Reading-Writing Connections – How We Strengthen the Links
‘Nobody but a reader ever became a writer.’
To strengthen those essential reading- writing connections for students I frequently share books I am currently reading with the various classes I visit. They may include books I am currently reading, or books I have recently purchased and intend to read next. I give them a ‘tasting’ of the book; explaining why I chose that particular book, what its mainly about and some of the things I’ve discovered or hope to discover during my reading.
Recently I shared the following books:A Family of Readers by Roger Sutton and Martha Parravano -a book lover’s guide to sharing children and young adult literature.
Land’s Edge by Tim Winton – A coastal memoir of rich childhood memories
Write Starts by Hal Zine Bennett – wisdom and encouragement in the process of writing
Hurricane by David Wiesner – a picture story book that tells the story of a hurricane’s progress
It’s A Book by Lane Smith –a picture story book that celebrates the traditional form of books in the world of twitter, instant messaging and e-reading in a humorous and engaging way.
If you consider some of the books in your current reading list inappropriate for the students you teach, then merely talk about your reading. When I share my books, it’s about what I am reading to feed and sustain my writing-reading life. I don’t expect my students to necessarily read the same books. It’s the model of a reader I want them to see. They very quickly come to view me as a person who connects my reading to my writing.
Students could clearly see that my current and future reading involved professional reading, a memoir by a favourite author, a non fiction picture story book, a book chosen for its humour. They can also see that my reading choices relate strongly to my work with literacy and children’s literature. My passion for reading will hopefully shine through. Our reading and writing lives should never be swathed secrecy.
Our students need to be aware of the fact that as proficient readers and writers we frequently read books simultaneously. I often find myself balancing professional and recreational texts during my reading time. We also need to share the fact we often know exactly what we intend to read next. We should use this revelation to encourage young readers and writers to develop a plan for their future reading. Regie Routman is onto a great idea when she asks students:
What is your ‘now’ book?
What is your 'next' book?
The reading writing connection needs to actively pursued and never ever taken for granted. It is true that you need to be a reader if you want to be successful as a writer. By reading good quality literature often and widely, students more readily learn to grow into writers.