The Difference Between Reading and Writing

In the beginning stages of my educational career, my parents and teachers constantly preached the importance of reading. They would often say something along the lines of, “reading makes you smarter.” Looking back on the early stages of my education, the importance or significance of writing was never mentioned or put in the same light as reading. I often heard teachers say that in order to write well you must read often. This is a belief that many people would strongly agree with, but there is no tangible evidence to prove this. I do not believe that in order to be a good writer you must read at a high level of read often. Additionally, I do not believe one component of literacy to be more important than the other.

I am not arguing that reading doesn’t make you smarter, but that there is no correlation between the quantity of reading to how well one is able to write. There is no denying that reading is the best thing one can do to provide stimulation to the mind. Reading can improve vocabulary, analytical skills, focus, etc. These things that reading can provide will definitely help one when writing, but they are not the primary things that stimulate thought during writing. It’s true that you can’t have writing without reading, and that you can’t have reading without writing. If this is true, then why put more significance on reading over writing?

I believe there to be one distinct difference when characterizing reading and writing. I classify reading as a skill, and writing as a form of art. The two are synonymous with each other, but they are not directly correlated because one is a skill and the other is a form of art. This is not to say reading doesn’t play a role in writing, because one must have a certain level of literary competence to be able to write. Though through my experience in writing, I have realized that it is about creativity, structure, and ideas. The practice of writing is primarily based in thought. Formulating clear thoughts from your mind to a piece of paper is a difficult art to master, and reading more often will not help me master that art. If anything I would argue one must write often in order to write well. Spending more time in thought and on formulating ideas will help develop those skills.

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