Improve Your Writing with These 6 Reading Strategies

Reading and writing are connected

Reading has been a major factor in the evolution of writing. The art of communication through storytelling has changed a lot over time. Writing has evolved from cave drawings and hieroglyphics to alphabets and syllables over time. Thanks to reading, new genres of writing like novels, poems, plays, and creative writing have been born. While there is language, reading, and writing will always go hand in hand. In this blog post, we’ll talk about how reading helps improve your writing. You will also learn how to read like a writer, why it’s important to read a variety of texts, and how to build your reading and writing skills.

How reading more can improve your writing

Reading skills are necessary to enhance your writing abilities! Exposure to different ideas, writing styles, and grammar rules can help broaden your vocabulary, refine sentence structure, and strengthen your critical thinking skills. Reading makes you a more persuasive, engaging, and effective writer.

Even studies have shown that reading skills can help students improve their writing ability. Here are some of the major advantages and results that have been identified:

Vocabulary development

According to a journal article by William E. Nagy and Richard C. Anderson (1984), reading can be a great way to grow your vocabulary and learn about new words and ideas. As having a larger vocabulary is linked to better writing, reading can help you write better too!

Making writing more fluent

Studies have revealed that reading can be beneficial for students looking to improve their writing fluency. In particular, intermediate-level students experienced a positive correlation between reading and writing fluency.

Enhancing writing style

Students can truly benefit from reading in terms of their writing style. Research has found that reading can also help improve people’s writing fluency if they are non-native English speakers, as it gives them the opportunity to be exposed to various writing styles.

Knowledge expansion and critical thinking improvement

Reading is a great way for students to expand their knowledge and sharpen their critical thinking abilities. Having those skills is key to writing well!

Grammar and punctuation improvement

Gaining familiarity with grammar and punctuation through reading is key for producing writing that really packs a punch!

How to read like a writer

If you want to become a better writer, reading skills are essential. But to get the most out of it, you need to learn how to read critically.

Reading like a writer requires you to pay attention to details that make writing effective. What genre is the writing? What is the source of inspiration for the writer’s creativity? Look for the answers to these questions in addition to studying the writer’s technique and form.

Here, we’ll look at six strategies that will help you master this skill.

1. Annotating

As you read, jotting down notes and marking important phrases or sentences helps to identify patterns and themes in the text. This, in turn, allows you to recognize techniques that can be used to enhance your own writing. Highlighting any words or phrases that stand out to you will give you a better understanding of the author’s writing style and techniques.

2. Deconstructing, paraphrasing, and structuring

By deconstructing a text, you can get a better understanding of how the author created the plot, characters and used literary devices. Breaking the text down into smaller parts, summarizing it, and then rearranging it can help you see how all the pieces fit together to form a cohesive whole. This strategy can help you appreciate the story even more.

3. Analyzing character and speech patterns

By taking note of the author’s use of different speech patterns and character traits, you can better understand the character’s behavior and how it affects the plot and story. This knowledge can prove invaluable for your own writing, helping to create vivid and believable characters.

4. Analyzing narrative and plot deconstruction

Examining the way the writer constructs the plot and storyline can assist you in forming a strong narrative. Keep an eye out for the hints of a good story, like the appropriate timing and building suspense, to hone your own writing capabilities.

5. Looking for literary devices

Take note of the literary devices employed by the author—metaphors, similes, and symbolism—and analyze how they shape the text’s overall impact. Also, consider the words chosen and how the author crafted a unique style, rhythm, and tone to make the text captivating and effective.

6. Engaging in critical analysis and debate

By critically analyzing texts and comparing them to other writers’ work, you’re able to hone your writing skills. Engage in debates about different writing techniques with your peers or mentors to help further your understanding.

The importance of reading a variety of texts

Reading extensively expands your horizons, giving you a greater understanding of different writing styles, themes, and genres. It can also show you different viewpoints and spark ideas for your own writing. Plus, exploring various writing styles helps you develop your unique writing style.


A student reading on a stack of books
Image by storyset on Freepik

Strategies for developing reading and writing skills

As students progress academically and beyond, it’s important for them to develop their reading and writing skills. To help them out, here are a few tips:

  • Students should read regularly to help them grow their vocab, increase their knowledge of literature, and refine their writing abilities. Why not suggest they set aside 15–20 minutes each day for reading?
  • Writing regularly can be a great way to help students improve their writing skills, making them more proficient writers. Plus, it’s a great way to practice grammar, spelling, and punctuation!
  • Encourage your students to set SMART goals to track their progress better and keep up with their reading and writing skills. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals that can help them stay consistent and improve continuously.
  • Students should try keeping a journal or diary to help them practice their writing and reflect on their thoughts, observations, and experiences. It’s a great way to work on their writing and also get a better understanding of themselves!
  • By giving students the chance to delve into literature and texts, they can hone their analytical and comprehension skills. They can explore themes, narrative techniques, and more, helping to stimulate their critical thinking.

Additionally, gaining feedback from those around you, like peers, mentors, or even a writing group, can be a great way to enhance your writing skills. Practicing through writing exercises like free writing, outlining, and brainstorming is also beneficial for developing your writing.

Lastly, to ensure you’re continuously taking in new ideas and improving your writing, consider keeping a journal or writing notebook to jot down anything related to your writing journey.

The big picture: Read to improve your writing skills

Reading and writing are two closely linked skills that support each other. Aspiring writers should make an effort to read regularly and thoughtfully to improve their writing skills. Reading different texts exposes you to various writing styles, vocabulary, and grammatical structures.

By critically analyzing what you read, you can identify the patterns and techniques that make for effective writing and use them in your writing. Additionally, reading various texts can help broaden your perspective and knowledge base and lead to the creation of unique and effective writing styles.

You can even find relevant books to read to improve your writing. There are many good books like On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King and The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White to help you start. You can always contact a Lessonpal Reading or Writing tutor to help you reach your goals in either subject area.

Leave a Reply

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: