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Why Reading is Essential for Writers

Updated: Nov 4, 2019

What are you reading? I am thoroughly enjoying Stephen King's On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. I knew I would learn from him, but it is above and beyond my expectations. If you want to be a writer, or if you want to teach or tutor writing (as I do) I recommend reading this book. Not only will you learn some valuable tools of the trade, but I think it'll be a book you'll enjoy as well. After reading it, I would encourage any aspiring author to pick it up and learn. The reason I picked this book up because I happened across this quote years ago,

"If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that." - Stephen King

I loved it so much that I hung it in my classroom and have appreciated his perspective on reading and writing ever since, especially after reading his book on the craft! (Note: I do not read his genre. My mind cannot handle horror - fiction or not - I had my own demons. BUT after reading his reason for writing those books, you'll gain an understanding that I have deeply appreciated. So I encourage you to read with the intent to learn and understand. I felt that had to be said, so back on topic...)

Reading is essential for lifelong literacy and you cannot attain the title of author without first being a reader. With that firm belief in mind, in all of my writing tutoring, I ask the essential question, what are you reading? Other questions I ask,

  • What do you like about this author's writing style?

  • Do you know where the author got his/her idea for this book? (For example, I read that Suzanne Collins got her idea for her book series, Gregor the Overlander because she lived in New York for a while and wondered what it would be like if she - like Alice in Wonderland - fell into a hole, but in New York. And voila! Or the idea for The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows came from visiting a little island that was occupied by the Germans during WWII. All of which I learned from either visiting the author's blog/website or by reading the author's note, which in my humble (but I'd argue accurate opinion) should never be skipped in order to enjoy the book to it's full capacity.)

  • Do you notice any literary features the author uses frequently? If so, could you see yourself using them in your own writing?

  • What new words have you learned as a result of reading this book?

  • Were there any descriptive paragraphs or sentences that stood out to you for their thoughtfulness, ingenuity, or depth?

  • Where there any paragraphs or sentences that didn't make sense to you, that you would have arranged differently?

I ask these questions because it helps a reader read like a writer. Writers struggle with word choice, sentence fluency, ideas, conventions, and gathering ideas. One of the best ways to gather ideas and see the work in action is by reading books!

Therefore, whether you're in a homeschool classroom, an elementary classroom with twenty or more students, a secondary history classroom, or a mom sitting down with her children daily to inspire lifelong literacy (because you are their biggest influence) do not skip reading. Find engaging reading materials on the subject or concept you want your students to know. Discuss, question, inspire, and then write about what they learned.

I wanted to know more about writing so that I could share with you what I learned and so that my teaching of this craft becomes refined and refueled. For those reasons, I'm reading this book,

What are you reading?

Writing Tutoring Services

I am a 7-12 grade certified English/Language Arts teacher with years of classroom experience. If your student is struggling to write, contact me. If your student is needing challenged, contact me. If your student is struggling through a writing assignment, I can help. If your student wants to pursue writing as a career, contact me. I offer personalized tutoring packages because not one reader and writer is the same as another. We all have different experiences, preferences, hobbies, likes, dislikes, and skills. When I tutor learners, I consider all of these vitally important aspects!

Writing Class on Skillshare

At the moment I only have one class available on how to write a literary analysis. My plan is to have specialized writing courses added each month that students could sign up and take (on their own time) through this amazing learning platform.

Again, if you have any questions in regards to reading or writing, I'm all ears and I'd love to hear from you!

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