The Reading and Writing Connection with Steve Graham

We are rounding out the first season of The Written Word with a two-part episode that focuses on the connection between reading and writing. For Part 1, we had the tremendous privilege of speaking with Steve Graham, the Warner Professor in the Division of Leadership and Innovation at Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. He is one of the foremost experts on the educational psychology of writing.

Here are four insights into the connection between reading and writing that Steve Graham shared with us.

  1. We combine reading and writing for functional purposes because they draw upon similar knowledge bases. Our background knowledge helps us interpret what we are reading and also informs what we write. If students read about a topic before they write about it, this gives them information that they can then use when writing.
  2. When students write about a text they are reading, whether that be responding to questions, taking notes, or summarizing the material, this also helps them to better understand and retain the material they are reading.
  3. Reading and writing instruction don’t need to be kept separate. When combined, there are positive effects both in terms of students learning to write and in terms of students to learning to read.
  4. Reading and writing are both acts of communication. As students become skilled readers, they notice more than just the content of the text. Readers potentially observe sentence and paragraph structures, variations in pacing, and recurring themes. These observations cause the reader to employ metacognitive skills and try to get inside the writer’s head. Similarly, to write effectively, a writer must consider the perspective and needs of the reader.

Be sure to listen to the whole episode to learn more about how writing instruction supports reading skills. Click here to find out how Revision Assistant uses research-based best practices from Graham and his colleague Michael Herbert to cultivate reading skills in middle and high school grades through writing.