Yes, writing more does lead to better reading comprehension. Research proves it. But why?
The authors of The Reading – Writing Connection (2010) suggest many reasons:
- Both reading and writing are forms of communication. When writers create a text, little light bulbs go off as they think about their audience and what that audience needs in order to understand and want to continue reading their texts. Students write, but at the same time they act as readers, their own first audience.
- Writers think about composing skills when they read the texts of other writers. Why does the author use that vocabulary word? Why does the author have a first person narrator? How does the author identify characters through their dialog? Does an autobiography have to start with a birth? Does a story need to go in chronological order.? If not, how can ideas be arranged? How do other authors do this? They read to find out.
- How do other writers connect sentence ideas or paragraphs? How do they explain things—with figures of speech or with examples? How do other authors make a difficult idea clear? Do they depend on charts, graphs or maps?
When writers read, they are not merely enjoying or gaining information. They are also aware that what they are reading was written by someone who had to make writing decisions, the same kind of writing decisions they have to make. By thinking about those decisions, student writers understand better what they are reading.