structure their sentences and express their ideas. Reading allows them to learn new patterns they can use in their own writing.
The more well-read the writer is, the better grasp they have on understanding poor writing versus quality writing. This will allow students to make this identification more clear in their own written work.
Power of words
Essays are a tool used to get an idea across, make a point, prove something, or tell a story. The more students read, the more access they have to literature that seeks to make the same things happen.
It gives more weight to the words themselves and by extension more weight to what the students write.
Reading is also a proven way to support the development of imagination. While reading, we tend to picture the events in our mind’s eyes based on what we are reading. This has been shown to support your ability to understand situations and the solutions from the text.
Developing their voice
Without reading a variety of different authors and texts, it is hard for students to understand the idea of the voice of the author. The more students are exposed to different authors, the more courage and sense of self they develop for their own writing.
The more we expose students to different writing styles (classics, modern-day fiction and nonfiction), the more we support them in crafting their own voice for essay writing.
The development of a unique voice is an important skill needed to write essays, and it will aid in setting them apart from their peers.
Keeping up with the times
Language is something that is ever-changing, even in the world of essays. The words and phrases used by a student can change from year to year. Reading is essential for students who want to stay informed about modern language and style changes.
APA and MLA are always evolving in order for students to understand these changes. They need to see how they are implemented in various forms of writing.
Outside of the evaluation of different citation reading keeps students involved in learning the ways modern writing is changing.
Entwining reading and writing in the classroom
For those in education looking to improve their students’ essay writing skills, there are a few ways reading and writing can be taught together for the most benefit to the student.
Note-taking is the easiest way to aid students in their reading and writing skills. Having your students take notes on what they have read not only increases their deep reading skills, but benefits their writing as well.
Students do not just write one form of essay, they write personal essays, persuasive essays, they compare and contrast, so why are they only reading one thing? In order for students to understand the different tones and syntax required for these different forms of essays, they need to read them.
Exposing your students to different forms of literature broadens their ideas on what their next essay could be.
By selecting one genre for students to narrow their field of study it allowed them to learn the specific genre before they experiment with writing within that genre.
Letting students take the lead fosters their interest and independence in their language skills.
For teachers who find themselves struggling with ways to improve their student’s essay writing this may be the perfect solution. We know that we are more likely to complete certain tasks when we are motivated.
Thus it would make sense that if we allow students to pick the genre they both read and write about, they will be more motivated as well. Allow students to pick their own reading materials, then craft the writing work around their chosen piece.
The ways of teaching reading and writing separately are changing as more of us in education understand that reading is vital to essay writing skills.
As a basic level skill, students need to understand the written instruction before they can write the essay. In addition, the more well read students are the more vocabulary and grammar they are absorbing that is then transferred to their own writing.
The more students reading is spread out of topics and genres the deeper understanding they develop on the topics they are then to write essays about.
The absorption of knowledge that happens through the process of reading is integral to students improving their essay writing skills.