How Writing Can Improve Reading Skills

Instructor: Sharon Linde
Reading and writing are two of the infamous 'Three R's', so naturally we think of them as going hand-in-hand. But can specific writing instruction actually help reading? Turns out, yes. This lesson describes the connection between reading and writing and outlines strategies for using writing skills to boost reading.

The Three R's

We've all heard of the big 'Three R's' - reading, writing and arithmetic. Most education programs do a bang-up job of reading and math instruction, but tend to leave writing as an afterthought. Recent studies have shown this to be a major oversight; writing programs can actually increase reading comprehension. Why is this?

Katherine just landed her dream job as a writing consultant for a major school district. Her task is to convince administration and teachers that instruction in writing actually benefits students in more than the obvious ways. Let's take a peek into her notes.

The Reading and Writing Connection

Katherine has outlined some ideas she'll present to her new staff, as she shows them how reading and writing skills are connected. For starters, she'll explain that the processes behind the development of each skill are interwoven. When students are taught symbols that represent speech (what we call letters), it is in the written form. We see the letter /t/, recognizing that it refers to a specific sound. In this sense, reading is the act of decoding.

Children are also taught that in writing, or encoding, a word that has the /t/ sound, they use that same symbol. In fact, both decoding and encoding rely on the foundation of letter/sound relationships - a child's ability to hear individual sounds in speech.

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