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Reading and writing connections: How writing can build better readers (and vice versa)

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Even though reading and writing are more important than ever, an unacceptable number of children do not acquire the reading or writing skills needed for educational, social, and occupational success. While we have made considerable progress in identifying effective reading and writing practices, it is important to identify additional practices that can enhance literacy performance if students are to acquire essential reading and writing skills. One purpose of this chapter is to examine whether writing and writing instruction provide a useful means for enhancing how well students read. To answer this question, we drew upon data from recent meta-analyses of true- and quasi-instructional experiments (Graham & Hebert In Harvard Educational Review, pp. 710-744); Graham & Santangelo In Reading & Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal 27:1703-1743, 2014); Hebert, Gillespie, & Graham In Reading & Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal 26:111-138, 2013). The lens used to examine the evidence from these meta-analyses were three theories of reading and writing relationships (shared knowledge, functional view, and rhetorical relations), as described by Shanahan In Handbook of writing research. Guilford, New York, pp. 171-183, 2006). A second purpose of this chapter is to examine whether reading and reading instruction improve writing performance. The same theoretical lens was applied, but it was necessary to widen our search for evidence to include findings from individual studies as well as meta-analyses, including meta-analyses conducted prior to 2000. The available evidence provided support for all three theoretical models. This was true for the effects of writing on reading and vice versa. We further found that writing, writing instruction, and writing about material read were evidenced-based reading practices. We did not make similar claims about reading-oriented evidenced-based writing practices due to limitations on the evidence reviewed.




Graham, S., & Harris, K. R. (2017). Reading and writing connections: How writing can build better readers (and vice versa). In Improving Reading and Reading Engagement in the 21st Century: International Research and Innovation (pp. 333–350). Springer Singapore.

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