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Let’s start with a horse and cart. In literacy terms, reading is generally regarded as the horse, and writing the cart. Teach someone to read, and writing will follow.

But wait a minute. Recent studies, including one undertaken by the Carnegie Corporation in 2010, give cause to re-examine this ‘Horse and Cart’ analogy. It turns out, increasing the amount students write and improve their skills in writing has a dramatic effect upon reading comprehension. So, which is the horse, and which is the cart?

Three Simple Ways to Use Writing to Improve Reading Comprehension

  1. Spend More Time Writing

    The National Commission on Writing in 2003 recommended that schools double the amount of time students spend writing. The 2010 Carney Corporation study found that increasing how much students wrote improved their reading comprehension of other texts. Effective ways of increasing the amount students write include cross-curriculum writing in a variety of subject areas and writing more at home.

  2. Students Write About What They Read

    When students respond in writing to a text they have just read, a marked improvement in reading comprehension is the result. The writing can be personal responses, interpretations, or analyses of texts in a variety of subject areas such as language arts, science and social studies.

  3. Develop Writing Skills that Transfer to Reading

    Skills and processes required to create text, such as sentence and paragraph formation and text structures, are directly applicable when a student reads a text for comprehension. In other words, the skills of writing are transferable to reading.

Yes. That’s it. Three simple ways. Nothing earth-shattering or revolutionary. All a teacher really has to do is recognize that the proverbial horse is now being pushed by a motorized cart.