Teachers can improve students’ reading skills by having them write about what they are reading, teaching them writing skills, and increasing how much they write, an analysis of research concludes.
The report, released last week, is one in an ongoing series of literacy studies funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Building on findings in its 2004 study “Reading Next” and its 2007 report “Writing Next,” it focuses on how the teaching of writing can improve reading.
Co-authors Steve Graham and Michael Hebert of Vanderbilt University examined the research on writing strategies that improve reading and found three areas of promise. One is to have students write about the texts they are reading, by summarizing, writing notes, or creating and answering questions about them. Such techniques were shown to improve students’ comprehension of science, social studies, and language arts.
Students also improve comprehension when they write more and are taught writing skills and processes that go into creating text, such as paragraph and sentence construction or text structures.
A version of this article appeared in the April 21, 2010 edition of Education Week as Reading and Writing