Sunday, July 01, 2012

The Reading-Writing Connection Redux

In my work as a writing instructor and coach, I stress the importance of reading like a writer, for both gathering needed information and lessons on style. Since I so often hear people say that they do not like reading or just don't make the time to read, I thought this reminder about the reading-writing connection would be useful for new readers of this blog. (I have discussed this issue in posts last year and in earlier this year.) 

I'll elaborate on the diagram beginning with the upper-left square:

  1. In the planning stage of the writing process, the blue READ square is essential in collecting ideas for a document. Working in tandem with it is the red WRITE square, which has the writer taking notes on those gathered ideas.
  2. Next comes the drafting stage, where the READ square reminds the writer to evaluate those notes for relevance, completeness, and organization. The following WRITE square demands nothing more than a rough draft, a production of all those notes in paragraph and sentence form.
  3. The last READ square on the first line is for the revising stage, the pivotal one, when the writer decides where the content goes (structure) and how he wants to come across (style).  
  4. The following READ square is a vocal one, in the editing stage, to hear how the sentences sound for fluency. If sentences seem awkward during an aloud reading, they will be to the intended readers of the document. Along with that reading comes the editing WRITE square, for clarity, conciseness, grace, and vigor. 
  5. The final pair of squares on the lower left are for proofreading. Now the writer reads with a fresh pair of eyes for overlooked errors in spelling, missing words, alignment, spacing, etc.

Then the continuum loops to the beginning in an endless cycle of reading and writing. All the reading in between writing assignments should help in developing subject-matter expertise and writing style. Yes, the need to read is greater today than ever before.