Connections Between Reading & Speaking Skills

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  • 0:00 Reading and Speaking
  • 1:17 How Speaking Impacts Reading
  • 2:51 How Reading Impacts Speaking
  • 4:40 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

Reading and speaking are two fundamental skills we use to communicate, and they're deeply connected. Explore the relationship between speaking and reading, and discover how each impacts the other. Then, test your understanding with a brief quiz.

Reading and Speaking

It comes without much debate to say that reading and speaking are both important skills to have. We need both to communicate, but they do seem to be different. After all, almost all people will learn to speak on their own, given time. The same is not true of reading, and in fact, the majority of people throughout history were illiterate. So, for a long time people assumed that these two skills were not fundamentally connected. However, modern researchers are questioning that idea. Now, it is believed that reading and speaking skills have a reciprocal relationship. As one increases, so does this other. Reading improves speaking skills, and speaking skills improve reading. Now, this is important for early childhood education, but also for adults. See this guy? This is Juan Estudia. He's a fully-grown, highly-educated adult from the fictional, virtual country of Estudiantina, where they speak Estudiañol. So, he's just now learning English, and how he learns to both speak and read will impact his success.

How Speaking Impacts Reading

Let's start by looking at the ways that speaking impacts reading. This relationship has been accepted for a long time, based on the idea that people learn how to speak before learning how to read. So, how do speaking skills impact reading? For one, speaking teaches people how language and communication interact. What I mean is that by learning to speak, people, especially young children, learn that words have specific meanings that are used to present an idea and share information. This basic understanding is crucial for learning to read. Now, yes, this is focused more towards children than adults learning a new language, but the basic concept is the same for adults learning a new language. You learn how words and sounds interact to create meaning, and that understanding translates into reading comprehension.

Speaking skills also help people learn and improve reading by teaching culture. Language is the primary way that people learn culture, which teaches them the background knowledge about how people within a society interact. Very often this basic background knowledge includes critical information that is assumed within written texts. Thirdly, speaking skills help improve reading by developing comfort with communication. When people work on and improve speaking skills, it both shows them how communication within a language works and fuels a desire to learn more forms of communication, by which, I really mean reading and writing.

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