Writing

Nobody but a reader ever became a writer.  –Richard Peck

mechanical_pencil_leadHow can you talk about reading without talking about writing?  The better we are at reading, the better we are at writing–and vice-versa.

Writers write for their readers and readers meet the writer on the page.  It’s a transaction, and I try to keep my readers and writers conscious of the transaction they are making.

I like the way Lorna Smith put it:  “Writers want to give information, share ideas, or provide entertainment. Their means of communication is the text. Readers approach the text seeking information, ideas, or entertainment. Metaphorically, the reader and the writer meet at the text. Each brings his or her experiences to the text, each has a desire to reach the other, and each uses whatever strategies, skills, and knowledge acquired to enable the reader and writer to connect. When both the reader’s and the writer’s strategies, skills, and knowledge are sufficient, communication takes place. This is satisfying to the writer who knows that ideas and information are being transmitted, and it is equally satisfying to the reader who absorbs, analyzes, interprets, synthesizes, and evaluates these ideas and information.”  (www.nade.net/documents/SCP98/SCP98.8.pdf)

There are so many ways to make students aware of the reading/writing connection.  We like to question the author.  One of us pretends to be the author of a book we are reading and answers questions from the class about the book.  Sometimes I do that in conferences too and we switch roles in the middle.  If we can keep students conscious of the fact that there is a person on the other end of the book and a person on the other end of their writing, we’ve made a great start with the reading/writing connection.

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