Learning to Read to Write and Read Readily

by Ramya Manoharan | Aug 21, 2017

Reading to write well

This blog post has been written by young award winning teacher, author and visual artist Casey Hawkins.

Did you read the heading right? Does it make sense? When you’re unsure, you go back and reread, then apply what you already know. This skill isn’t automatic; it takes guidance and lots of practice.

Reading is to writing as fuel is to a flame. Learning to read initiates the process of learning to write, and reading regularly is the key to becoming an excellent communicator. Combined reading and writing practice strengthens many skills and carries numerous social and academic benefits. Here are some essential attitudes and skills to be gained from reading and writing daily:

Clarity of expression  
Have you played the game Chinese Whispers? Children sit in a line and pass on a story, created by the story teller sitting at one end. After several retellings, the story usually becomes misconstrued and serves little purpose to whoever’s furthest down the line. Clarity of thought is one thing, while having the ability to clearly communicate it is another. Children need lots of practise speaking and writing their thoughts in a logical manner. They should be encouraged to share what they’ve written, and provide clarity if meaning becomes lost. Posing lots of questions can help the writer identify what’s missing and have them think critically about their choices. 

Diverse vocabulary
See and hear a word enough times and eventually you’re going to grow curious of its meaning. For example, after high school I kept hearing politicians use the word fruition. After Googling its meaning, I tentatively dropped it into general conversation. It took a long time for the word to comfortably leave my mouth and see my plan…come to fruition. It may take four, ten or fifty exposures before a word gets inducted into someone’s vocabulary. However, it’s no coincidence children who read regularly and widely often have a diverse vocabulary and positive attitude towards writing.  

Inspired and confident 
Whether children realise it or not, their opinions and creations are derived from everyday experiences. Unlike adults, these are somewhat limited to things that happen at school and home, with the exception of family outings and holidays. Anxious writers are often concerned about whether their stories are interesting enough. This crippling belief was what led me to develop a creative writing workshop for primary students, based on my book, Noonie and the Missing Bone.   

Books can get children to imagine characters, events and worlds outside of their own. The adventures their minds create while reading can impact their writing style and feed their imagination. In addition to serving as endless inspiration, admirable stories can be used as writing models. Reluctant writers may feel more confident extending on concepts borrowed from familiar stories. 

Patient problem solver
While writing is a great form of creative expression, its fundamentally used to communicate. Good writers consider readers’ needs beyond their own ambitions; they consider the language they use, how much detail they provide and other elements to include, such as illustrations. They learn to edit their story each time they receive feedback from a reader. The editing process not only enhances the writer’s skills and story, but instils patience and resilience. 

Unlike the age-old mystery of which came first—the chicken or the egg—reading forms the basis for literacy success. This Book Week, give your child another source of inspiration, a dictionary of carefully selected words, a problem to solve and a plot to ponder. Does that make sense? When I’m unsure, I drop the metaphors and get to the point—celebrate with a brilliant book!

The new and improved front cover of Noonie and the missing bone

You can purchase a copy of Noonie and the Missing Bone on our online store. Members can purchase it at a 20 per cent discount.

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